Adam Afriyie, Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Windsor, and his wife Romi have secured a libel victory against the publisher of the Mail on Sunday, its editor and two journalists in respect of an article published in October 2003. In a statement in open court, the defendants apologised to Mr and Mrs Afriyie for the distress and embarrassment the article caused them. They also agreed to publish an apology and pay the couple a substantial sum in damages and undertook not to repeat the allegations complained of.
Statement in Open Court
Adam and Romi Afriyie win libel claim against Mail on Sunday
07 May 2004
Solicitors for the Claimants
My Lord, in this libel action, I appear for the Claimants, Adam and Romi Afriyie. My friend Niri Shanmuganathan appears for the Defendants, who are respectively, the publisher, editor and journalists of the Mail on Sunday.
Mr Afriyie is a successful businessman and the founder and Managing Director of an information technology company, Connect Support Services Limited. On 3 October 2003, he was selected as the Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Windsor. Romi Afriyie is married to Adam Afriyie. She has approximately ten years experience in promotions and is the Managing Director of a small promotions company, Oyster Promotions Limited, which has been incorporated for approximately two years.
On 12 October 2003, the First Defendant published an article entitled “What IDS’s Mr Perfect didn’t tell Tory bosses…”. The Claimants believe that the article suggested:
(a) Mrs Afriyie runs a high-class escort agency which supplies or is to be suspected of supplying rich clients with young hostesses for sexual services for money; and/or
(b) Mr Afriyie had deceived members of the Windsor Conservative Party into selecting him as their Prospective Parliamentary Candidate by not informing them that his wife runs a high-class escort agency which supplies or is to be suspected of supplying rich clients with young hostesses for sexual services for money; and/or
(c) Mr Afriyie had deceived members of the Conservative Party in selecting him as their Prospective Parliamentary Candidate by falsely representing himself at the time of his adoption as the Parliamentary Candidate as being part of a stable and happy marriage when in fact he had been separated from his wife for nine months.
There is no truth whatsoever in any of these allegations. Oyster Promotions Limited provides skilled marketing services to project an image around a product which will encourage prospective buyers to purchase and is entirely reputable. Further, Mr Afriyie did not deceive the Conservative Party in any way during his selection either in relation to the nature of Mrs Afriyie’s business or the state of his marriage. During his selection he was not asked and made no representations about either matter. In addition, under Conservative Party Rules for the selection of Conservative Party Candidates for the UK Parliament, a candidate’s marital status should not be taken into account when selecting a candidate.
Whilst the Defendants do not accept that the allegations contained in paragraphs (a) – (c) above were made in the article, the Defendants accept that such allegations are untrue. They have agreed to pay Mr and Mrs Afriyie a substantial sum in compensation for the damage caused to their reputation and the injury caused to their feelings by their article. They have also agreed to meet their legal costs and have agreed to publish an apology in agreed terms in the Mail on Sunday. They have, in addition, undertaken not to publish any of the allegations complained of at any time in the future. On that basis, Mr and Mrs Afriyie consider that their purpose in bringing these proceedings has been achieved and they are prepared not to pursue matters any further.
Solicitors for the Defendants
My Lord, on behalf of the Defendants, I accept everything my friend has said. The Mail on Sunday has agreed to publish an apology in agreed terms and provided those other forms of redress to which my friend has referred. Through me, the Defendants apologise to Mr and Mrs Afriyie for the distress and embarrassment that has been caused to them.
Solicitors for the Claimants
My Lord, with that Mr and Mrs Afriyie are content to let the matter rest.
Mr and Mrs Afriyie were represented by Alasdair Pepper.