Ken Bates ordered to pay £10,000 harassment bill


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The Independent Online

Leeds United chairman Ken Bates  has been ordered to pay £10,000 to an ex-director who sued him for harassment.

Melvyn Levi and his wife Carole claimed they suffered stress as a result of announcements on the club radio station allegedly likening Mr Levi to a criminal on the run.

They also claimed comments made by Mr Bates in his match day programme notes amounted to speculation over the state of their marriage.

Mr Levi was awarded £10,000 in compensation at Leeds County Court but his wife's claim failed.

Judge Mark Gosnell said: "Mr Levi has succeeded in his claim and has been awarded £10,000 and Mrs Levi's claim has failed."

Mr Bates is also now subject to an injunction banning him from discussing Mr Levi's private life in public for two years.

But the Leeds chairman is allowed to mention the on-going commercial dispute between the two, known as the "Jersey proceedings", as well as other non-private matters.

Explaining why he was granting the injuction, the judge said: "I cannot think of a better reason than the delving into Mr Levi's private life in what is a commercial dispute between Mr Levi and Mr Bates which I hope will be resolved by someone else on another day."

Mr Levi claimed radio announcements asking for information on his whereabouts during a Leeds match on Boxing Day 2010 likened him to "a fugitive".

Over that Christmas period, Mr Bates was trying to serve a writ against Mr Levi but found out from his wife that he was away until the new year.

The Leeds chairman was pursuing legal action against Mr Levi for £190,400 Mr Bates claims he and another party owed the club - the subject of the Jersey proceedings.

At an earlier hearing, Mr Bates was accused of using the club's programme to pursue a personal vendetta and make the lives of the Levis "a misery" after he wrote an article in January last year speculating on why the couple had "split" over the festive season.

In 2009 Mr Levi sued Mr Bates for libel over articles written in the programme and the Leeds chairman was ordered to pay £50,000 damages plus costs to Mr Levi.