Blake Morgan successfully defends two individuals in high profile defamation proceedings
Blake Morgan has successfully defended two individuals in high profile defamation proceedings that were brought against them and three other individuals by Mohammad Asghar, a Welsh Assembly Member, and another prominent member of the Muslim community in Wales.
The proceedings concerned the management of two mosques serving the Muslim community in Newport.
Following a campaign by certain members of the congregations of these mosques for there to be democratic elections to management posts, together with more transparency and accountability in the mosques’ management, in early 2012 a number of documents were published which the claimants contended were defamatory of them, including an “update” document and a so-called “dossier”. The claimants issued proceedings in which they alleged that the defendants had acted in concert and were responsible for these publications; a matter which was denied.
All of the defendants were cleared of having any involvement in the publication of the update. However one of the defendants, Mr Hayat, was found to have published the dossier to Mr Andrew Davies, who is the leader of the Conservative Party in the Welsh Assembly, and to have been involved in publishing material on a website. These publications were held to have been defamatory of the claimants and Mr Hayat was required to compensate them in the sum of £45,000.
Our clients, Mr Ali and Mr Ahmed, have vigorously maintained their innocence throughout and they have been completely exonerated. The judge found them to be honest and straightforward witnesses who lacked improper motive. Rather, it was found that they were “motivated by a desire to see both democracy and transparency brought to bear upon the governance of the mosques.”
In contrast, the Judge found that Mr Asghar “can be somewhat overbearing” and was critical of the manner in which the claimants had conducted the litigation. He intimated that there “may well be some truth in the submissions … that the mere existence, rather than the resolution of these proceedings would, at the very least, effect a delay in the resolution of the concerns of a significant section of the mosques’ congregations in relation to the governance of the mosques.” He found that the lack of transparency and democracy was a matter of genuine and deep concern to a significant section of the congregations of both mosques.
Blake Morgan will now be seeking Mr Ali’s and Mr Ahmed’s costs of defending the proceedings from the claimants.