Daily Mail and Evening Standard pay damages to Met police commander

The Daily Mail and the London Evening Standard have paid ‘substantial’ damages and apologised to Metropolitan police commander Ali Dizaei after falsely claiming he was a bigamist.

Dizaei issued libel proceedings at the High Court after the two papers published articles last June incorrectly suggesting he was still married to his former wife.

The Evening Standard and the Daily Mail both published identical statements on their respective websites apologising to Dizaei.

The statement said: ‘In an article published on 21 June 2008, we reported the results of a search from the Principal Registry of the Family Division that there was no record of a divorce between Ali Dizaei and Natalie Downing.

‘In fact Decree Absolute had been obtained in July 2005, two years before his marriage to Shahameh Dizaei, but due to an error of the court the divorce was not registered centrally. We are happy to clarify the position and apologise to all concerned.”

The Black Police Association, of which Dizaei was president until last month, issued a statement yesterday, reported by the Guardian this morning, saying the false accusation had caused Commander Dizaei and his family ‘considerable distress and embarrassment.’

The BPA statement added: ‘The article suggested that Commander Dizaei was involved in a bigamous marriage to Mrs Dizaei. Bigamy is a criminal act which carries a sentence of seven years.

“The two newspapers’ actions were entirely false and without foundation. The two newspapers have accepted that they are wrong. They will shortly publish an apology for all to see and have agreed to pay substantial damages and substantial costs of all parties.”

Dizaei, who is suing the Met for racial discrimination, stood down from his BPA post last month after appearing in court on charges related to a scuffle in a restaurant. He pleaded not guilty to the charges of misconduct in a public office and perverting the course of justice in a hearing on 5 August.

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