Judge in plea to Ken Bates and rival in Leeds United row

A FORMER Leeds United director has accused the club's chairman, Ken Bates, of harassing him and his wife in comments made in recent match-day programmes.

Leeds businessman Melvyn Levi was at Leeds County Court yesterday seeking an injunction – which was not granted – to stop Mr Bates making comments about him.

The court heard that two home games had passed without anything being said about Mr Levi and both parties have been in talks about settling their differences.

The court heard only brief details about the dispute, which goes back several years to when Mr Bates took over the club.

It involves a court case in Jersey involving businessman Robert Weston, who is defending a claim that 190,000 of season ticket money is owned to the club.

Mr Weston and Mr Levi were part of a consortium which ran the club before Mr Bates.

Yesterday Judge Mark Gosnell said that Mr Levi was concerned that further comments would be made by Mr Bates. He urged the parties to settle matters and not go to trial.

He said Mr Levi wanted "necessary protection" and others wanted to exercise their freedom of speech.

The judge said his view was that publication of information about Mr Levi and the "state of his marriage", along with his address and phone number, were difficult to justify.

He also said that "repeated allegations about 'fraudster'" in the context of the Jersey case cannot be justified.

The judge said: "Mr and Mrs Levi are not young people – they can do without this stress. Mr Bates is not a young person. He might say he has got more important fish to fry than this. Leeds is a business which is football, it's not this stuff. Knock it on the head today and let people do what they are good at. This is a sideshow."

Following private talks, both sides handed an order to the judge, which was not made public. The case was then adjourned until February 4 but could be settled in the meantime.