Northern Ireland

Judge receives libel damages from newspaper

A judge is to receive undisclosed libel damages over a newspaper report of his handling of a case.

An apology to Desmond Perry was also read out at the High Court in Belfast as part of a settlement reached in his legal action.

District Judge Perry sued over an article which appeared in the Belfast Telegraph in October 2010.

Further details were not disclosed but the report was said to concern his approach to a case he had heard.

A jury of three men and four women had been sworn in to hear the action which was due to last for up to five days but they were discharged after being told the parties had resolved their differences. The level of damages was not disclosed under the terms of the settlement.

Counsel for the defendant, Independent News and Media Ltd, read an agreed statement out in court which described allegations in the article as defamatory of Judge Perry and without foundation.

Gerald Simpson QC said: "The allegations impugned his professional integrity and caused him considerable distress.

"The defendant now accepts that it was wrong to publish the article and recognises the considerable damage it has done to the plaintiff."

Mr Simpson added: "The defendant unreservedly withdraws the defamatory imputations and apologises publicly to the plaintiff. "It has agreed to pay the plaintiff substantial damages and his legal costs."