Rotherham man falsely accused over Rotherham child sex abuse scandal awarded £40,000 in libel case

The High CourtThe High Court
The High Court
A Rotherham man falsely accused of involvement in the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal has been awarded £40,000 in damages after winning a libel case.

Rotherham resident Zahir Monir was incorrectly branded a '˜child grooming taxi driver' in a tweet posted on UKIP's official Twitter site for Bristol.

COURT: South Yorkshire employee stole over £22k from phone boxes   It accompanied a photograph of Rotherham MP Sarah Champion with Mr Monir and another man three days before the 2015 General Election, in which a UKIP candidate was standing.

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The libelous post read: 'Sarah champion, Labour candidate for Rotherham, together with two suspended child grooming taxi drivers. DO NOT VOTE LABOUR.'

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The tweet came in the wake of the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal after a report revealed that 1,400 children in the town had been groomed by men of predominantly Pakistani heritage for 16 years while those in authority failed to act.

At the High Court in London yesterday morning, Mr Monir was awarded £40,000 in damages.

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He took action against against Steve Wood, the former chairman of Bristol UKIP, and UKIP's parliamentary candidate for the Bristol South constituency in the 2015 General Election.

The damaging tweet was written by another UKIP member but Mr Wood set up the Bristol UKIP Twitter account and was deemed responsible for its content.

The Judge in the case, Mr Justice Nicklin, said: 'It needs to be stated clearly - Mr Monir is completely innocent.

'He has been seriously libelled.

'He has been forced to fight a libel claim all the way through to trial with every single conceivable point being taken against him.'

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The Judge based his award of damages on his finding that '˜notwithstanding the fairly limited publication there is evidence of serious and significant reputational harm'¦It has transformed the life of Mr Monir and his family for the worse'.

After judgment was handed down, Jeremy Clarke-Williams of  law firm Penningtons Manches, said: 'The publication of the vile and baseless tweet for cynical political reasons has caused huge damage and distress to Zahir Monir and his family.

'This judgment provides him with the complete vindication he deserves. He has had to endure more than three years of suffering and stress to achieve this victory and the failure of the defendant to apologise for, or retract, the allegation is, as the judge noted '˜on simply a human level, a difficult stance to understand'.'