SOUTH Wales East AM Mohammed Asghar has been awarded £45,000 in damages after a judge ruled he was a victim of defamation.

Mohammad Ali Hayat has been ordered to pay the damages to Mr Asghar and a further £45,000 to Abdul Rehman Mujahid after circulating a dossier of false allegations about them.

Three other defendants Manzoor Ahmad, Farzand Ali and Shokat Butt have been cleared of wrongdoing and the case was dismissed against them.

Mr Justice Jeremy Baker also granted an injunction restraining Ali Hayat from further publishing the words for which he has been found liable or any similar words defamatory of the claimants.

The case, which centred around the Al-Noor Mosque and the Jamia Mosque in Newport, has been ongoing since 2011.

A trial was held at Newport Crown Court in July last year which was adjourned due to Ali Hayat suffering from “significant acute bronchitis”.

Evidence was heard by Mr Justice Jeremy Baker again in December at Cardiff Civil Justice Centre before a ruling was published today.

The judge found the Al-Noor Mosque and the Jamia Mosque have been jointly managed by various individuals, including Abdul Rehman Mujahid over a number of years and that Mr Ahmad, Mr Ali, Mr Butt and Ali Hayat called for management roles within the mosques to be elected rather than selected.

On September 15, 2011 a meeting took place between representatives of the opposing sides in the dispute but the matter was left unresolved.

In early 2012, a number of documents were published that Mr Asghar and Mr Rehman Mujahid considered defamatory.

The first, called the ‘update’, was published on January 8, 2012 and was placed on chairs of audience members at a meeting at Newport Leisure Centre.

Mr Justice Baker said: “I accept that these words are defamatory in that they suggest that the 2nd claimant [Mr Rehman Mujahid ] and others have sought to gain personally from the mosques' property, and that the 1st claimant [Mr Aghar] has encouraged them in their endeavours.

“Moreover, that the claimants have behaved badly at the mosques to the extent that the county court banned them from causing trouble at the mosques, and at the expiry of those bans the claimants undertook not to interfere with the mosques' congregations.”

On January 18, 2012, a second defamatory article was published in an Urdu language newspaper called Nawa-i-Jang.

The judge accepted the website article was defamatory adding “that they suggest that the 2nd claimant [Mr Rehman Mujahid] sought to defraud an insurer, that he was strongly believed to have been knowingly involved in passing counterfeit money, and knowingly using the mosque trust to obtain false work permits “They falsely alleged that the 1st claimant [Mr Asghar] was banned from entering the mosque because he had breached the peace, that he sought to promote sectionalism for his own political benefit, that he was knowingly involved in financial scandals by receiving corrupt payments and money laundering and the Newport Magistrates' Court had found that he was a liar.”

A fifth defendant, Javed Javed, could not attend the trial last year and separate proceedings may be brought against him.

Mr Asghar said he was “happy” with the judge’s decision.

He added: “It has damaged me, that’s why I went to court. That’s the only reason, to make sure my name isn’t in any jeopardy.”

Regarding the Newport Muslim community, Mr Asghar said: “We shall move on. My aim is for cohesion with all communities and to understand each other.”

Mr Asghar’s legal team will be seeking costs.