Businessman wins £35,000 slander payout

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Business tycoon falsely accused of threatening to slit a church-goer's throat has won £35,000 in slander

Oakwood Solicitors succeed in ‘rare’ Slander Claim

Richard Coulthard of Oakwood Solicitors was instructed by Mr Raj Dhir in respect of a highly contentious legal action for slander and defamation. The case of Dhir v Saddler (2017) EWHC 3155 QB was heard by The Honourable Mr Justice Nicklin, a specialist media and defamation Judge, during November 2017.

The claim involved allegations by the Claimant that the Defendant had made false allegations regarding the Claimant to members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church at a congregation in July 2015. Mrs Saddler falsely alleged that the Claimant had made death threats to the Defendant at a meeting of the families in September 2014.

Mr Justice Nicklin found unequivocally in favour of the Claimant and found that the Defendant had lied when making the allegations against Mr Dhir. During the course of proceedings, the Defendant and members of the Defendant’s family, made a number of serious allegations against the Claimant, his family and the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Mr Justice Nicklin found that ‘I do not need to find a reason why the Defendant has lied; I simply need to be satisfied on the evidence that she has. For the reasons I have given, I am.’

Mr Dhir, a successful local businessman, suffered significant damage to his reputation as a consequence of the Defendant’s conduct given that the Claimant employs a member of staff who are members of the Church.

Mr Justice Nicklin found that the comments of the Defendant were actionable per se as the Defendant had essentially alleged that the Claimant had committed a crime by making a threat to kill.  Mr Justice Nicklin found that the allegation had caused ‘serious reputational harm’ under Section 1 Defamation Act 2013

In making an award of damages at £35,000, Mr Justice Nicklin gave a very clear indication that her conduct of falsely maintaining a Truth plea and failing to provide an apology had been taken into account when assessing damages.

Richard Coulthard, Director at Oakwood Solicitors said:

‘I am genuinely pleased for Mr Dhir. It was a hard fought victory as the Defendant denied the claim throughout and maintained a defence of Truth and I am pleased that the Court have found that the Defendant lied. I have seen first-hand the toll that this process has had on Mr Dhir and his family. It is a fantastic result which not only vindicates his reputation but sends a very clear message that individuals cannot go around making false allegations and I hope that this is a deterrent against future conduct of this nature.’

Mr Dhir, said:

Oakwood Solicitors have acted sensitively, professionally and with care at all times. They were aware that I was keen to avoid court and simply wanted an apology and did their utmost to mediate with the defendant whilst protecting my position as their client. We are grateful for the result and relieved we can now put this behind us and move on’.

The outcome of the Trial has been widely reported in both the national and local press.

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