Kent nurse awarded damages for false genocide headline

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The headline was published "entirely in error and is wholly false", the paper said

A psychiatric nurse has accepted substantial undisclosed libel damages over a headline in The Times newspaper which said he was wanted for genocide.

Noble Marara, of Rochester, Kent, was driver and bodyguard for Rwandan President Paul Kagame for two years.

He fled the country and came to the UK in 2002 where he was granted asylum.

The false allegation in March came after he gave evidence as a witness in an extradition hearing. The Times said it was published "entirely in error".

Mr Marara worked for the president between 1996 and 1998.

The original headline "Extradition case witness tells of fears for his life" was changed by a sub-editor who had misunderstood the article, London's High Court heard.

The erroneous headline "Driver wanted for genocide says he fears for his life" was accompanied by a large colour photo of Mr Marara.

'Entirely in error'

Solicitor Athalie Matthews told Mr Justice Warby that it was particularly upsetting and offensive as Mr Marara was a Tutsi who fought against the 1994 genocide in the Rwandese Patriotic Army,

The headline, she said, caused him to feel very afraid for his safety and that of his family.

The court was told that on the day of publication, upon realising the error and its gravity, The Times contacted Mr Marara and a correction and apology was published.

It has now agreed to pay him substantial damages and his costs.

Patricia Burge, for Times Newspapers, said: "The headline was published entirely in error and is wholly false.

"The defendant wishes to offers its sincerest apologies to the claimant for the damage, distress and embarrassment which this error has caused to him."

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