Charity worker in £40k no win, no fee libel victory

By Dominic Ponsford

A Montenegro-based charity worker is the latest impoverished libel
claimant to sue a big media company taking advantage of no win, no fee
payment rules for lawyers.

Sinisa Nadazdin won £40,000 in damages, plus costs, over an article
published in the Sunday Mirror on 25 January which alleged he was
involved in child trafficking.

Nadazdin was put in touch with
David Price solicitors after first contacting Mediawise, a British
charity formed to help those who believe they have been poorly treated
by the press.

He sued not only Sunday Mirror publisher MGN Ltd,
but also freelance journalist Dominic Hipkins and staff reporter Graham
Johnson.

The disputed article appeared on 25 January, 2004,
headlined “For Sale Age 3”. It alleged that Nadazdin was involved in
selling children into the sex industry and that he was using UK charity
Smile International as a front.

The High Court heard that the Sunday Mirror now accepts these allegations were completely untrue.

According
to his lawyer, Kathryn van Gelder, Nadazdin was running a nursery in
Montenegro when he met freelance journalist Hipkins. Gelder said that
Nadazdin believed he was helping Hipkins set up a “sting”

to trap child traffickers on film and never agreed himself to sell a child.

MGN
lawyer David Hirst said: “The claimant and Mr Hipkins had numerous
conversations about the issues of child trafficking and adoption, some
of which may have been misinterpreted.

“Mr Hipkins had spent a
lot of time researching child trafficking in the Balkans and was,
together with the other defendants, genuinely seeking to investigate
these problems in Montenegro. All the defendants now accept that Mr
Nadazdin was simply trying to assist them in that regard and that he
was in no way connected with child trafficking himself.”

Nadazdin still faces criminal charges in Montenegro for defaming the country by collaborating with a foreign journalist.

Last
week Mr Justice Eady reserved judgment following another libel action
brought by a foreign national of modest means against a British
newspaper.

Bogdan Maris (alias Alin Turku) sued the News of the
World over its November 2002 story claiming he was part of an
international criminal gang plotting to kidnap Victoria Beckham.

Maris also engaged David Price under a no win, no fee arrangement.

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