Re:- Construction News
McConnel Martin & Company
We have your letter of 8th January 1988 and are far from satisifed [This should have read, "satisfied"]
from its terms.
You refuse to concede that the article in question was defamatory of our clients. We for our part are in no doubt that it was defamatory in the extreme. You furthermore state that your client is nonetheless willing to give an assurance that "no impropriety on the part of your Clients was alleged or intended". We are at a loss to understand the basis on which you claim no impropriety to have been intended and having regard to the express terms and obvious import of the article wonder what your clients did intend if not impropriety. As to the suggestion that no impropriety was alleged we take the view that this is simply nonsense and we are not prepared to accept evasiveness on this central issue, since in our view the allegation of impropriety is both obvious and gross.
It seem to us that this matter is not susceptible of redress by way of "correction" (your term and your quotation marks) and that what is required is an unconditional apology.
Kindly therefore advise us by return if your clients are willingly [I think this should have read, "willing"] to print with due prominence an apology in the terms set out below, on confirmation whereof we will forthwith discuss with you the appropriate level of compensation to be paid to our clients.
If on the other hand you are not agreeable to print this apology the proceedings already drafted by Counsel will issue without further notice.
The terms of the apology which our clients require are as follows:-
An article in the edition of Construction News daed 2nd October 1986 and headed "'Rip-Off' could threaten Laing Job in Belfast" contained a statement that Freddie Andrews was fiddled out of a large part of his inheritance by unscrupulous friends, solicitors and estate agents.
It has been drawn to our attention that this article could be wrongfully construed as a reference to Messrs. McConnell Martin & Co., Estate Agents of 21 Fountain Street, Belfast who, in the proper course of their business provided estate agency services in respect of the properties belonging to Mr. Freddie Andrews.
Construction News is satisfied that Messrs. McConnell Martin & Co. is a firm of the utmost probity and its professional conduct in relation to any properties belonging to Mr. Freddie Andrews is beyond reproach.
In the circumstances Construction News unreservedly apologises to the Partners of Messrs. McConnell Martin & Co. for any distress or embarrassment which our article may have caused them.
An agreed sum of damages has been paid to Messrs. McConnell Martin & Co."
[The signature is indecipherable."]