Dewsbury Press forced to wait on MP libel trial verdict

The jury in the libel action brought by Labour minister Shahid Malik was discharged today after failing to reach a verdict.

The stalemate came at the end of a 10-day hearing before Mr Justice Eady at the High Court in London.

The Minister for International Development had sued the Dewsbury Press in his West Yorkshire constituency and a former Tory councillor over an allegation that he directed a “military” campaign during the May 2006 local elections to get the Asian electorate to vote for their “Muslim brothers”.

Mr Malik, who is 40 tomorrow, claimed that a letter sent to the Dewsbury Press that month by Jonathan Scott, and a follow-up interview a week later, branded him a racist whose divisive style was to blame for the rise of the BNP in the area.

The newspaper’s then editor, Danny Lockwood, publisher Newspost Ltd and Mr Scott, denied libel, pleading justification – that their claims were substantially true.

The jury was discharged after more than a day of deliberations.

The question of any further proceedings was deferred to a later unspecified date.

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