Past Mayor of Oldham wins libel and harassment claim against former councillor colleague.

Riaz Ahmad

An attritional case, covered exclusively on Neil Wilby Media almost since its inception, has reached its legal conclusion, barring mishaps over payment of costs and damages by the unsuccessful party.

Cllr Riaz Ahmad, who won a claim for libel and harassment against Khazir Rehman in 2022, has now been awarded the costs of the action, estimated to be in excess of £140,000. The High Court has also declared that the claim is stayed on the terms of a settlement offer accepted by former Labour councillor, Rehman (better known locally as ‘Kaiser’), that he pays Cllr Ahmad £55,000 in damages.

Cllr Ahmad, the former Mayor of Oldham, brought his claim for libel and harassment in respect of false and reprehensible allegations about Cllr Ahmad published by Rehman to Facebook and Twitter in 2020, across some 62 publications. Rehman’s defence to the claim was struck out and judgment entered for Cllr Ahmad by Master Victoria McCloud after two days of hearing in 2021.

On 9th February 2022, Master McCloud made a Judgment Order by which Kaiser Rehman was made subject to a permanent injunction, ordered to pay damages to be assessed and ordered to pay the costs of the claim to the date of that Order.

Acting for Cllr Ahmad was a team of lawyers at JMW Solicitors made up of partner, Oliver Wright, and Savanna Nolan with Ben Gallop of 5RB Chambers, a media and communications law specialist, as counsel, at a disposal hearing on 14th February 2023.

Around one week before the hearing, at which Cllr Ahmad was asking the High Court to award damages of £100,000, Rehman accepted an offer to settle made in May 2022. The Court made a declaration that Rehman’s acceptance was binding upon him and consequently he must pay £55,000 to Cllr Ahmad per the terms of the accepted offer. Mr Rehman was ordered to pay the costs of the action, on the indemnity basis from 4th June 2022. 

Wright, an acknowledged expert in commercial litigation and public law matters, said: “This has been an incredibly challenging two and a half years for our client. This was a campaign of libel and harassment of the most serious kind. The case, described by Master McCloud as ‘hard-fought’, has also seen significant court delays, with judgment entered against [Khazir] Rehman a year and a half after the claim was started. Our client had the claim hanging over him a further year, pending a court decision on the level of damages and costs to be awarded, due to Mr Rehman’s failure to accept the judgment. That unreasonable conduct has rightly been reflected in an indemnity costs order.”

Riaz Ahmad said: “I am pleased and relieved that this unequivocal judgement brings to an end over six years of false narrative splashed on social by Kaiser Rehman. It has been an extremely painful time for myself, my family and friends and I would like to thank everyone who stood by me and supported me at this most difficult time of my life.”

Riaz Ahmad further stated that any monies recovered over and above the costs will be donated to Oldham Foodbank

In August, 2021, at Tameside Magistrates’ Court, Khazir Rehman was convicted of harassing another prominent Labour councillor, Dr Zahid Chauhan OBE. His sentence, handed down the following month at the same court, included a 12 week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, a fine, a restraining order and a community service order.

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Page last updated Saturday 4th March, 2023 at 0950hrs

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Picture credits: Oldham Council

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Published by Neil Wilby

Former Johnston Press area managing director. Justice campaigner. Freelance investigative journalist.

5 thoughts on “Past Mayor of Oldham wins libel and harassment claim against former councillor colleague.

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