16. May 2019 · Comments Off on Defamation 7 Crowdfunder · Categories: Announcements, Defamation, Legal affairs

On 21 March 2017 I was served with a summons by Wildcat Haven Enterprises CIC. It is a defamation action in which the pursuer is claiming £750,000 damages (plus 8% annual interest). The action relates to two blogs I wrote In September 2015 and February 2016.

The case will be heard in the Court of Session over 8 days commencing 29 October 2019. The judicial costs (the time spent in court) have been estimated by a Judicial Accountant at £120,000. In addition, there are other legal costs incurred in preparing the case. These are estimated to be in the region of a further £60,000. I raised £54,000 of these in a previous crowdfunder. Further costs that I am meeting personally include research and travel costs associated with gathering evidence across the UK and in the Channel Islands.

I am thus launching what I hope will be a final crowdfunder to cover my judicial costs of £120,000.

Unlike other defamation actions where the content of the alleged defamatory material is well publicised, I need to conceal the blogs in question and cannot publish the detailed allegations until they are entered in court proceedings.

Please therefore note the following before deciding whether to donate.

1. Neither you nor I can know what the result of this case will be. I am confident that I have not defamed the pursuer but the Court has been asked to determine that. Before you donate therefore, be aware that you cannot form an informed view on the likelihood of success.

2. If I am successful in defending this case, I should be able to secure the recovery of most of my legal expenses. The pursuer has deposited £120,000 in the Court to cover this eventuality. In this event, I will reimburse all those who have contributed to my defence fund in proportion to what each party (including myself) has contributed. Thus, if I am successful, you can be assured that you will receive some of your donation back. I have appointed a Chartered Accountant to conduct an independent audit of my costs. An audited statement to 13 May 2018 is available here.

3. Funds raised in this crowdfunder shall be used solely for my legal expenses in the case. If I lose the case and damages are awarded to my pursuer, I shall be personally liable for those. If those damages are substantial, I may have no option but to declare myself bankrupt and be disqualified from serving as an MSP.

Finally, there are a lot of very deserving causes out there. I am launching this crowdfunder because some people have offered to help and for that I am very grateful. So please do consider carefully whether you wish to support this appeal or not.

Thank you to everyone who has provided generous support over the past two years.

If you are willing to donate, please proceed to the crowdfunder page.

02. July 2018 · Comments Off on Defamation 6 · Categories: Announcements, Defamation, Legal affairs

On 20 March 2017, I was served with a summons by Wildcat Haven Enterprises CIC claiming that I had defamed them and seeking damages of £750,000 (now £810,000 with 8% interest). The allegations relate to two blogs I published in September 2015 and February 2016. See previous blogs for further details. I deny all the allegations made against me.

I am extremely grateful to all those who donated to the crowdfunder I launched in April 2017. I have now had the income and expenditure audited and a Statement is available here (with signature redacted). Of a total of £59,153.71 raised, I incurred costs to 13 May 2018 of £30,871.62 leaving a current surplus of £28,282.09.

An 8 day trial has been scheduled for 15-18 October and 22-25 October 2019. Estimated costs to defend myself are in the region of £100,000 – £150,000 and I plan to launch a further crowdfunder in Spring 2019.

 

20. March 2018 · Comments Off on Defamation 5 · Categories: Announcements, Defamation, Legal affairs

One year ago, on 20 March 2017, I was served with a summons by Wildcat Haven Enterprises CIC claiming that I had defamed them and seeking damages of £750,000 (now £810,000 with 8% interest) . The allegations relate to two blogs I published in September 2015 and February 2016.

For the past year, the pursuer and myself have been adjusting the pleadings and the defence. This process is now complete and a date for a hearing will hopefully be agreed by the Court of Session soon though the date itself may well be a year or more away.

Wildcat Haven Enterprises CIC claims that statements that I made in the two blogs are defamatory. I do not accept that they are. I cannot divulge the nature of those statements or the specific complaint being made since, to do so, would be to risk repeating the alleged defamation. The contents of the 28 page closed record of pleadings and answers will be available once the proof is underway.

The estimated duration of the hearing is 8 days. I will need around £120,000 to defend myself and will be launching a second crowdfunder at the beginning of May.

I am very grateful indeed to all those who donated to the first crowdfunder launched on 19 April 2017. In early May I will publish an audit of the accounts.

Finally, the Scottish Law Commission has published a Report and Draft Bill on defamation law. Reform is urgently needed and the Scottish Government has the opportunity to commit to bring forward legislation in the Programme for Government to be announced in September 2018. If no such plans are announced, I will consider bringing forward the SLC’s draft bill as a proposed members bill.

Previous updates on the case can be found here.