Baby P father's libel award over rape claim error is cut to £50,000

 

The natural father of Baby P who was falsely accused of having been convicted of raping a 14-year-old girl has had a libel award of £75,000 cut to £50,000.

Lawyers for the father, who can only be referred to as “KC”, told High Court judge Mr Justice Bean in March that MGN Ltd, publisher of The People, was guilty of “one of the gravest libels imaginable”.

Today, three judges in the Court of Appeal, headed by the Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, said it was hard to exaggerate the seriousness of the publication of a false assertion that a man of good character had been convicted of the rape of a child.

But, for as long as the libel remained uncorrected, KC remained anonymous, as he still is, and the falsity of the allegation was recognised and publicly corrected at a very early stage.

Given the limited number of those who might have read or heard of the false allegation, and appreciate that it referred to KC, the starting point of £150,000 taken by the judge - before a 50% discount to reflect mitigating factors - was excessive.

“We propose to reduce it to a level which, consistently with the limited publication and early apology, would nevertheless adequately reflect the abhorrent nature of the crime falsely alleged against KC and the damage done to and its impact on him. A proportionate figure for this purpose is £100,000.”

The discount applied by the judge was appropriate, bringing the award down to £50,000.

The completely untrue allegation, made as a result of a “blunder”, was in a September 2010 crime supplement featuring Baby P's mother, Tracey Connelly, who had separated from KC.

Baby P, later named as Peter Connelly, was 17 months old when he was found with more than 50 injuries in his cot at her home in Tottenham, north London, in August 2007.

Tracey Connelly was jailed in 2009 after admitting causing or allowing his death, while her boyfriend, Steven Barker, and their lodger, Jason Owens, Barker's brother, were found guilty at the Old Bailey of the same charge.

PA

Sport
The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week