Mail on Sunday to pay damages over false 'fixer' claims

High Court Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The amount of damages to be paid was not stated during the High Court hearing

A former council worker has accepted "substantial damages" from a newspaper that published false claims he was a "fixer" for taxi drivers who were abusing young girls in Rochdale.

Wajed Iqbal, 44, took legal action against the publisher of the Mail on Sunday over a May 2017 article.

"These allegations were false. They have caused huge and continuing distress," Mr Iqbal's barrister said.

Associated Newspapers has apologised to Mr Iqbal, the High Court heard.

'Grave allegation'

The article, which included the headline "Scandal of the minicab predators" and was also published on the MailOnline website, made the "grave allegation" that Mr Iqbal had been a "fixer" for taxi drivers "who were committing crimes against young girls", the High Court heard.

Mr Iqbal was also wrongly said to have been given a warning by South Ribble Borough Council, where he worked as a minicab licensing officer between 2014 and 2017, over alleged deficiencies in his work.

His barrister William Bennett QC told the court that Mr Iqbal had previously worked as a licensing enforcement officer for Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council between 2005 and 2011, but was not involved in minicab licensing.

"Nevertheless, Mr Iqbal is satisfied that the defendant has come to court to offer its sincere apologies to him for making the allegations complained of and to acknowledge that they were false," he added.

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