Mitchell Down Half a Million After Refusing Sun Settlement

plebgate-mitchell-sun

Andrew Mitchell’s lawyers are back in court again arguing over how much the former chief whip has to cough up after losing his libel case last year. It has emerged News Group made offer to Mitchell before the libel hearing, but Mitchell turned it down, costing him “at least £500,000” in costs.

Mr Justice Mitling says that because he failed to accept News Group’s offer he should be liable for their costs and those of PC Toby Rowland.

Ouch. 

Rotherham Labour MPs Sue UKIP’s Jane Collins For Libel

The loudest cheer at UKIP conference was for the party’s candidate in Rotherham, Jane Collins, who made a series of explosive allegations about several Labour MPs’ alleged involvement in the town’s child abuse scandal. Now Labour’s Rotherham MPs Sarah Champion, John Healey and Kevin Barron are suing her for libel and slander. Her speech had the journalists in the room choking on their coffees…

Reckless Crowdfunds Defence Against Tory Legal Action

“It is almost Christmas: a time for caring, reflection, and forgiveness,” Mark Reckless tells UKIP supporters in a mass email this afternoon, before asking for festive donations to fund his defence against the Tories’ “sour grapes” legal action against him:

“The fact that the Tories are bickering over £3,000 when we all know they may have a £78m election war chest put together by their secretive clubs, and dodgy donors shows that this is just another cynical attack on democracy, on UKIP, and on the British people. It’s time for us to stand up and fight back, don’t you think?”

Judging by UKIP’s recent online fundraising success, E-kippers will cover his costs in no time…

UPDATE: A local Tory association source points out: “Given Mark is a trained barrister and this is a small claims case, we rather assumed that, like us, he would be representing himself. We’re surprised he’s lawyering up.”

Torture ‘Lie’ Lawyers Unrepentant

The best course of action for Public Interest Lawyers, the firm condemned by the government for pursuing false claims that British troops tortured Iraqi detainees, would probably have been a swift apology. Instead, the last post on their Facebook page is a series of articles still insisting the torture claims were true, including an Indy article from October which promoted the now disproven case. Followers of the Public Interest Lawyers Facebook page then accused the firm of “deleting adverse comments” under the post. One asked last night “Any comment on today’s report??” while another replied “You are a disgrace and should hang your heads in shame”. For some reason there is nothing on the page about yesterday’s findings that the claims pursued by Public Interest Lawyers were “lies”. Funny that…

Tories to Sue Mark Reckless

The Tories aren’t letting this one go:

“The Rochester and Strood Constituency Conservative Association have lodged a claim against its former MP Mark Reckless to claw back thousands of pounds it spent on 2015 General Election campaigning literature before he defected to Ukip. Members of the association say Mr Reckless and his agent, Cllr Chris Irvine, who are both now Ukip members, were approving expenditure for campaign literature for next year’s general election, up to two days before Mr Reckless defected to Ukip Saturday, September 27. They say they had no alternative but to throw away the campaign leaflets.”

“Lawyer up, baldy.”

UPDATE:

WATCH: Peter Cook’s Jeremy Thorpe Acquittal Sketch

The night Jeremy Thorpe was acquitted of conspiracy to murder his alleged male lover in 1979, satirist Peter Cook delivered this sketch of Mr Justice Cantley’s summing up at the Secret Policeman’s Ball. Almost as if he thought there was an establishment cover up…

Labour Bury Crap Mini-Reshuffle on Big News Day

It’s taken almost two weeks for Labour to manage to appoint a new Attorney General:

It seems Labour were a little short of high-profiled learned Members in the Commons. Who eh? 

“William “Willy” Stephen Goulden Bach, Baron Bach (born 25 December 1946), is a British Labour member of the House of Lords and was a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Ministry of Justice from 2008 to 2010. Bach was educated at Westminster before going up to New College, Oxford (MA), after which, in 1972, he was called to the Bar. He worked as a barrister, was a local Councillor for Leicester, and became Head of Chambers at King Street Chambers in Leicester on the Midland Circuit in 1996. In 1998, Bach was raised to the peerage, as Baron Bach, of Lutterworth in the County of Leicestershire, where he lives.”

Tomorrow’s front page news, today…

Today in Court: Tory MPs Question Mitchell’s Account

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Andrew Mitchell’s former colleagues in the whips’ office do not believe his account of Plebgate, describing it as “extraordinary”, a court heard today. Tory MP John Randall claims “Mr Mitchell told me he could not recall what he said to the officer” in a whips meeting at the time. Michael Fabricant told the court of his reaction to seeing the former Chief Whip’s verbatim account of the incident at the gates of Downing Street in the Sunday Times“I found Mr Mitchell’s account surprising and somewhat amusing”. The court also heard evidence from protection officer Duncan Johnston, who recalled Mitchell refused to shake his hand the first time they met, instead telling him “you must be the hired muscle”. Johnston alleges Mitchell was “prone to temper tantrums” and was “verging on out of control”. Judgements are expected on Thursday. The case continues…

Today in Court: Plebgate Cops Describe “Mexican Stand Off”

plebgate-mitchell-sun

An “agitated” Andrew Mitchell called policemen “f**king plebs” in a “Mexican stand off” at the gates of Downing Street, it was claimed in court today. PC Toby Rowland claimed he threatened Mitchell with arrest because passers by could have been caused “distress” by his abusive language. Told by James Price QC that the allegations were an “invention” to justify the threat of arrest, PC Rowland insisted “all the evidence I’ve given is the truth…I have not written anything to cover my arse”.

Former No.10 officer PC Ian Richardson testified that he heard PC Rowland tell Mitchell “please don’t swear at me sir”, but did not take detailed notes because “I was eating my sandwiches and couldn’t be arsed to write too much more”. PC Richardson concluded: “At the time, it was just a quirky incident of a gentleman on a bicycle who had the hump”. The case continues…

Today in Court: “I Was Ill-Tempered” Says Mitchell But Top Tory Denies “Just F**king Plebs” Jibe

Andrew Mitchell told policemen at the Downing Street gates they were “just f**king plebs” who should “best know your f**king place”, a court heard today. Giving evidence against Mitchell, PC Toby Rowland claimed he did not know what the word “pleb” meant when the then Chief Whip allegedly called him one in September 2012. Rowland also told the court: “I didn’t have a clue who the Chief Whip was. I knew he’d changed recently. I needed to confirm who he was”. Describing Mitchell’s behaviour as “completely inappropriate and offensive”, Rowland insisted: “All my evidence has been the truth”.

Earlier, Mitchell concluded his evidence by admitting “I was ill-tempered” but “didn’t lose my temper”. He described as “completely wrong” suggestions he had changed his story, also insisting “I’ve always told the truth about this incident”. After leaving the gates that night, Mitchell phoned Bob Geldof and told him he had had a “row”. The following day Mitchell had two meetings with Craig Oliver, telling the court “He still is… [Downing Street Director of Communications]… I think”. He then had a telephone conversation with No. 10 Chief of Staff Ed Llewellyn, who informed him “Houston, we have a problem”. The case continues…

Today in Court: Former Tory Whips Will Testify Against Mitchell

Andrew Mitchell “could not recall” what he said to police officers at the gates of Downing Street, courtroom 13 at the Royal Courts of Justice heard today. That is what former Deputy Chief Whip John Randall and former whip Michael Fabricant will testify at the Plebgate libel trial, despite Mitchell providing a verbatim account of the incident to the Sunday Times and telling the court “I would never call a policeman a pleb let alone a f**king pleb”. Presented with their testimony, Mitchell responded: “They were not on my side. Mr Fabricant has campaigned against me through out this period”.

Desmond Browne QC, representing PC Toby Rowland, alleged that on another occasion Mitchell told a security officer he was “a little s**t”, and that he told a further officer “that’s a bit above your pay grade Mr Plod”. On the second allegation, Mitchell replied “it’s possible”. Asked if he sneered at officers that they had been “sunning themselves by the pool for four days”, again Mitchell admitted: “it’s possible”. In a witness statement, Bob Geldof said Mitchell is “no slouch” when it comes to swearing.

Gavin Millar QC, for News Group Newspapers, told the court “when The Sun published the story it was because it truly believed the account..to be true”. James Price QC, representing Mitchell, insisted he is an “innocent man”“not a snob”, “a good man” who is victim of “a web of lies, deceit and indiscipline”. The case continues…

#GayCakeGate Breaks Promise to Protect Religious Freedoms

Another day, another bonkers politically correct ruling from a taxpayer-funded quango. The Equality Commission, which is a public body paid for out of the public purse, is using its state-sponsored power to take legal action against a small, independent patisserie in Belfast because its Christian owners didn’t want to bake a cake. ‘Queerspace’ gay rights activist Gareth Lee asked the shop to make him the above cake, but was politely told by its religious owners the message was contrary to their beliefs. Rather than simply go to a different shop he called the equality police, who are now taking the Christian bakers to court.

What this comes down to is the state using taxpayers’ money to force a free citizen into forced labour against their will: that is a form of slavery. The shop owners did no harm to the gay rights activist – who could easily have taken his custom elsewhere – they merely expressed their right not to produce a message contrary to their religious beliefs. Gordon Ramsay kicked a customer out of his restaurant for asking for ketchup, will the Equality Commission be taking him to court for infringing the human rights of ketchup lovers? When the government passed gay marriage they vowed religious beliefs would be respected, instead the state is persecuting anyone who does not conform to their ‘progressive’ views…

MPs Debate Recall

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The recall debate is bringing forth the most self-serving blatantly anti-democratic arguments. Liberal Democrat David Heath being one of those arguing that voters should not be able to sack MPs. Sitting next to him (still on the LibDem benches) is Mike Hancock, thrown out of his party as an embarrassment after admitting sexual impropriety with a vulnerable constituent who has mental health issues. Yet the voters can’t throw him out even if his party can expel him. He just shamelessly sits there counting the money until election day…

Mike Hancock opposes real recall for MPs. Of course he does… 

Judge Bins Much Mitchell Evidence

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Over at the Royal Courts of Justice the judge – Mr Justice Warby – ruled that 9 of Mitchell’s 16 previous incidents with police officers were admissible as evidence. A blow to Mitchell who tried to block the evidence being put before the Court. It got worse for Mitchell, he also banned the former Chief Whip from discussing “reputational damage, hurt feelings and the effect generally on Mr Mitchell of the Plebgate affair” at the upcoming trial.

Mr Justice Warby said evidence from Mitchell’s chums; Lord Coe, Sir Richard Ottaway MP and others expressing doubt Mr Mitchell would ever use the word ’pleb’, would be permitted. Submissions about Metropolitan Police officers creating fake witnesses were refused.

Mitchell will give evidence first, and the trial of the preliminary issues in the case is set for 17 November. Having switched lawyers word has it that Mitchell is directing his new lawyers closely…

Meanwhile Over in High Court 24

plebgate-mitchell-sun

COURT 24

Before MR JUSTICE MITTING

Thursday, 16th October 2014

At half past 10 Jury List

APPLICATION NOTICE

TLJ/14/0554 Mitchell v News Group Newspapers Ltd

TLJ/14/0554 Rowland v Mitchell

Another round in the £1 million Plebgate legal skirmishes which are making the lawyers rich.

The latter application is a damages claim by Police Federation backed police officer Toby Rowland against former chief whip Andrew Mitchell…

MailOnline Breaks Judge’s Libor Gagging Order

“Banker admits rate rigging – but you can’t know where he works” reports MailOnline this morning, explaining that the identity of a top City employee facing ten years behind bars “is protected by a court order”. The story is accompanied by a blurred photo of the banker in question. Right click on the image and look at its properties, however, and the world’s most read newspaper website has inadvertently named the Libor rigger. Guido has blurred the name out:

Judge Leonard QC will not be amused…

Loverson Lawyer Sherborne Off Mitchell Case

Andrew Mitchell is no longer employing the services of his celebrity barrister David Sherborne. Sherborne, who hit the headlines over his romantic Greek holiday with a fellow Leveson lawyer, had previously been punished by High Court judge Master Victoria McCloud for a bizarre legal screw up in which he failed to submit paperwork for the Mitchell case on time. Now his services are no longer required…

Met Hack Phone of Sun Journalist

The Operation Alice report revealed that The Sun’s political editor Tom Newton Dunn refused to co-operate with officers, even though he was himself threatened with arrest for aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office. Journalists are protected under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights from having to reveal their sources and Tom Newton Dunn knew his rights. So the Met legally hacked his phones. The Met report into Plebgate states:

“On Thursday, 31 January 2013, PC James Glanville was arrested on suspicion of committing the offences of misconduct in a public office and perverting the course of justice. His arrest came about as the result of the initial analysis of the mobile telephone records from the Sun political editor, Mr Tom Newton Dunn, which showed a series of contacts by text and voice calls between the two over several days.”

Welcome to Britain in 2014, where the coppers access journalists phones to sniff out leaks from within their own ranks.

According to the Guardian:

“If police are seeking journalistic material, including information about confidential sources, they should use the procedures laid down by Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) which provide article 10 compliant safeguards to ensure that sources are properly protected. It is alarming that in this case the police appear to have used other powers which do not have those safeguards and are not intended for use in these circumstances,” said Keith Mathieson, partner at law firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain. Under PACE, police are required to go to court to ask a judge’s permission to get records belonging to a journalist. Journalists are then notified to enable them to attend court to formally resist disclosure to a third party. On this occasion this did not happen.”

Guido’s learned lunch partner spots a hole: By making Tom Newton Dunn a suspect, which the Met’s report into Operation Alice admits they did, the coppers could bypass having to alert him. Sun sources tell the Guardian they are consulting lawyers. A fight between Murdoch and the Met over accessing phones? Play it again, Sam.

Meanwhile Over at the High Court

COURT 12

MR JUSTICE WARBY

Wednesday, 20th August 2014

At 2 o’clock

FOR JUDGMENT

TLJ14/0733 Tim Yeo MP v Times Newspapers Ltd

UPDATE:

If Guido understands the ruling correctly, Tim Yeo has won the right to not have his libel claim held before a jury. Has Magna Carta not suffered enough?

EHRC: All Women Shortlists Are Unlawful

The Equalities and Human Right’s Commission has ruled that All Women Shortlists are illegal. To very little attention, the EHRC today published guidance on the equalities legislation around which appointments to boards must be made. It says very clearly on page 10:

“We do not believe that it is lawful to address under-representation by longlisting or shortlisting only female candidates to the detriment of male candidates” 

Though the context was the private sector, it could not be clearer about the legality of the issue.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Tory MP Nick Boles says what everyone thinks…

“There is a timidity and lack of ambition about Mrs May’s Government which means it constantly disappoints. Time to raise your game, Prime Minister.”

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