Paper ordered to pay McBride

ROBERT McBride has said that his defamation case against The Citizen newspaper was never about money

ROBERT McBride has said that his defamation case against The Citizen newspaper was never about money

"The money was not important. It was about the principle," said the former Ekurhuleni metro police chief yesterday in reaction to the Supreme Court of Appeal ruling on the case, which went mostly in his favour.

The court held that The Citizen was wrong to call McBride a murderer and criminal in a series of editorial comments and a column by a freelance journalist in September and October 2003.

The articles were written when it became known that McBride would become the head of the metro police.

The newspaper stated that he was not suited for the position because he was a criminal: a murderer who had allegedly been involved in illegal activities with gun dealers in Mozambique.

The Johannesburg high court confirmed McBride's contention that the articles were defamatory and ordered that the newspaper pay him R200000 in damages.

Yesterday McBride said the SCA's ruling had confirmed that it was "illegal" for the newspaper to write about him in such a manner. "Their appeal (to the SCA) was not in good faith," he said, adding that he felt "vindicated."

Meanwhile, the trial of the doctor who allegedly falsified a medical certificate claiming McBride was not drunk at the time of his 2006 accident was postponed in the Pretoria magistrate's court yesterday. - Sapa

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