Athlete settles with Thurrock Gazette over cocaine claim

A top discus thrower has settled his libel action against Newsquest Media Group over a claim, made in the Thurrock Gazette, that he was a cocaine dealer.

Abdul Buhari, who competes at national and international level and has his eyes set on the Olympics, had brought High Court proceedings over an article published in July.

His solicitor, Felicity Robinson, told Mr Justice Eady in London that the Gazette had falsely alleged that Buhari was guilty of selling cocaine from a hostel for vulnerable people in London and, having admitted the offence, had been sentenced to two years in prison.

It was also alleged that the judge considered the offence so serious that, if he were to re-offend, he would be deported after serving a further jail sentence of at least seven years.

The article, which was accompanied by a photo of Buhari in his Great Britain athletics kit, also said he was guilty of tax evasion.

Robinson said the allegations were totally false – Buhari had never been in trouble with the police at all.

The claims had caused him a great deal of distress, humiliation and embarrassment, and he had had to account for them to his friends, employer and members of his athletics club, Newham and Essex Beagles.

Robinson added that Newsquest Media Group Ltd had accepted that there was no truth whatsoever in the allegations, had published an apology and made an offer of amends.

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