Monday 22 December 2014

'Spectator' magazine apologises to Paddy McKillen

Published 30/07/2014 | 11:59

Belfast developer Paddy McKillen
Belfast developer Paddy McKillen

BUSINESSMAN Paddy McKillen received an apology in the High Court today from the Spectator magazine over an article it published last March related to Claridge's Hotel in London.

The article incorrectly stated Mr McKillen was a "front man" for Qatari investors in the luxury hotel, the court heard.

Jim O'Callaghan SC, for Mr McKillen, said the matter arose out of a defamation action over the article but he was pleased to tell the court the matter had been settled and solicitor for the magazine, Simon McAleese, would read out an apology.

The apology stated that on March 29 last, in the print and online editions, the Spectator (1828) Ltd, publishers of the magazine, ran an article in the "Taki" column entitled: "It might be time to avoid Claridges". 

The article referred to an "Irish front man" for the Qataris which could have been taken as a reference to Mr McKillen.

"The defendant's column had incorrectly assumed Mr McKillen's investment in Claridges was being financed by Qatari funding.

"It accepts this was incorrect and that it was therefore wrong to describe Mr McKillen as a front man for the Qataris".

The magazine withdrew any corresponding criticism of Mr McKillen and "apologises to him for its error", it added.

President of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, agreed to strike out the matter with no further order.

Mr McKillen was not in court but afterwards his solicitor, Paul Tweed, said his client had been "totally vindicated" by this comprehensive and categoric retraction and apology".   Mr Tweed added his client "will not hesitate to take appropriate legal action to protect his business from any future attempts to undermine his reputation".

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