County council faces “substantial” costs after libel action

SUFFOLK County Council is facing up to “substantial” libel and legal costs bills after a rogue e-mail made “totally untrue” accusations against the boss of a publishing firm.

Andrew Holman and his company, Inspired Services Publishing Ltd, based in Newmarket, sued over an e-mail circulated by a Suffolk employee to other council workers and associates on April 23 2008.

The “serious allegations” and “innuendo” it contained prompted a complaint from Mr Holman and the council carried out “an urgent and comprehensive investigation”, London’s High Court heard.

Barrister, Phillip Gale, representing Mr Holman and his company, said the council concluded that all the allegations and insinuations contained in the e-mail were “completely without foundation and totally untrue”.

Mrs Justice Sharp was told the council had made “a sincere and unreserved apology” to Mr Holman for the “hurt and embarrassment” he endured and the damage to reputation suffered by both him and Inspired.

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The council, added Mr Gale, had “agreed to pay a substantial sum in damages”, along with the legal costs run up by Mr Holman and his company, which is described on its website as “the one stop shop for accessible information”.

Suffolk’s barrister, Victoria Shore, underlined the council’s “sincere regret” and “sincere apologies” for the distress and anxiety suffered by Mr Holman.

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And she told the judge: “Suffolk County Council also wishes it to be known that it has no hesitation in adding Andrew Holman and Inspired Services to its list of providers”.

With Mr Holman and his company both “properly vindicated”, Mr Gale told the judge they are now “content to let the matter rest”.

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