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.
Thank you to all who have donated to my crowdfunder. I have just worked out how to download donor details and will be emailing you all directly within the next few days.
It is now evidence that these proceedings are highly likely to proceed to a proof before the Court of Session lasting around 8 days. Accordingly, the costs are now estimated in the region of £150,000. If I win, I can anticipate recouping around 60% of this (£90,000). If I lose (even on a very minor defamation), I will be due to pay all of these costs plus very possibly those of the pursuer. In that latter event I will certainly be bankrupt.
I am setting a stretch target of £50,000 for the remainder of this crowdfunder (until min-June) and will then probably launch another one later in 2017. My defences have to be lodged by Friday 5 May. I will publish further updates as maters proceed.
The crowdfunder together with an explanation of what the funds are to be sued for can be found at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/awdefamation
At 5.30pm on Wednesday 19th April 2017 I launched a Crowdfunder campaign to raise an initial sum of £10,000 to help cover legal expenses to be incurred if my pursuer decides to call the defamation action outlined in its summons of 21 March. Within 24 hours, I had achieved my target and earlier this evening (20 April), the funds raised stood at over £23,000. I am extremely grateful to all those who have contributed.
Earlier today, I also received notice that the case had been called in the Court of Session. It is on the Court Rolls and court proceedings are now underway. I continue to deny the allegations and will be defending the action.
Previous posts on this topic can be read by clicking on the <Defamation> Category of this blog.