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Wednesday October 27, 2021

Daily Mail yet to submit evidence in Shehbaz defamation case

Informed sources at the London High Court shared that Mail’s lawyers asked for the third extension around a month ago

September 23, 2021
Daily Mail yet to submit evidence in Shehbaz defamation case

LONDON: The Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), publishers of Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, have yet to submit evidence in Shehbaz Sharif’s defamation case – seven months after Justice Sir Matthew Nicklin ruled at the London High Court ruled that Mail on Sunday’s article by reporter David Rose carried the highest level of defamatory meaning for both Mr Shehbaz Sharif and his son-in-law Ali Imran Yousaf.
On 5th February, Justice Sir Nicklin determined that level of defamatory meaning for both Mr Shehbaz Sharif and Ali Imran Yousaf was Chase level 1 – the highest form of defamation in English law – and the judge also set a deadline for the Daily Mail to file a defence but since then the defendants have sought three extensions, asking the court to grant more time citing Covid-19 lockdown and travel restrictions.
Informed sources at the London High Court shared that Mail’s lawyers asked for the third extension around a month ago, arguing that due to the continuing travel restrictions and Pakistan’s Red Listing it’s team was unable to visit Pakistan to collect evidence to prepare its defence.
According to sources, the ANL’s lawyers have so far received three extensions and in all applications cited travel restrictions and Pakistan’s Red Listing as the reason why it couldn’t travel to Pakistan.
The lawyers of Shehbaz Sharif at Carter Ruck raised the issue at one point that the defence was using delaying tactics and hiding behind the Red Listing of Pakistan to buy more time but both sides agreed for time extension as the judge would have granted extension easily due to the genuine travel restrictions issue. The lawyers of Shehbaz Sharif,

according to sources, argued why the evidence cannot be called over from Pakistan; why it cannot be arranged through online facilities and why the Mail cannot present the evidence that it claimed to have in its possession when it 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 come off the Red List, making it possible for the ANL lawyers to make travel arrangements to prepare its defence.
The court source shared that on all three occasions, the Mail lawyers applied to the court seeking more time to file defence. Shehbaz Sharif was advised by his lawyers not to oppose the applications as the court would grant permission regardless due to Covid-19 restrictions and that would mean that the claimant would pay the costs.