Mail titles in libel payout over police chief expenses stories

Police Service of Northern Ireland Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde today received a formal apology from the publishers of the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday over stories which wrongly alleged he had inappropriately claimed expenses.

The apology was given in a statement read in the High Court in Belfast as part of a settlement after he sued Associated Newspapers, publisher of the two titles.

The statement said: “Articles published by the Mail on Sunday on December 2, 2007, and the Daily Mail on December 7, 2007, may have suggested Sir Hugh Orde, Chief Constable of Northern Ireland, had inappropriately claimed expenses.”

Sir Hugh had instigated an independent audit of his expenses which found “no impropriety on his behalf”, it said, adding: “We apologise for any misunderstanding and a donation will be made to a charity of his choice.”

The size of the payment was not disclosed.

Sir Hugh’s legal costs are also being paid by the publisher.

The settlement marked the end of one of a number of libel actions the Chief Constable has launched against newspapers over allegations about his expenses.

Sir Hugh, who was not in court today, said he was “very satisfied to have received this comprehensive retraction and apology”.

A statement issued on his behalf by the PSNI added: “He now intends to continue to vigorously pursue ongoing claims against other newspapers who have yet to apologise for similarly unfounded allegations which should never have been published in the first place.”

Sir Hugh said the payment from Associated Newspapers would go to a fund for police widows

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