Sunday Times in £20k payout over sham marriage claims

The Sunday Times has paid £20,000 in damages to a solicitor it alleged had helped an undercover reporter obtain an illegal passport.

According to solicitors Carter Ruck, acting for Dr Akbar Malik: “The Sunday Times has apologised…over an article which wrongly alleged that he had advised a Sunday Times undercover reporter on how to obtain a passport by entering into a sham civil partnership.

“In fact, Dr. Malik never spoke, or otherwise communicated, with the Sunday Times journalist in question. “

The Sunday Times has agreed to pay damages and legal costs over the 19 February article.

Carter Ruck said: “Dr. Malik said that he was extremely pleased that the record has been set straight and that The Sunday Times had accepted that its allegations against him were unsubstantiated.”

The Sunday Times said in its corrections column on July 16: “Our report ‘Migrants use gay marriage loophole’ wrongly alleged that Dr Akbar Malik of Malik Law Chambers, London E2, had advised a Sunday Times undercover reporter on how to get a passport by entering into a sham civil partnership.

“While the reporter honestly believed, on the basis of information given to him at the time of his visit, that he was advised by Dr Malik, he did not in fact speak to Dr Malik. It follows that Dr Malik did not give the advice in question. We apologise to Dr Malik for the distress and embarrassment caused by our article.”

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