After a fallout when he was ‘owner’ of Leeds United, Ken Bates took to a campaign against ex-club director Melvyn Levi which involved mentions in some of Ken’s famed ‘programme notes’ and also announcements over his Yorkshire Radio radio station. After successfully winning his harassment case, Bates was ordered, on June 7th 2012, to pay Levi £10,000 damages. Charges included Bates using his Yorkshire Radio station to offer a free dinner for anyone that could help him find ex-director Levi so that legal papers could be served. A similar harassment charge brought by Levi’s wife Carol.
Fast forward over two year and Carol Levi appealed and the original decision was overturned with the judge, Lord Justice Briggs saying,
“It is plainly forseeable that, if any significant number of supporters of the club responded to Mr Bates’ incitement, they would cause Mrs Levy alarm and distress by attending or telephoning her home.”
What the above alludes to is a Ken Bates-penned series of articles in 2007 matchday programmes where Bates’ words not only defamed Melvyn Levi but also invited thousands of club supporters to intervene by telephoning the Levi home. Lord Justice Ryder said that it was inconceivable that such action wouldn’t cause distress to Mrs Levi and allowed her appeal saying “She was a forseeable victim. She was fortunate that the supporters had more sense or compassion than the perpetrator (Mr Bates).” The views of Lord Justices Briggs and Ryder were supported by the third appeal judge, Lord Justice Longmore who agreed that it shouldn’t only be the targeted individual who could sue for damages.
The upshot of this was that Ken Bates has been ordered to dig into his pockets and pay out £6,000 damages to Mrs Levi for the distress that he caused in his pursuing of harassing behaviour against her husband.