New series for MacIntyre after libel victory

MacIntyre: feels "vindicated"

The BBC is planning another series with investigative reporter Donal MacIntyre following his libel victory over Kent Police.

MacIntyre, whose reputation has come under intense scrutiny after Kent Police criticised his investigation into a care home, is working on four more programmes for the BBC: one on domestic violence, another on the experience of "foundlings" and two on environmental issues.

Two years after he launched his libel action standing on the steps of Broadcasting House, Kent Police have apologised unreservedly for its comments and offered to pay all legal costs, estimated at £600,000, and £15,000 damages to a charity of the journalist’s choice. It is thought to be the first time a police force has been successfully sued for defamation.

MacIntyre said he was "satisfied and relieved" and felt "thoroughly vindicated," adding that the BBC had been supportive all along.  "The BBC backed me on nothing but the facts, but would have abandoned me, and would have been right to do so, if there had been any question regarding those facts," he said.

The legal battle began after police launched a criminal investigation into allegations of abuse and neglect in a Gillingham care home made on the programme, shown in 1999.

After police looked at over 40 hours of unedited footage, The Sunday Telegraph ran a spread in which police criticised the programme and threatened to sue MacIntyre for the £50,000 it spent on the inquiry.

MacIntyre said he had come under sustained attack from a number of "hacks" who had seized on police criticism. "It left me open to the cynics and created a window for people who are disgruntled with our approach to journalism," he said.

"We didn’t expect to do a thorough investigation and be attacked by the police for doing that and we have now established that the police and its press officers can’t make untrue and unwarranted comments."

By Julie Tomlin

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