The Nadine Dorries legal action – something odd


12:35 pm - September 8th 2009

by Sunny Hundal    


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It comes as no surprise that Westminster journalists have faithfully repeated whatever gets published on Guido Fawkes, but there’s a few odd things about Nadine Dorries’ legal action against Derek Draper and Damian McBride.

For a start, here’s a statement by Draper to the Telegraph.

[edited]

So I’d like this cleared up.

Given that private correspondence between McBride and Draper was not published anywhere until Staines leaked it – surely he is the one who should be the target of libel? He published them on his blog didn’t he? Even the News of the World did not want to do so for legal reasons.

And yet here we have embarrassingly sycophantic behaviour from Paul Staines and Harry Cole – doing odd-jobs on behalf of Nadine Dorries – but not actually revealing much. On what basis are they suing? More importantly, who is the legal firm working on their behalf? Is it their friend Donal Blaney? That would make it very convenient. Also amusing that a self-proclaimed libertarian blogger is now handing out lawsuits given he constantly complains about how restrictive our libel laws are. That too on behalf of a Tory MP. Thought they were all snouts in a trough?

Update: Paul Staines says below:

Who ever said there was a writ?

He did (though he quickly deleted his own Tweet). Caught with his pants down.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


Oh dear.

EPIC IAIN DALE!

Facts:

Who ever said there was a writ? Libel writs don’t exist anymore. Doh!

Where did a single email appear on my blog?

I am not going to comment further on the case since I am rather too intimately involved on a number of levels.

Though I will say this; I love Nadine and the way she winds you lot up, I also loved the look on Damian McBride’s face.

Carry on writing fact-free rubbish.

Golly, this does raise some very interesting questions.

Such as….where does Mr Staines get his money from, to be able to run such a big blog? We know he claims he gets enough from advertising revenues but….

(h/t to Bloggerheads passim)

“Carry on writing fact-free rubbish.”

Pot!

Kettle!

Black!

Given that private correspondence between McBride and Draper was not published anywhere until Staines leaked it – surely he is the one who should be the target of libel? He published them on his blog didn’t he? Even the News of the World did not want to do so for legal reasons.

As I said on the other thread, private correspondence is sufficient publication for a libel action (there’s precedent specifically on point).

As Guido says above there ain’t no writs no more (not since the Woolf reforms), so what would have been delivered was presumably a letter before action. Next step would be a claim form. And Derek is probably wrong too in saying that he never passed the emails on and thus never published the potentially defamatory contents. He famously replied to McBride (“This is absolutely totally brilliant Damien!”), and if that reply sat on top of the email he had just received (as presumably it would have done) then it may well count as a re-publication of the contents. From a legal perspective this should be a very interesting case. Does replying to a defamatory email repeat the libel for example?

On what basis are they suing? More importantly, who is the legal firm working on their behalf?

Well, libel obviously. McBride/Draper published untrue statements that lowered the public standing of Nadine Dorries. Accusations of adultery are, unsurprisingly, prima facie defamatory. And, given that MPs have a fund set aside for fighting libel actions, I’d have thought that she’d have used a London libel firm. Herbies? Mishcon? Carter-Ruck?

Oh, and comment 6 is probably on the border-line between libel and vulgar abuse.

Isn’t there an element of intent in these cases? Take the bombers convicted yesterday. They hadn’t actually killed anyone, but were convicted becuase they intended to.

Can you sue for intent to libel? I don’t know – perhaps we have any lawyers on here who might know.

8 – not unless it’s a criminal libel. Libel is a tort, so you have to demonstrate the wrong that has been done to you. If the libel was never published, then there was no libel (but see above for just how broad “publish” is).

“Though I will say this; I love Nadine and the way she winds you lot up, I also loved the look on Damian McBride’s face.”

I see —

So, winding up lefties is more important than opposing political dishonesty? Fair enough, I suppose; can’t remember anyone round here supporting Damian McBride ‘cos he “w[ound] you lot up“. Different standards, maybe…

Stains is indeed fat, and a drunk. So that’s accurate.
He’s also a twat, but as that’s my opinion that is surely no more than my opinion, and not an expression of fact.
I wish he’d go away.
Once a Tory, always a Tory

If I was either Damian McBride or Derek Draper, I would seek a disclosure order forcing Nadine Dorries to reveal who the Tory hacker was.

As Sunny has pointed out, Paul Staines by hawking the emails to the papers is acting as a publisher.

11. Donut Hinge Party

Speaking of libel, has anyone else heard the rumours about Glenn Beck killing a teenage girl in the 80’s?

As far as I know, he’s yet to deny it.

[edited]

Donut:

Yes, I have heard those rumours about Glenn Beck killing a teenage girl from a mate in Washington DC and regards to your second comment are you saying that Nadine Dorries had an affiar?

John B:

Her standing is fairly low so…

I’d have thought that she’d have used a London libel firm. Herbies? Mishcon? Carter-Ruck?

You’d think that wouldn’t you Tim J? Except I don’t think that is the case. Perhaps Guido Fawkes could let us know which law firm is involved so we could ask them? I’d want this cleared up for the sake of law relating to bloggers. As we all know, there’s quite a lot of people issuing legal threats these days. The fact that supposedly libertarian bloggers are doing that for Tory MPs is, I’m sure, entirely coincidental.

Guido: Who ever said there was a writ? Libel writs don’t exist anymore. Doh!

The Guardian:

The former Downing Street spin doctor Damian McBride has been issued with a libel writ by the Tory MP Nadine Dorries.

The Telegraph:

Miss Dorries said in April that she intended to sue for libel and on Monday morning two prominent political bloggers served legal papers – known as letters before action – to Mr McBride and Mr Draper on her behalf.

So what’s true in the press Guido? Which legal firm is involved?

“Speaking of libel, has anyone else heard the rumours about Glenn Beck killing a teenage girl in the 80’s?”

I think you’re confusing him with the late Teddy Kennedy.

“Who ever said there was a writ?”

Well someone claiming to be you on your blog claimed to have served “official court papers”.

Obviously you were hacked.

The Orator: an independent voice of reason speaking truth to power

HA HA HA!

Seriously, that is the funniest stuff I’ve read in a LONG time.

Pompous comedy gold.

Brilliant, Hannibal. Perceptive as ever, when it comes to irony, eh?

*cough*

We know Hannibal, that’s the point of it…

*sigh*

No, the point is you make the allegation and some numb nut leftist fails to do his own googling to see it’s a vile lie. The insinuation lives on as second hand rumour. I have no faith in the ability of readers of this and other Trot Blogs to sift truth from innuendo.

No doubt now someone will make it my fault by accusing me of being humourless and po-faced.

these right-wingers really are humourless and po-faced aren’t they?

As if by clockwork…

This may well be within the law, but it doesn’t make it right. If McBride and Draper were actually successfully sued in this action the precedent would be absolutely terrifying – worse than the Simon Singh case. Worse than the Liskula Cohen case. Potentially it would mean you could start taking speculative legal action against anyone who have reason to believe has written a potentially defamatory email about you – after all, whatever Draper and McBride may have been up to, they certainly never intended their private emails to be more widely published.

If this is Paul Staines’ one shot at posterity, it’s a pretty lamentable one.

Still, who cares if Damian McBride spilled his pint once?

Hannibal: “Beck isn’t smearing, he’s speaking without fear having questioned boldly whilst holding to the truth.”

I know you deleted it but I had to put it up here for a laugh…

HA HA HA!

Amazingly mad stuff.

Can we get back to the topic without talking about that deranged lunatic Glenn Beck?

James – very good point. Guido Fawkes of course gives plenty of lip about how he hates our libel laws…

Another good point by Anton Vowl on Twitter – is the taxpayer footing the bill for this libel action? Or is Donal Blaney et al (if it’s them) doing this pro bono?

Remarkably, no one saying who is behind the libel action…

27. Donut Hinge Party

[edited]

[edited]

17 – Sunny, the Guardian are wrong I’m afraid. Writs don’t exist any more. Firstly, a letter before action will have been served, in which the potential claimants set out their claim in informal style, and either identify what action they want taken (ie: an apology, a payment of money, or other specific action) or just ask that the other side contacts them to discuss.

After that has been delivered – and there is no reason for it to be officially ‘served’ – the next step is to issue a claim form. This is lodged with the court and served on the defendants, who then have a certain time to acknowledge it and prepare a defence (28 days, fact fans!).

What was delivered yesterday could either have been the letter before action or the claim form, probably the former. Writs just don’t exist any more, it’s a lazy Guardian journo who last did his legal homework a decade ago.

And why does it matter which firm is involved? At this stage of proceedings a solicitor’s input is pretty minimal really.

28 – it would set no precedent one way or the other. The issue here is that damage has been caused to an MP’s reputation. The prime cause of that damage was a defamatory statement originally made privately that subsequently became public knowledge. That’s very well-established law. If the emails had never become public they would still have been libellous but, as no-one would have known, no damage would have resulted.

Remarkably, no one saying who is behind the libel action…

Eh? I thought everyone was saying Nadine Dorries was?

33 – well that’s rather the point of the case isn’t it? An accusation of adultery is prima facie defamatory.

The question of whether the emails are defamatory actually looks rather open-and-shut. They almost certainly were, and there almost certainly aren’t any defences.

I maintain that the oddest thing about this case is that anyone cares.

*subscribes to comments*

Jimmy, wrong. Draper, wrong. Telegraph, wrong. Sunny, wrong. The sheer amount of moonbattery here based on insufficient information and a lack of even basic ability to use Google is breathtaking.

And what damage has been done to Dorries’ reputation anyway? It has ONLY ever been reported in the context of these emails and with the disclaimer that they are unsubstantiated rumours

I agree. And I’d be surprised if damages amount to very much – rather like when Naomi Campbell was awarded damages of £1. It’ll be the legal costs that hurt. Oh, look. The lawyers win again.

The only person I’ve ever seen damage Dorries’ reputation is one Nadine Dorries.

cf. libel victories by Robert Maxwell and George Galloway.

There’s a long tradition of spurious libel actions in the British media, this is the latest one…

Tell us Guido – which legal firm is behind this case? Who is representing Nadine Dorries? Or is the taxpayer funding this?

I also wonder if those people across the blogosphere who cheer on Guido for his supposedly libertarian leanings, while criticising libel laws themselves, will say anything now. I suspect not.

The thing that most surprises me about this post is that no right-winger has accused anyone of supporting Draper & McBride yet…

The thing about maybe replying to an e-mail with text still below it having the potential to repeat a libel is downright bizarre. Suppose Draper had hit reply all and responded: “This is wrong and I don’t want any part of it”. Are people saying that could’ve been libellous? The law is out of control, I tell you.

Suppose Draper had hit reply all and responded: “This is wrong and I don’t want any part of it”. Are people saying that could’ve been libellous?

Well, yes. Strikes me, cynically speaking, that it would otherwise be an excellent way to spread damaging rumours – given that it’s effectively ‘I don’t believe a word of this, but have you heard the utterly false rumour about X and the donkey?’

Judges tend to have more common sense than they’re given credit for, I find.

“Jimmy, wrong.”

How so?

[edited]

41. Donut Hinge Party

[edited]

The thing about maybe replying to an e-mail with text still below it having the potential to repeat a libel is downright bizarre. Suppose Draper had hit reply all and responded: “This is wrong and I don’t want any part of it”. Are people saying that could’ve been libellous? The law is out of control, I tell you.

Yes, this could clearly be libellous. As could “I don’t believe the rumour that…” as both examples do actually repeat the (potential) libel.

#46 and #49

If it was being sent to new people, yes. But if it’s a “reply all” thing where it’s only being sent to people who’ve already received it, or a reply to the person who originally sent it, I can’t see how that would be the case.

[edited]

[edited]

It sounds odd, but every time a libel is repeated, whether or not it’s to people who already heard it (or even started it) it counts as a publication. In theory, if someone dictated a libellous letter to his secretary and she read it back to him, both of them would (probably – I don’t think there’s a case directly on point) have ‘published’ the libel.

‘Published’ is remarkably broad. Sending someone a private letter, even if they don’t read it, counts as publishing a libel. Ridiculous, but that’s the law.

“You’re not very reliable are you. ”

That’s unfair. Guido has frequently regaled his acolytes with stories of imminent proceedings against Labour Party figures. His track record so far is entirely consistent.

“Tell us Guido – which legal firm is behind this case? Who is representing Nadine Dorries? Or is the taxpayer funding this?”

I’m puzzled as to why that interests you Sunny? Okay, if it’s taxpayer funded – yes/no – that’s clearly of interest, but why does it matter which firm is on it? What’s the big deal there?

“I also wonder if those people across the blogosphere who cheer on Guido for his supposedly libertarian leanings, while criticising libel laws themselves, will say anything now. I suspect not.”

Here’s what I think – I disagree with British libel laws, I’d like to see them more or less torn down. I suspect – but i don’t know – that Guido feels the same way. However, I reckon he’s playing a small part in this affair not because he’s keen to help, keen to participate, keen to supress rumours, keen to fill lawyers pockets, but because it’s *funny*, because it annoys Labour, and because once you have ground your enemies beneath your chariot wheels, it’s fundamentally satisfying to get really bloody vicious, follow it through ruthlessly, and rub piss-soaked salt into the wounds.

Of course, you’d need to ask Guido. But it’s what I would do.

Well, yes I can imagine that you would go against your own self-proclaimed principles just to make an immature point Frank Fisher. But some of us are genuinely annoyed about the libel laws and have participated in briefings to change them.
This is just an example of Guido’s hypocrisy. Thanks for pointing that out.

BTW on “publishing” I think Tim J is right – in criminal law “publishing” and “distributing” now includes simply *reading* “unlawful” content in a browser, as this invloves making a copy to your own hard drive.

Again, an instance where the libel laws are clearly wrong – hitting “reply” and saying “Don’t send me this crap again” should never be counted as repeating a libel; it’s plainly wrong.

51. Donut Hinge Party

[edited]

[edited]

In order to claim for defamation you could not initiate a fishing case on a speculative basis. You would need to allege there was specific defamatory content because one of the requirements is that you aver that there is something that is defamatory. That comment would need to be specified. The risk of a court allowing a fishing case to be used to justify a hunt for defamatory comments is minimal.

As for the point regarding an e-mail not being intended for a wide audience. True – but the key element is the comment, not the extent of the intended audience. Publication is at heart communication of the disparaging statement to a person other than the person defamed. In old cases this extended as widely as dictating a statement to a secretary.

The law on defamation always used to be that every participant in the publication incurred liability (hence the actions/threats against ISPs regarding blogs). Where stands intentional leaking of contents of a defamatory e-mail?

53. Donut Hinge Party

“it’s fundamentally satisfying to get really bloody vicious, follow it through ruthlessly, and rub piss-soaked salt into the wounds.”

You’ve been at your ‘specialist’ videos again, haven’t you, Frank?

“once you have ground your enemies beneath your chariot wheels, it’s fundamentally satisfying to get really bloody vicious, follow it through ruthlessly, and rub piss-soaked salt into the wounds.”

In cinemas now: A Frank Fisher Movie, Starring Russell Crowe as Paul Staines, Angelina Jolie as Nadine Dorries…

“Angelina Jolie as Nadine Dorries…”

Margi Clarke surely. Or Paul O’Grady.

Let’s vote Labour because it pisses off Wingnuts!

Oh, no, that would be *childish*.

57. Donut Hinge Party

#60. Well, yeah, it would. But given a choice between a man who’ll cut off one of my bollocks or both of them, I’ll go for the single testiclectomist, thanks.

@59: also, Rick Moranis has retired.

Frank, actually as Damian well knows, the point is “To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women.”

Were not these e-mails available to all under the freedom of information act and are therefore published for all who know of their existance.

[edited]

64 – Roy

Were not these e-mails available to all under the freedom of information act and are therefore published for all who know of their existance.

Hell fire! If that is the case then all whom have read are liable for a libel suit/writ/letter – the cost over-run on this is getting way out of hand.

Hell fire! If that is the case then all whom have read are liable for a libel suit/writ/letter – the cost over-run on this is getting way out of hand.

This is technically true of all libel claims. Every time a newspaper is sued for libel, all the newsagents who sold the paper are technically liable for the same claim. It’s just that claimant’s don’t usually bother suing them. Since it is now the case that the act of reading an article online is ‘publishing’ every reader of the article has ‘published’ it. Don’t expect the claim forms to come flooding in…

I’m also a little disturbed by this fascination with who the lawyers are. If this is about someone potentially using taxpayer funded lawyers to bring a libel case, then that is an issue, but who the lawyers are should be of no relevance. They are merely acting for the client, whether said client is a friend, stranger or fuckbuddy doesn’t matter (except perhaps to the court if a conflict of interest is claimed).

The day people start attacking lawyers for acting on behalf of a client (in fact this already happens)* a little bit of liberty dies.

*An example of this is the press attacking barristers who represent odious criminals like Huntley and Shipman. This is deeply anti-liberal, as we should all be entitled to representation and the representative needs to be free to act. Where possible, the client should be able to choose their own lawyer, if that means they are more likely to have faith in justice being served.

“Frank, actually as Damian well knows, the point is “To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women.””

Well of course Guido, but quite a few of them don’t seem to have any women – and you can’t let them off a stage, just for that.

@Sunny, exacting vengeance on Labour Party apparatchiks may seem immature to you; to those of use who feel that party has played a key role in wrecking this country, it does seem to be something worth bending a few principles for. And gleefully watching a libel process – even if it doesn’t follow through – doesn’t seem to be bending a principle mightily, no more than voting even though you might dissaprove of the voting system.

Not that I was aware you had any principles? I thought you’d bought into this realpolitik lark wholesale, or do you just dance on the grave of immolated Afghans for fun? How’s it going, the liberal warmongering business? Profitable, is it?

Similar point @sally above actually – the wars you mention were started by the UK, we’re told, as “liberal” interventions. Many of us on the Right opposed Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. Not because we’re pacifists, but because they’re not our wars.

[edited]

Surprise surprise Tim – our friend Guido Fawkes has now deleted that Tweet. Caught out with his pants down again, he’s trying to scrub out history.

Isn’t there a website that collected deleted tweets?

Oh, still waiting for you to tell us which legal firm you were acting on behalf of Paul Staines.

[edited]

Oh, still waiting for you to tell us which legal firm you were acting on behalf of Paul Staines.

I still don’t see why this matters. In fact, if all that has been delivered is a pre-action letter, there’s no reason for a law firm to have been instructed at all yet. If and when a claim is issued, then it’s time to make sure you have full representation, but there won’t have been much leg work needed so far.

It’ll be saved, briefly, under search terms: Nadine Dorries, Labourdoorstep or whatever.

[Yeah, put in #Labourdoorstep.]

Not sure what the relevance of law firms is, though. For me, it’s just a case of – as Henry Kissinger didn’t say – can’t they all get locked in a cupboard? An idle curiosity.

The Fat Drunk deleting evidence?

SAY IT AIN’T SO!

Hahahaha! He talks tough, but Paul Staines is 99% front and chock-full of sewage.

Paul Staines’ tweet declaring the delivery or “writs” can still be seen via this search…
http://twitter.com/search?q=guidofawkes+Labourdoorstep

… and here’s a screen capture for the archives:
http://www.bloggerheads.com/images/lying-twit-tweets-WRIT.gif

(Just imagine the big deal Paul Staines would make of someone trying to delete evidence rather than discuss the issue. What a hypocrite.)

NOOOO!

Evidence to boot Tim, I’m gutted to be truthful…

Frank troll “to those of use who feel that party has played a key role in wrecking this country, “

Mad as a hatter.

Frank troll “Similar point @sally above actually – the wars you mention were started by the UK, we’re told, as “liberal” interventions. Many of us on the Right opposed Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. Not because we’re pacifists, but because they’re not our wars”

You really are completely insane. The Iraq war was started by GW Bush. The fact that you don’t understand this shows that you are not be taken seriously on anything.

[edited]

Oh dear. So we’ve now caught Guido Fawkes being contradicted by himself. Isn’t that a shame?

I’ll explain the relevance of the law firm once Paul Staines confirms it.

Poor chap, sometimes I feel sorry for him, you know, being that deluded.

But then I remember he is a right cunt.

No wonder Guido does not want to talk about it any more. He is too busy deleting things off his site.

As I said at the top of this thread, he has made a complete tit of himself. Nothing new there of course , but funny all the same.

If Paul Staines remains true to form, if he ever mentions this again, it will be his version of events hosted on his site (where he controls what gets published in comments, and can hide behind a barrage of anonymous abuse if he ever looks like coming off second-best).

S.O.P. for him and everyone else in his little gang of right-wing thugs.

Tim – 81 link, deleted.

You are right there Tim.

He has an army of pin heads to help him. Some of them come on here to defend their great white dope.

The stupid…………. it burns.

“Tim – 81 link, deleted.”

Hahahahahahaha! Oh dear, not that one too. What a memory-holing pillock.

What a pity that his Tory sidekick RTed it:
http://twitter.com/torybear/statuses/3844452423

(EDIT: What a pity it wasn’t this easy to get him to delete repeated false claims that he published about my being a secret/paid agent of Tom Watson, Downing St, Zanu LieBore, etc.)

[edited]

Regardless of who said there was or wasn’t a writ, there wasn’t and there can’t have been because the sodding things don’t bloody exist any more. Jebus.

… and here he is now playing the ‘obsessive’ card for the benefit of his Tory mates:
http://twitter.com/guidofawkes/status/3844001951

Textbook. What a loser.

[edited]

TJ

Sunny said there was a writ (see above) but he hasn’t corrected it. Tsk tsk.

#89

“Facts: Who ever said there was a writ? Libel writs don’t exist anymore. Doh!”

Who said it? Who could it be?

Tim J – I don’t know who could have given the media the impression there was a writ. It really escapes me right now. I’m sure it’ll come back to me later.

And perhaps Paul Staines will point out who the legal firm is behind Nadine Dorries. Funnily enough he refuses to do that too…

Why DOES it matter who is representing Dorries? One good reason? Or even a bad one?

And if she was libelled at public expense, why shouldn’t she defend her reputation (such as it is) at public expense?

I don’t like Dorries at all, but Draper and McBride are the real shits in this affair.

Sunny H @92:”And perhaps Paul Staines will point out who the legal firm is behind Nadine Dorries. Funnily enough he refuses to do that too…”

Let’s discuss this hypothetically, about a case where a couple of idiots exchange email about subject A’s involvement in an alleged financial fraud. And subject A chooses to sue for libel.

1. If there is a court case, we will know who the lawyers are. No need to ask A’s representatives.

2. If there is not a court case immediately following delivery of papers, we can ask A’s representatives about who is doing the job. At the same time, we can ask the recipients the same question. The recipients are best able to take advice and to judge whether they are facing a real threat, but we should not expect them to share that information.

3. Given 2, we’ll only know the identity of the lawyers if somebody answers the questions. But if papers have been lodged in court, it takes us back to 1.

[edited]

92. Alisdair Cameron

Blimey there’s an awful lot of ignorance regarding the law on defamation on here (on all sides, save the sterling Tim J). You may or may not like the law (I think it’s pretty poor, and thought so back when I was, briefly, a lawyer), but it is what it is: Labour kept saying they’d change it, but never did, and some say that’s because of the number of NewLab lawyers plus rich plutocrat friends who like libel shopping in England.
For what it’s worth, I’d rather there were no recourse to the law on this, and that both the truly vile McBride and the utterly execrable Dorries were helped to disappear.

93. Alisdair Cameron

@ Shatterface

And if she was libelled at public expense, why shouldn’t she defend her reputation (such as it is) at public expense?

Er, because there is no legal aid for libel?

‘Er, because there is no legal aid for libel?’

So we are okay with the State’s representatives libelling people at tax payers expense, but not defending the victims?

95. David O'Keefe

Staines is a state representative?

96. Alisdair Cameron

Shatterface, I’m not saying it’s right or wrong that’s just how it is.
The implications for the legal aid budget (already in line for appalling cuts that will screw justice were it to be diverted for sodding libel cases here, there and everywhere, because if it were legally aided you just watch cases mushroom, including loads of dubious ones designed to repress legit criticism) would be grim.

[edited]

[edited]

[edited]

So what have we learned today?

Apparently some people seem to believe that Guido is a staunch supporter of free speech rights and an opponent of England’s libel laws. I thought that lie was nailed when he threatened anyone who would listen with a lawsuit if they mentioned the Hull BNP incident. Unfortunately for him, although raking up a youthful indescretion might be described as a tad unfair, as the story was true there was not much to be done. This launched a pattern of loud boasts of pending litigation, both civil and criminal, none of which ever materialises. Ever. And still there are those who take the bluster seriously. The surprise is not that Guido lied, but that the MSM so obediently repeated the hoax without carrying out the most basic checks.

Huh?

You idiots. Guido is no more a champion of free speech than I am. Or you are.

All he asks, as do I, is that you leave him alone.

The title post suggests you won’t. So bend over and take it. After all, you were prepared to give it, weren’t you?

I’m a bit disappointed with the Libertarians (I know, you’ll probably cry yourself to sleep now Old Holborn). Freedom of speech is pretty fundamental to being left alone… isn’t it?

“All he asks, as do I, is that you leave him alone.”

Then perhaps he ought to give up stalking as a hobby.

With a General election due in the next ten months, with major economic and social problems facing the country, with ongoing debates about the state of the NHS/Education system, the level of Government spending/cuts, and the increasingly probable outcome of a Conservative Government and all that implies, for pity’s sake, one can only be staggered by the level of debate on this particular political blog.

What is most deeply depressing about all this is the amount of publicity accorded by a presumably left wing site to such juvenile and self serving planks as Staines, Draper, McBride, Cole and Dorries.

Are you prepared for the level of gloating that will ensue from a Tory victory? Is there no energy for the fight?

As a Labour voter of 40 years standing, I despair.

Babs,

I take you point. Sadly the corrosive effect these smear merchants have on political dialogue is no longer possible to ignore.

“All he asks, as do I, is that you leave him alone.”

Don’t play around in politics, then.

A-ha ha ha. Reading these comments, I think Staines is such a dick.

Not getting into this yet, however I’m quite happy to think that newspapers would call letters, “writs”.

Though to pick up the point, that “writ” Tweet:

http://twitpic.com/h282p

Tim Ireland is right. There, never say I am not big enough to admit when I make a mistake. You can’t escape a search-engine-guru who scans your every word and digital-rich-media utterance. Should have more precisely and accurately tweeted: “Letter in accordance with the Pre-Action Protocol for Claims in Defamation” rather than “writ”.* Just reinforces my feelings about the imitations of the 140 character Twittering medium.

As for the groundless insinuation that the hand delivery was designed to embarrass Damian McBride: it was merely to ensure delivery, some things are too important to entrust to a state run service. Also wanted to see the look on his face.

In other news: today I will be mainly deleting comments from Chris Paul and not answering phone calls from Tim Ireland. Congratulations to LibCon on passing the 1000 references to “Guido” on the website yesterday. Iain Dale will be very jealous.

You may now carry on discussing me.

You may carry on being a dick.

I think that’s what we used to call people in the playground who stuck their fingers in their ears and screamed “NOT PLAYING WITH YOU ANY MORE! NOT PLAYING WITH YOU ANY MORE!”

No, I am always happy to play with you guys.

Anyone see the contradiction between this comment by Guido:

As for the groundless insinuation that the hand delivery was designed to embarrass Damian McBride:

And this one?

Also wanted to see the look on his face.

So, you did want to embarrass him then?

Not that I have much urge to feel any sympathy for a slug like McBride. Just sayin’.

I refer you to my previous comment 63, above.

“And perhaps Paul Staines will point out who the legal firm is behind Nadine Dorries. Funnily enough he refuses to do that too…”

I still struggle to see why either:

1. Guido is under any obligation to do this, the case isn’t his case, he didn’t instruct the law firm, if there is one; or

2. It’s relevant.

Can anyone enlighten me? I expect something more substantial than it might be this Donald Blaney chap, whoever he might be.

While I’ve got your attention, Mr Staines, I’d just like to let you know that you and your friends represent everything that’s wrong with politics and I’m seriously glad you have no real pull in influencing either the current or any future Government.

I thought it was quite entertaining. Which is, after all, the reason more people go to Guido’s site than any other blog, isn’t it? And the reason he can make a living out of it when we can’t?

117. Donut Hinge Party

Blaney is the worst human being in Christendom. To Guido’s credit, I’ve never seen a muslim-bashing post – that generally just appears in the comments below.

Blaney is a hypocritical bigoted retard. He sees no contradiction in wanting to remove all government involvement whilst practising and attempting to use the laws laid down by, er, the government.

“the reason he can make a living out of it”

He does? I thought he ran a courier service.

“Anyone see the contradiction between this comment by Guido:

As for the groundless insinuation that the hand delivery was designed to embarrass Damian McBride:

And this one?

Also wanted to see the look on his face.

So, you did want to embarrass him then?”

That doesn’t necessarily denote embarassment does it? Shock, anger, frustration, fear – none of those are embarassment.

God you’re a humourless bunch.

Lefties, some advice; when someone is laughing at you, join in, or concoct some means by which you can laugh at them. In a pisstaking environment, you need to learn how to take the piss, and how to respond when it’s taken from you. This churlish anger is just pitiful. Very un-British too. The british way is to respond to those you love, and those you hate, with amused disdain – c’mon, get with it. Stop sulking.

So you’re going to lose the next eelection and be out of power forever – so what? You’ll still have your cushy quango jobs and soming outreach worker jobs to fall back on. Cheer up, it’s not like Dave’s going to have you all shot.

Dan would.

“Cheer up, it’s not like Dave’s going to have you all shot.

Dan would.”

Ha ha. That’s funny.

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So Guido – are you going to deny that you used Donal Blaney to serve papers that are unlikely to get anywhere?

First you admit you get it wrong about the “writ”, now you’re trying to deny that you served the “papers” for any other reason than seeing his reaction. Except you admitted it yourself earlier.

Perhaps you should read your own comments before denying any behaviour or action? Just a thought.

And why are you so coy about telling everyone what legal firm is behind this? Don’t have faith in that legal team?

Lefties, some advice; when someone is laughing at you, join in,

But Frank – we laugh at your hypocritical libertarians all the time. Yet you never seem to join in that. All you do is throw a tantrum and accuse socialists of wanting to throw everyone in chains. That’s not very good-natured behaviour is it?

And while you’re here… I’m of the opinion that giving blow-jobs to plastic blow-up dolls isn’t something people should do. Just bear that in mind, yeah.

I told the Indy how I came to be involved yesterday. Didn’t anyone notice?

Believe it or not, we don’t stalk you, no matter what you might fap off to at night…

Perhaps all these hilariously funny Tories could just post a list of the topics their opponents aren’t allowed to mock them for?

I mean, it was risible when we were told we couldn’t call them racists for playing up to racist attitudes. Now we’re not allowed to take the piss out of a pair of self-promoting Tory dimwits when they make utter rectal spectacles of themselves. It’s surely only a matter of time before they start calling this enforced politeness “Correct Politics” or something.

Well, I say we should give two fingers to these ridiculous, totalitarian speech codes. It’s Correct Politics gone mad, if you ask me.

131. tory boys never grow up

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[edited]

Still obsessing about Donal everyone? He really must be a very powerful figure to attract this level of opprobrium when his participation or otherwise is entirely irrelevant to the central story.

BEHOLD, THE SPEAKER OF TRUTH TO THOSE IN POWER, WHO ALSO DOES A GOOD IMPRESSION OF THAT BLOKE FROM THE COMMUNARDS!

#140

Sorry Donal. Just kidding.

Daniel Hoffman-Gill – why the obsession with sexuality?

So you go on about how deep someone’s voice is, and comparing them to “that guy from the Communards” and you aren’t obsessing about sexuality?

Right ho, my mistake. You’re not obsessed with us gayers at all.

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140. tory boys never grow up

[edited]

Hello,

@FrankFisher (#53) ‘I’m puzzled as to why [the lawyers identity] interests you’

@astateofdenmark (#66) ‘I’m also a little disturbed by this fascination with who the lawyers are’.

@Tim K (#72) ‘I don’t see why [the lawyers identity] matters’.

I haven’t worked for the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (as then was) for a long while but, if a solicitor was involved in this farrago, the stupifying lack of professionalism displayed is as good a candidate as any for a ‘conduct unbecoming’ complaint (again, as then was).

While I’d be happy to file this, confirmation of the solicitor concerned would be needed (i.e. who is cited on the documents distributed this week?) I wouldn’t want to unfairly attribute poor behaviour to Mr Blaney’s firm unjustifiably.

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[edited]

Well I’ve gone to Mr. Blaney’s blog and asked him. That seems the fairest thing to do.

#146

I remember a “wicked whisper” in the media about “a married MP having an affair” a couple of months before this story broke.

May there be something in this?

146. tory boys never grow up

[edited]

Obessed.

[edited]

Why so touchy about a bit of scrutiny?

Well he’s approved my question. I wonder if he’ll answer.

Edit to add: btw I notice that the promised “service” on Downing Street pdoes not appear to have happened as promised. Perhaps popbitch had no-one available.

151. Alisdair Cameron

As I said upthread, thank you TimJ for cutting through the crap. The level of ignorance of the legal system as it is (whether it’s good or bad is another debate altogether) displayed by both those arguing for and those against Guido/Staines’ stunt doesn’t do the blogosphere a whole heap of credit.

157 – thanks! To be fair the legal world is not widely understood…

158 – see comment 7! The whole area of ‘publication’ in a legal sense is a bit woolly and non-obvious.

[edited]

Be-hold all the fake libertarians.

This post as only confirms my view that there is no such thing as libertarians.

I repeat, they are all false, and I would like to personally thank Guido for proving me right.

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158. tory boys never grow up

Perhaps TimJ could advise if he were a lawyer advising a plaintiff on a libel case whether he would employ someone who had a role in bringing the libel to a wider audience, and who his client could hence also have a potential claim against, to serve the papers on the defendants??

Perhaps he might also suggest how he would advise the plaintiff in such a situation?

#162

An interesting question. In this purely hypothetical scenario of yours, is the claimant (not plaintiff any more I’m afraid) actually paying the solicitor?

Dale was unavailable due to commitments to review the papers on Armenian TV.

This prediction from the man who said in early 2008 that there would be no recession and it was Tory scare mongering that there was an imminent housing market collapse.

It is a pretty open and shut case – Damian has no available defence. He has already admitted the allegations he made were untrue.

I am not going to rehearse the peripheral arguments for obvious legal reasons. Suggest you pay closer attention to what TJ has written.

Perhaps TimJ could advise if he were a lawyer advising a plaintiff on a libel case whether he would employ someone who had a role in bringing the libel to a wider audience, and who his client could hence also have a potential claim against, to serve the papers on the defendants??

The thing is,is that this is still only a potential action. No papers have been ‘served’ on anyone, because all that has been delivered is a letter before action. As I pointed out above, anyone can write these, and anyone can deliver them. As such there doesn’t even need to be a law firm involved yet.

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FFS. Criminal law =/= civil law.

[edited]

168. Shatterface

‘So, conspiracy to libel? Attempted libel? If I chase a man with a knife and he runs into the arms of another – unconnected – man who stabs him instead, but I never lay a finger on him, can I be accused of murder?’

You’d honestly be okay with chasing someone with a knife if someone else actually killed them?

169. Donut Hinge Party

Course not. Someone would still be dead. But it wouldn’t be murder, any more than death by dangerous driving or corporate manslaughter is murder.

I’m no fancy big city lawyer (puffs out chest) but, er, well that’s it. Google and wikipedia are my only legal sources, so I’ll just bow out of the legalese. If someone can find a case whereby information that was imputed in the body to be false and mere rumour, and only reached the public eye through a third party was successfully prosecuted.

For instance, if Simon Singh wrote to a friend saying “Do you know what, I think I’ll say chiropracty is a load of rubbish, just to annoy them,” the friend threw the letter in the bin, some journalist found it, removed the banana skin and published it in the Super Soaraway FT, then the chiropractors took up cudgels, would they stand a chance?

[edited]

171. Donut Hinge Party

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[edited]

“If I chase a man with a knife and he runs into the arms of another – unconnected – man who stabs him instead, but I never lay a finger on him, can I be accused of murder?”

Actually yes.

[edited]

Perhaps TJ would explain whether “going to the danger” and/or “contributory negligence” applies in libel tort.

No. Since negligence is not being alleged here, contributory negligence can’t apply.

For the really sad among us, Iain Dale was certainly wrong to say that Sunny had libelled him in a comment on Iain’s blog. As Iain approved the message, it cannot have been libel as (wait for it) volenti non fit injuria. Gosh it’s fun stuff this law malarkey…

Would it be an allegation of adultery is she were formally separated?

Since it was supposed to be a tryst with a married MP, yes it would.

181 – no. They were legal papers, but not court documents. They were letters before action, which under the CPRs should be sent before any claim is filed with the court.

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181. tory boys never grow up

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thanks for clearing up some of the legal questions Tim J. Though the way the media has reported this affair seems to be completely inaccurate.

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Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. sunny hundal

    Why’s the media faithfully reporting Nadine Dorries’ libel action without asking simple questions? http://tr.im/y9EX

  2. Liberal Conspiracy

    : The Nadine Dorries legal action – something odd http://tr.im/y9EX

  3. loveandgarbage

    @pickledpolitics – there is a retweet of the deleted tweet (see http://bit.ly/NlA4G ) at http://bit.ly/VXjAw

  4. Adam Sandler

    Liberal Conspiracy » The Nadine Dorries legal action – something odd: And I’d be surprised if damages amount.. http://bit.ly/jnft7

  5. sunny hundal

    Why’s the media faithfully reporting Nadine Dorries’ libel action without asking simple questions? http://tr.im/y9EX

  6. Liberal Conspiracy

    : The Nadine Dorries legal action – something odd http://tr.im/y9EX

  7. loveandgarbage

    @pickledpolitics – there is a retweet of the deleted tweet (see http://bit.ly/NlA4G ) at http://bit.ly/VXjAw

  8. Tweets that mention Liberal Conspiracy » The Nadine Dorries legal action – something odd -- Topsy.com

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Liberal Conspiracy and loveandgarbage. Liberal Conspiracy said: : The Nadine Dorries legal action – something odd http://tr.im/y9EX […]

  9. Adam Sandler

    Liberal Conspiracy » The Nadine Dorries legal action – something odd: And I’d be surprised if damages amount.. http://bit.ly/jnft7

  10. Personal Attorney

    Liberal Conspiracy » The Nadine Dorries legal action – something odd http://bit.ly/jnft7

  11. Tim Ireland

    Five (Ignition: http://bit.ly/22sCW http://bit.ly/wYmdM)

  12. Richard Bartholomew

    Paul Staines: It wasn’t a writ, I just made it look like one. So if anyone says I delivered a writ, they’re wrong! http://bit.ly/22sCW

  13. Personal Attorney

    Liberal Conspiracy » The Nadine Dorries legal action – something odd http://bit.ly/jnft7

  14. Tim Ireland

    Five (Ignition: http://bit.ly/22sCW http://bit.ly/wYmdM)

  15. Richard Bartholomew

    Paul Staines: It wasn’t a writ, I just made it look like one. So if anyone says I delivered a writ, they’re wrong! http://bit.ly/22sCW

  16. Twitted by Barthsnotes

    […] This post was Twitted by Barthsnotes […]

  17. Blog Wars: This time its personal

    […] seen the light of day.” … But, interestingly Sunny Hundal from Liberalconspiracy.org adds: “Given that private correspondence between McBride and Draper was not published anywhere […]

  18. Tim Ireland

    @Andy1120:"The likes of Paul Staines dismiss Twitter." Yes, it’s harder to cheat on Twitter http://bit.ly/22sCW

  19. Tim Ireland

    @Andy1120:"The likes of Paul Staines dismiss Twitter." Yes, it’s harder to cheat on Twitter http://bit.ly/22sCW

  20. Tim Ireland

    FACT: only person to have sued/won over 'smeargate' = @tom_watson – twice! All @nadinedorriesmp has is some fake writs: http://bit.ly/22sCW

  21. Stephen Newton

    RT @bloggerheads: FACT: only person to sue/win over smeargate = @tom_watson ll @nadinedorriesmp has is some fake writs: http://bit.ly/22sCW

  22. Tim Ireland

    FACT: only person to have sued/won over 'smeargate' = @tom_watson – twice! All @nadinedorriesmp has is some fake writs: http://bit.ly/22sCW

  23. Stephen Newton

    RT @bloggerheads: FACT: only person to sue/win over smeargate = @tom_watson ll @nadinedorriesmp has is some fake writs: http://bit.ly/22sCW

  24. Tim Ireland

    @loveandgarbage Ah. So now we wait for Staines to be a complete hypocrite about tweet-deletion. http://bit.ly/22sCW

  25. Tim Ireland

    @guidofawkes You've been caught deleting regrettable tweets yourself, Paul. Don't forget that. http://bit.ly/22sCW

  26. Tim Ireland

    @rjamesjones @guidofawkes Reminds me of Staines describing a letter from Blaney as a 'writ' http://j.mp/dxnEG0 Self-serving big-noting spin

  27. Tim Ireland

    @zootcadillac And by that you mean 'writ' http://j.mp/dxnEG0





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