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Wednesday, 5 July, 2000, 15:46 GMT 16:46 UK
McLibel pair get police payout
Dave Morris and Helen Steel
McLibel two: Celebrating the end of their libel case in 1997
Two campaigners, who were involved in the longest libel case in English legal history against the fast food chain McDonald's, have been awarded 10,000 by Scotland Yard.

Helen Steel, 34, and Dave Morris, 46, who became known as the McLibel Two, launched legal proceedings in September 1998, accusing the Metropolitan Police of disclosing confidential information to investigators working for the hamburger chain.

Scotland Yard agreed to the payout saying it regretted any distress that may have been caused to the pair by the alleged disclosure of their details.

This collusion reveals the political role of the police in ensuring the wheels of big business keep turning

McLibel Two
As part of the settlement, all police officers in Greater London are being reminded of their responsibility not to disclose information held on the Police National Computer to third parties.

An individual officer, Detective Sergeant David Valentine, said he also regretted any distress caused to the two claimants.

'Exploiting workers'

Ms Steel and Mr Morris said in a statement the Metropolitan's police's claim to be impartial defenders of the public was a hollow one.

"This collusion reveals the political role of the police in ensuring the wheels of big business keep turning," they said.

The pair fought a 10-year battle against McDonald's which ended in a 314-day libel trial, the longest in English legal history.

Greenpeace McDona'd's leaflet
McDonald's said leaflet was libellous
McDonald's brought the case saying the pair had handed out a libellous London Greenpeace campaign leaflet entitled "What's Wrong with McDonald's?".

It accused McDonald's of exploiting its workers, damaging the environment, and giving its customers food that led to heart disease.

The court ruled the burger chain had been libelled by most of the allegations and Ms Steel and Mr Morris were ordered to pay McDonald's 60,000 damages.

That sum was reduced to 40,000 following a ruling by the Court of Appeal in April last year.

The court case is believed to have cost the burger chain 10m which it has no chance of recouping as Mr Morris and Ms Steel are described as unwaged.

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