MEALE DROPS CASE AGAINST STAGS FAN
High Court case against Stags' fan dropped by MP
CHAD.co.uk, 02 December 2008, By Helen Lambourne
MANSFIELD MP Alan Meale has dropped a High Court legal action against a man who he claimed had written 'defamatory' comments about him.
Read at CHAD website here
Mr Meale wanted to claim up to £50,000 plus costs from a Stags' fan who had sent a letter to the director of the East Midlands Labour Party last year raising certain questions about the MP's behaviour.
But he decided to drop the case against the Mansfield man just days before a hearing was due in the High Court because it was 'out of proportion'.
The case centred around a letter the football fan had written to Labour regional office asking questions about whether Mr Meale had given a character reference for a drink-driver.
Said the man, who did not want to be named: "I didn't say he did give a character reference. I asked the Labour Party if he had, which is different. The legal action should never have been brought in the first place.
"If you have got a complaint about an MP and you complain to the Labour Party then he sues you, how can that be right? How can you complain about an MP without getting sued?
"He is not prepared to stand up in front of a judge and say 'I think this is justifiable'. I really did want my day in court. He has got to pay all my costs now."
Mr Meale's solicitor Martin Lee told Chad he had tried to resolve the dispute without suing the man by writing to him eight times, but the MP had then decided proceedings should be started.
He said: "Ultimately, we decided the costs of it were out of proportion with what was likely to be achieved so decided not to continue."
And Mr Meale said he had not been interested in claiming the money and would have given anything he was awarded to charity.
He said: "Some of the things people accuse you of — they just think they can put anything they like into print and they can't.
"There are times when you have to take action because otherwise they can just repeat it and get away with it. If I have decided not to sue him, he should consider himself grateful."