Post & Mail pay libel damages over male lap dance story

The former owner of a male lap dance club in Birmingham has accepted substantial damages at London’s High Court to end a libel action launched against the Birmingham Post & Mail.

Mr Justice David Eady was told that, from March 2007 to March 2008, businesswoman and entrepreneur Elizabeth Lucas owned and managed the country’s first male lap-dance club, Tricky Dicky’s in Birmingham.

However, in January this year the Birmingham Mail carried a story headed “Ricky Dicky’s flops”.

Timothy Senior, solicitor for Lucas, told the judge: ‘The article alleged that the claimant forced out Mr Richard Power, described as the owner of Tricky Dicky’s, from the running of his club within a week of it opening.

‘The article went on to allege that the claimant proceeded to manage the club in a grossly negligent manner and contrary to Mr Power’s wishes, including ripping off customers by charging exorbitantly high prices for entrance fee and drinks and thereby forcing the club to close down less than a year after it first opened.”

Senior said it was alleged that the club’s closure caused Power to lose £80,000 which he had ploughed into the business by selling his house and left him ‘penniless, distraught, heartbroken and having to work as a parcel delivery man while living in a cramped one-bedroom rented flat”.

However, Senior continued: ‘The truth is that, contrary to the article, the claimant has been the sole owner of Tricky Dicky’s since it opened in March 2007. The previous owner was Mr Power who closed the venue before the claimant took over, and subsequently had no involvement with the club.

‘The claimant did not mismanage Tricky Dicky’s or rip-off customers by charging high prices for entrance fee and drinks. The club closed temporarily for refurbishments, but has not reopened following the cancellation of bookings after publication of the article.”

He said that the paper had now agreed to publish an apology and to pay her ‘substantial’but undisclosed damages and her legal costs and in those circumstances she was prepared to settle the action.

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