A LINE dancing instructor has received a public apology from a pupil-turned-rival who smeared his reputation in unfounded e-mails to their professional body.
Award-winning Val Myers, who has run weekly A-B Coasters classes at Kenton Methodist Church in Woodgrange Avenue, Kenton for a decade, sought reparation for defamatory statements made by Sandra Ong to a line dancing teacher training and assessment organisation.
Ong formed rival line dancing club Saints In-Line after four years as a A-B Coasters pupil. Thereafter Mr Myers requested she refrain from his classes because he believed she was using her attendance to promote her competing venture.
Ong, of St Paul’s Avenue, Kenton, contacted the Best Western Dance Academy (BWDA) in May 2013.
Chloe Strong, for Mr Myers, told the High Court on Wednesday: “She accused Mr Myers of harassing and haranguing members of the line dancing community, vindictively taking steps to disrupt the running of Saints In-Line and generally being unfit to be an area representative.
“Ms Ong’s emails followed a series of telephone calls to the BWDA and conversations with individuals within the organisation in which she had sought Mr Myers’ removal as area representative.
“The allegations made by Ms Ong are highly defamatory of Mr Myers and entirely false.
“They were published to an organisation, and to individuals within an organisation, with which Mr Myers has worked successfully and whose respect he had enjoyed for many years.
“They have caused Mr Myers reputational harm, humiliation and embarrassment.
“Ms Ong now acknowledges that the defamatory allegations are untrue.
“She has agreed today to withdraw the allegations, apologise to Mr Myers, to undertake not to repeat the same or similar allegations and to pay his reasonable legal costs.”
Mr Myers, a retired chartered accountant and former principal lecturer at Kingston University, was later reinstated by the BWDA.
Ong told the court: “I unreservedly withdraw the allegations in question and apologise to Mr Myers for the damage these allegations have caused.”
Mr Myers claimed for libel and sought damages from, and an injunction against, both Ong and fellow former pupil Jennifer Ryce, of Kingswear Road, Ruislip, who e-mailed the BWDA with similar unfounded defamatory allegations in support of Ong.
Mr Myers waived the damages for an apology from the two women and an undertaking not to repeat the defematory allegations. Mr Myers was awarded costs.
His solicitor Iain Wilson said afterwards: “Mr Myers felt compelled to bring these proceedings in order to set the record straight.”