Leeds United: Wife of ex-Leeds director wins harassment appeal against Ken Bates

Ken Bates leaves  Leeds Crown Court after the first day of a libel hearing brought by Melvyn Levi.  23 April 2012.'Picture Bruce Rollinson

Ken Bates leaves Leeds Crown Court after the first day of a libel hearing brought by Melvyn Levi. 23 April 2012.'Picture Bruce Rollinson

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The wife of ex-Leeds United director Melvyn Levi has had a claim for harassment against former club chairman Ken Bates upheld on appeal.

Carole Levi’s case - dismissed during a county court hearing in 2012 - was upheld by three judges at the Court of Appeal in London on Wednesday.

Her claim against Mr Bates related to comments published in Leeds’ matchday programme during the 83-year-old’s time as chairman and to broadcasts made on the now defunct Yorkshire Radio.

During the original court case, Mr and Mrs Levi said they had suffered stress following a series of announcements on Yorkshire Radio which Mr Levi claimed likened him to “a fugitive”.

The announcements, broadcast on and around Boxing Day in 2010, asked for information about Mr Levi whereabouts at a time when Mr Bates was trying to serve a writ on him.

Yorkshire Radio was founded by Mr Bates in 2006 and held exclusive Leeds United matchday commentary rights in 2010. The station closed in 2013.

Mr and Mrs Levi also argued that comments made by Mr Bates in his programme column amounted to speculation about the state of their marriage.

Mr Levi won his case in 2012 and was awarded £10,000 in damages by Leeds County Court. Mrs Levi’s case failed at that hearing but was upheld on appeal this week.

The Court of Appeal will publish a full written verdict at a later date and a ruling on damages owed to Mrs Levi and the award of costs is still to be made.

Mr Levi - a Leeds director between 2004 and 2005 - told the YEP that he was now considering bringing a similar claim against Shaun Harvey, the current Football League chief executive and United’s CEO at the time of the incidents leading to the harassment case between Mr Bates and the Levis.

Mr Levi said: “I’ll be going into discussions with my lawyers to decide whether there is any merit in pursuing Shaun Harvey.”