£75,000 damages for Baby P father
The natural father of Baby P has been awarded £75,000 against the publishers of The People after being wrongly described as a sex offender convicted of raping a 14-year-old girl.
Lawyers for the father, who can only be referred to as "KC", said the publishers of the Sunday newspaper were guilty of "one of the gravest libels imaginable".
Mr Justice Bean, sitting in London, awarded KC his damages plus legal costs saying it was "difficult to think of any charge more calculated to lead to the revulsion and condemnation of a person's fellow citizens than the rape of a 14-year-old girl".
The newspaper's publishers, MGN Ltd, had apologised and offered to pay damages.
However the offer came late and was not enough to compensate the father for the suffering and distress the "completely false" reports had caused, James Dingemans QC, appearing for KC, told Mr Justice Bean at a recent hearing.
The judge observed that KC had indicated his willingness to accept £75,000 compensation in May last year - and he should be awarded part of his costs against MGN on an indemnity basis to reflect that fact.
The judge said the nature of the accusations made in the newspaper on September 19 2010 were "far worse" than in other cases referred to in court and the "no smoke without fire" point applied with particular force.
MGN was refused permission to appeal, but the judge put a stay on £45,000 of the total amount being paid out until after the Court of Appeal itself decides whether or not to hear the publisher's case.
Baby P, later named as Peter Connelly, was 17 months old when he was found in a blood-splattered cot at his mother's home in Tottenham, north London, in August 2007. He had more than 50 injuries.
Tracey Connelly was jailed in 2009 after admitting causing or allowing his death. Her boyfriend, Steven Barker, and their lodger, Jason Owens, Barker's brother, were found guilty at the Old Bailey of the same charge.