A former leading Birmingham councillor told a court yesterday how attempts to rebuild his life after he lost an election were thwarted by web postings which linked him to "violence and gangsterism".
Tony Kennedy was referring to a series of postings and web articles which related to an alleged brawl in the Prince of Wales pub in Moseley in May 2004.
The articles, posted on an internet chatroom and website run by current Liberal Democrat councillor Martin Mullaney, had caused Mr Kennedy to lose an election in June 2004, the former Labour member claimed.
He also said his attempts to set up a new business as an independent consultant to developers at the time of his defeat suffered as a result of the allegations being made by Mr Mullaney.
Birmingham County Court heard that a number of clients backed out of contracts with Mr Kennedy because they feared he would not be able to lobby the planning committee effectively, as Mr Mullaney was its vice chairman.
Mr Kennedy, a former deputy leader contender, said that for ten years he had been in the "A Team" at the city council and was in a group of four civic leaders who were instrumental in forming policy in education and regeneration.
However, he said his political opponents moved against him as a result of the postings and he began to receive calls from people asking him "to help out in fights".
The case centres around an alleged brawl between Mr Kennedy and pub regular Jim Pendleton, the court heard.
The former Aston councillor, who fought the Perry Barr ward in 2004, was arrested and released on police bail following the alleged brawl. He was also banned from the Prince of Wales. No charges were ever pressed.
The court heard that Mr Kennedy had admitted "shoving" a man against a wall in an article on the front page of a local newspaper.
However, he rejected suggestions that this publicity had damaged his reputation, and instead blamed Coun Mullaney's postings, which followed a long-running campaign of "salacious and denigrating" comments made by the Moseley representative on the web.
He said: "Particularly at the time of the publication of these postings I started to receive phone calls from people in Perry Barr inviting me to join fights at various establishments."
Mr Kennedy claimed postings on the chatroom suggested he instigated the brawl.
He claims to have been set upon by Mr Pendleton and carried out a rugby-type "smothering tackle" on the computer programmer in an act of self defence.
He also said Coun Mullaney's personal website featured a page dedicated to him which contained a number of reproduced newspaper articles which "related to gangsterism".
Mr Kennedy is suing Coun Mullaney for malicious falsehood. The case continues.