Page last updated at 11:10 GMT, Monday, 10 May 2010 12:10 UK

Developer Frank Boyd accepts Sunday World libel damages

North Street Arcade fire
The offending article referred to a fire at the North Street Arcade in 2004

One of Northern Ireland's wealthiest property developers is to receive £30,000 in libel damages from the Sunday World newspaper.

Frank Boyd, who co-owns the William Ewart firm, sued over an article which made references to an arson attack on a Belfast retail complex.

The publishers of the Sunday World also issued an apology and have agreed to pay the costs of his libel action.

Mr Boyd's solicitor said his client's reputation had been vindicated.

Mr Boyd, whose firms have overseen a number of major development and regeneration projects, sued over a story which focused on an inquiry into alleged corruption linked to government contracts.

He was named in the piece, which also referred to a fire at the North Street Arcade in 2004.

As part of a settlement reached in the proceedings, lawyers for the newspaper read out a statement at the High Court in Belfast.

'Substantial'

It said: "In the 25th of January 2009 edition of the Sunday World the defendant published an article under the headline 'Whistleblower sparks fraud squad probe into MoD contracts' which made reference to the respected businessman and property developer Frank Boyd.

"The defendant wishes to make it clear that their article was not intended to infer any improper or unlawful conduct on the part of Mr Boyd and they would unreservedly withdraw any inferences to the contrary.

"The defendant apologises to Mr Boyd and as a mark of their regret have agreed to pay him a substantial sum in damages and to pay his reasonable legal costs."

Mr Boyd was not in court, but his lawyer Paul Tweed, senior partner at Johnsons Solicitors, gave his reaction to the outcome.

He said: "My client is very satisfied with this categoric and comprehensive vindication of his reputation following this morning's apology and the payment of substantial damages."

The Sunday Times rich list for 2010 estimated that Mr Boyd is worth £160m. In addition to his interest in William Ewart he also owns Killultagh Estates.

Following the resolution, the Sunday World's Northern Editor, Jim McDowell, disclosed the scale of the pay-out.

Mr McDowell said: "The award to Mr Boyd was £30,000 plus reasonable costs.

"On Friday Mr Boyd sought to change the terms of the action to sue for aggravated damages, but then the settlement was reached for the sum agreed."



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