Daily Mail has yet to submit evidence in Shahbaz Sharif libel case

Collage of images showing Daily Mail reporter David Rose, PML-N chairman Shahbaz Sharif, and a screenshot of the “defamatory article” against Shahbaz written by Rose – File.

LONDON: The Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), publishers of The Daily mail and Mail on Sunday, have yet to present evidence in the Shahbaz Sharif libel case – seven months after Judge Sir Matthew Nicklin ruled at the High Court in London ruled that Mail on SundayJournalist David Rose’s article carried the highest level of defamatory significance to both Shahbaz Sharif and his son-in-law Ali Imran Yousaf.

On February 5, Judge Sir Nicklin determined that the level of defamatory meaning for Shahbaz Sharif and Ali Imran Yousaf was Chase Level 1 – the highest form of defamation in English law – and the judge also set a time limit for The daily mail to file a defense, but since then the defendants have requested three extensions, asking the court to allow more time citing the COVID-19 lockdown and travel restrictions.

Sources at the High Court in London indicated that the MailAbout a month ago, the organization’s lawyers requested the third extension, arguing that due to persistent travel restrictions and Pakistan’s Red List, its team had been unable to travel to Pakistan to collect evidence in order to prepare his defense.

According to sources, LNA lawyers have so far received three extensions and, in all requests, cited Pakistan’s travel restrictions and Red List as the reason it could not travel to Pakistan.

Shahbaz Sharif’s attorneys in Carter-Ruck raised the issue at one point that the defense was using delaying tactics and hiding behind Pakistan’s red list to gain more time, but both sides agreed to an extension of delay because the judge would have granted an extension easily due to the issue of actual travel restrictions.

Lawyers for Shahbaz Sharif, sources said, explained why evidence cannot be called from Pakistan; why it cannot be organized through online facilities and why the Mail was unable to present the evidence she claimed to have in her possession when she published the defamatory article, making allegations of fraud and money laundering of millions of pounds.

The third extension, according to the source, ends in a few days and Pakistan has been removed from the red list, allowing LNA lawyers to travel to prepare its defense.

The judicial source indicated that on these three occasions, the Mail lawyers went to court to ask for more time to file a defense. Shahbaz Sharif has been advised by his lawyers not to oppose the claims as the court would grant permission despite COVID-19 restrictions and that would mean the claimant would pay the costs.

After the February hearing, The daily mail initially asked for time until the end of March to present evidence, but later told the court it needed more time to file the defense. Last month, he asked for an extension for the third time, citing the same reasons.

Shahbaz Sharif and Ali Imran Yousaf are represented separately by two different groups of lawyers. The daily mail said he was to interview dozens of people in Pakistan as part of his evidence-gathering efforts against Shahbaz Sharif.

In the first week of January 2021, the High Court in London ruled in favor of Shahbaz Sharif and Ali Imran Yousaf regarding the meaning of journalist David Rose’s article published on July 14, 2019, in which it was alleged that Shahbaz Sharif and his son-in-law have been implicated in money laundering and the embezzlement of British money destined for the poor in Pakistan.

The court had heard arguments from lawyers of all stripes about David Rose’s article – “The family of the Pakistani politician who became the poster child for British aid abroad stole funds intended for victims earthquake, asks David Rose ”- who made headlines in Pakistan for two years.

It is this decision on Sir Nicklin’s meaning that the newspaper will now have to defend if the case goes to trial.

The mail lawyer Andrew Caldecott QC had told the judge that the newspaper “concedes” that there were no money laundering allegations against Shahbaz but members of his family.

The daily mail The lawyer said: “The actual detailed evidence against Shahbaz Sharif is quite limited, based on speculation, but his luxurious house is being invoked.”

Reject arguments from The daily mailCounsel for, Judge Nicklin ruled that an ordinary reader in Britain would have understood that Shahbaz Sharif was involved in corruption, embezzlement of the Earthquake Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) and DFID funds as well as in money laundering. He stated in the “natural and ordinary article, the plaintiff has been convicted of Chase Level 1”.

David Rose said in a tweet after the judgment was published in Pakistani media: “The Shahbaz Sharif defamation case is strictly preliminary. The judgment sets the parameters for the eventual trial, which lies in the future: it determines what the court says the article means. It is NOT an end result.

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