Saturday, 31 March 2012

Libel Case: Result

On the 30th March 2012 Judge Moloney handed down Judgment in the libel case I was involved in.

The Judge found in favour of the Defendants who were successful in their application to strike out the claim.

Since December 2011 I have been the subject of what one might call a hate campaign. Various twitter accounts and web pages have been set up to smear my character by the Claimant in this case. Many of these smears have been sent to various organisations, MP's, notable celebrities, supporters and organisers of Libel Reform, my own friends and family and other twitter users.

I can now report that in December 2011 all parties in the case were sent the draft Judgment which, under the Contempt of Court Act 1984, bound us not to reveal either the result of the case or the content of the Judgment itself.

Mr McGrath knew in December 2011 that he had lost and knew that he was facing a large costs order.

I cannot, and will not, make any assumptions about Mr McGrath's state of mind nor infer that he took the decision to smear me as a result of knowing the decision. I will let the facts of the matter stand for scrutiny and people may make their own mind up.

The case was struck out. 60 pages of allegations and argument was narrowed down, by a Master of the Court, to 16 pages. This was then narrowed down to 4 or 5 sentences which the Judge found 'could' be libellous but for which I had available defences to.

The Judge decided it was not worth a trial to hear the case and asked that, in light of this, whether I would be willing to agree not to repeat those sentences (or the meaning implied) in the future to bring an end to the case.

I have, at this stage, agreed to do so to bring an end to the proceedings. It was not worth increasing costs, time and stress if it could be brought to a quicker conclusion. I have a wife and two young children who need a husband and Father around the place.

When the Judgment is published, people will see that 90/95% of the case was struck out because of the Judge's own interpretation of the facts and there is no question that this is a victory on a number of levels which I will explain in due course. But, for example, the Judge ruled is not defamatory to call someone a Creationist. For those who debate religion and atheism this is quite an important finding by the High Court.

The claimant now has to pay £75,000 in costs (within 3 months), was denied permission to appeal and failed in an attempt to have me committed to prison for "contempt of court". Of course my sympathy is with the claimant's family who I'm sure do not deserve to be placed in the situation they are now in.

It is also certain that this is not quite over for the claimant as he has stated his intention to file a written application for permission to appeal. I will deal with that as and when I need to because an application for permission to appeal then needs to turn into a successful one. At that stage an appeal needs to be filed and then perhaps the story may take another twist before the end of the year.

But, in short...



Thank you to...

Robert Dougans, Serena Cooke, Jonathan Price, Trevor Gill, Neil Porter, Hardeep Singh, David Burton, Janet Murtha, David Allen GreenSimon SinghRon LewisUnity MOTMaria WoltersGareth WinchesterJohn GrayKris KingPaul TilleyPopehatDarren FlynnAbigail AmeyMike Harris at Index on Censorship and the hundreds of people from both the atheist and religious communities who have sent me messages of support throughout this process.

My family also deserve some thanks for putting up with me rabbiting on about the case and hopefully they will see not only how serious it all was but how someone was able to stand up to a libel bully. Without their support I would have found this much harder. The only trouble is, I will now be around much more to annoy them about other things.

4 comments:

  1. Only your friends and family know what you have gone through with this - through the actions of a self centred knob head!
    well done

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  2. "a self centred knob head!" -- Delicious:-)

    And yes, I have seen Scoobry in action in person, it was excremental.

    ReplyDelete