No M’Lord

The FT may have lost a High Court battle to print the Northern Rock investment memo, Gordon somewhat pathetically at PMQs claimed it was “commercially sensitive” information to get him off the hook discussing it. Vince Cable lashed into him when he made that “absolutely bogus” claim. £24 billion of taxpayers money on a bail-out is a legitimate matter of public interest.

It is definitely not secret any more. Guido told you 4 hours ago where it could be found online in the U.S., it is as of now the top Google search result for Northern Rock Summary. You can’t keep politically expedient secrets in an open source world…

UPDATE : Our old friends Schillings are at it again. No Pasaran!

Geek Note : Service Interruption Possible

Guido is doing a full dress-rehearsal of his host mirroring system today. There should be no noticeable interruption to the blog. The Californian server’s 70 megabytes of contents were mirrored on a back-up server in an entirely different legal jurisdiction yesterday.

The intention is to switch servers seamlessly, see how it performs under the traffic load, then switch back to California – without losing a single comment. Isn’t technology wonderful?

So anyone thinking of wielding a legal hammer, better get a bigger hammer.

How to Tell If Tony Wright Has Been Nobbled

Today is the first hearing of the Public Administration Select Committee into Propriety and Honours: Lessons Learned. At 3.00 pm oral evidence will be taken from: AC John Yates, Metropolitan Police, Carmen Dowd, Head of Special Crime Division, CPS and David Perry QC.

This is only the first hearing, we are told there will be others.

Tony Wright chairs the committee and is being criticised for selecting the terms of reference to avoid investigating the actual allegations. He no doubt would argue that was the job of the police.

However, if at a subsequent hearing he does not call Lord Levy to answer questions, you can safely assume he has been nobbled. Arguably Blair and Ruth Turner should also be called to explain themselves.

Guido has also seen a copy of a letter sent to Tony Wright by a witness making specific allegations about being offered honours in return for donations to the Labour party. The letter specifies who made the offer, the figures discussed, as well as naming the Labour party operators involved when they were introduced to Tony Blair. The witness states in the letter that they are bemused at the lack of a prosecution. The witness also states in their letter to Tony Wright (copied to all members of the Committee) that they are willing to testify to the Committee. If that witness is not called Tony Wright has been nobbled.

To the hundreds who have pledged publicly (and privately) to financially support a private prosecution and have been wondering what has been going on, rest assured preparations have been made, legal soundings have been taken and we are waiting to see what comes out of these hearings.

You will also remember that after the dropping by the CPS of the case, the briefings in the papers by “friends” of Levy and Ruth Turner that they would be taking legal action against those who made the accusations. Nobody has received a writ. They have gone very quiet.

Private Prosecution Fund Update

As of now 145 people on the PledgeBank website have indicated they want to financially support a private prosecution. You can also pledge via Facebook and even text ‘pledge cash4prosecution‘ to 60022 from your mobile phone. Old fashioned email works as well.

If you can help with this project contact Guido ASAP.

Surge of Net-Roots Support for a Private Prosecution

Since yesterday pledges of support for a private prosecution have come in thick and fast on the main PledgeBank website and a few via Facebook. You can even text ‘pledge cash4prosecution‘ to 60022 from your mobile phone. One substantial financial pledge via email will hopefully not be the last.

At this preliminary stage the intention is to convene a legal conference before the end of the month and go through the issues and examine the possible approaches including the establishment of a vehicle with a legally qualified advisory committee.

Guido is keenly aware of potential hurdles and risks. Surely the Attorney General will not be able to argue that the public interest is best served by turning a blind eye to what was manifestly an attempt to circumvent the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 Act? How will the public interest be harmed by testing in a court before a jury the legality of the Loans for Lordships scheme?

One example will give you a flavour of the Loans for Lordships scheme – Gulam Noon has publicly stated that he made a £250,000 donation to the Labour party, which he correctly submitted (via Downing Street) on his vetting papers for the House of Lords Appointments Commission. Two days later on October 5, 2005 Lord Levy, Gulam Noon reportedly claims, telephoned him and referred to the £250,000 donation as a “loan” which need not be disclosed on his vetting papers. The Levy-intercepted and revised vetting papers were submitted to the House of Lords Appointments Commission, now without mention of the £250,000 “loan” / donation. When the Commission independently discovered the existence of the “loan” / donation they blocked the peerage – as presumably Lord Levy knew they would – why else would he intervene in the process? What was the Labour party’s chief fundraiser doing intervening in the honours process anyway? Prima facie there is a case to answer. If the CPS won’t bring it, they should at least not attempt to block others from doing so.

UPDATE : The first target of one hundred people making pledges of financial support for a private prosecution has been met in less than 24 hours.

Private Prosecution : Pledge Support

Graphic courtesy of Beau Bo D’Or

Guido has been in discussion with some of m’learned friends after a careful reading of the CPS statement. The CPS has decided on a bar set very high to justify not prosecuting under the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925 (‘the 1925 Act’).

The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act, 2000 (‘the 2000 Act’) was dealt with far too perfunctorily in the CPS statement. More than one legal authority consulted by Guido thinks that there are avenues open to a private prosecution via the 2000 Act which have the advantage of not requiring the proving of a conspiracy.

The weakest part of the CPS statement is point 30:

In relation to possible breaches of the 2000 Act, we are satisfied that we cannot exclude the possibility that any loans made – all of which were made following receipt by the Labour Party of legal advice – can properly be characterised as commercial.

There are a number of related suspected offences under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 governing the evasion of restrictions on donations which provide a firm and clear basis for action. Crucially, a prosecution on this basis would avoid the difficulties of having to prove a conspiracy. It would also have the advantage that there are statements from donors already in the public domain which, contrary to the stated view of the CPS, exclude the possibility that the loans were made, or intended to be made, on a commercial basis.

The attempt by Levy et al to portray themselves as the victims of an over zealous policeman are contemptible. They deliberately subverted the law in a secret attempt to cover up donations made by persons they later put forward for honours. A fact they deliberately and disingenuously hid from House of Lords Appointment Committee. If you want to see justice done and the law upheld, pledge your support for a private prosecution here.

BBC – Criminal Conspiracy?

If BBC staff knowingly deceived viewers into believing that they could win a prize by calling a premium rate phone number when they knew they could not, isn’t that a conspiracy to defraud?

What do m’learned friends think?

Do You Know Now?

Just in from the Court:

A Metropolitan police security officer, Chris Ham, 21, told the high court in London today that Mr Jones, the MP for Clwyd South for 20 years, swore at him after he “politely” asked to see his pass at Portcullis House in Westminster. Mr Ham, who said he had never seen Mr Jones before the incident, described the outburst as having left him “shocked and flustered”.

Giving evidence on behalf of Mail on Sunday publisher Associated Newspapers, Mr Ham said: “His immediate response was to tell me to fuck off and that he was a member of parliament. I again asked politely, persisted. His second response was ‘Fuck off, you should know who I am, you don’t have the right to question me, you are only security.'”


Who is fucked now?

Who are Ruth Turner’s Solicitors?

Just chasing up something, having difficulty finding out the name of the firm representing poor Ruth. Do any of you many loafing lawyers happen to know?

+ READ MORE +

McTernan Documentation

The Law Report for Attorney-General v British Broadcasting Corporation contains a little nugget Guido hadn’t noticed before. The three categories of documentation identified were:
A Material relating to policy strategy in conducting their future investigations. As to that, the judge said that the real concern of the police was that they wished to put the document to several individuals who might be suspects.
[…]

+ READ MORE +

Levy On the Edge

It was a year ago that Guido said Levy would be charged (and started taking bets) it has taken the press and the Lobby a long time to fully come around to Guido’s way of thinking.

The Indy reckons Levy ‘feels let down and is about to turn on the Labour Party, the Sunday Times says Blair aides ‘plotted’ to foil police.

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Sleazy Levy Complains of “Trial by Media”

Levy’s lawyers have just released a statement complaining, wait for it, of “trial by media”.

Well perhaps he should stop ringing up political editors and briefing them in that case? All those unnamed “friends” quoted in the press are him, briefing…

UPDATE : 13:30 The Metropolitan Police have released a statement effectively accusing the Guardian of undermining their case.

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

[…]

+ READ MORE +

++ INJUNCTION ++

Contrary to rumour, Guido has not been injuncted. He has been on the piss.

The email is news to the BBC, not readers of this blog.

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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