The allegations were made in a story about the Baby P death that ran in September 2010.
An apology was published the following month, which read: “the allegations are without foundation and … Baby P’s father has never been convicted of any criminal offences. We apologise to Baby P’s father for making this error and for the very considerable distress and embarrassment our article caused him”.
However, the two sides failed to reach an agreement about the level of damages to be paid.
Lawyer for MGN Heather Rogers QC told the court: “This was a mistake that MGN regrets and it has apologised to the claimant, and I repeat that apology on its behalf in this court.”
In today’s ruling, Mr Justice Bean said: “It is important to emphasise that [Baby P’s father] played no part whatever in the neglect and death of his son. It is also important to emphasise that he was and remains a man of entirely good character.
“The claimant feared that the widely publicised allegation that he was a sex offender meant that his children might be taken from him. Happily they were not, and I was told that a permanent order in favour of the claimant was made in March 2011.”
He concluded: “The result is that I assess the compensation due to the claimant at £75,000.”
Baby P was a 17-month-old boy who died from more than 50 injuries at his mother’s home in north London in 2007. His mother and her partner were jailed in 2009 for “causing or permitting the death of a child”.