SOUTH Tyneside Council today pledged to continue to pursue court costs against a former borough councillor who became embroiled in the Mr Monkey hunt.
The authority is seeking £60,000 in court costs ordered against Ahmed Khan after his unsuccessful challenge in the US courts to halt the Town Hall hunt for the notorious blogger.
San Mateo County Court in California dismissed his anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation) motion in 2011, describing it as “frivolous”.
A subsequent appeal was rejected and, in September last year, a court costs order of $97,475.96 was made against Mr Khan – the equivalent of £56,803.84.
Speaking last year, Mr Khan – who has always denied being behind the Mr Monkey posts – said he had not paid any of that money.
And he claimed the council had “wasted public money” by pursuing the hunt for the mystery blogger.
Mr Khan, former Independent councillor for the Beacon and Bents ward in South Shields, had his computer records and Twitter accounts accessed as part of the legal probe.
Today the council confirmed it was “progressing the process” to recover the costs of the failed Anti-SLAPP motion. It said if the amount remains unpaid, recovery proceedings will be issued in the English courts.
Mr Khan revealed to the Gazette in October 2012 how he offered to drop that appeal – on condition that the four plaintiffs in the case paid their own court costs.
He said: “I offered to cancel my legal action if the four plaintiffs were invoiced for every penny of the costs incurred. I am being blamed for the additional costs of this action and that is not the case.
“I was not the one who brought this action in the first place. My main aim has always been to clear my name and to stop the use of public money in this case by the council, and I thought my motion would bring an end to that.”