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Post by Guest on 21.08.11 11:38

@jd wrote:Does anybody know if Pat Brown was told exactly what it was that they thought was defamatory in her book?

I think Pat said the McCanns objected to the content and the cover.

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Post by Gillyspot on 21.08.11 16:20

Pat said they objected to the title first. Which is why she changed it to ""BANNED: Profile of the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann"

Obviously that wasn't good enough for the McCanns' who (despite it being a very reasonably thought out account of what may have happened using the facts from the PJ files) scared Amazon witless by getting Carter Ruck to write another nasty letter and therefore got it pulled as well.

Who says the McCanns aren't bullies? Not me.
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Post by ROSA on 22.08.11 11:37

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Post by Tony Bennett on 24.08.11 0:47

STATEMENT

A brief update on the legal action commenced against me by Edward Smethurst and the letter from the McCanns warning me that they will shortly apply to have me adjudged to be in contempt of court for certain internet articles and posts said to breach my undertaking given to them in November 2009.

There has been further correspondence in both matters but until further notice I shall not be posting up copies of any of that correspondence. I will however give you all an update if anything significant happens.

In the Edward Smethurst matter, he has simply issued brief details of his claim without giving full particulars of it. I am expecting those to arrive in due course.

As was clear from Carter-Ruck's last letter re the McCanns, the McCanns have said they will apply to have me punished for contempt of court even if I and the forum-owner here remove all the contentious articles and posts.

I am currently arranging legal help on the Smethurst matter, as proceedings have been issued, and will do so on the McCanns' complaint as soon as they issue formal proceedings, which they've not yet done.

Whilst I can't commit myself in advance of my receiving any notice of contempt proceedings and ahead of receiving legal advice, it is my present intention to defend the allegation that I am in contempt - and to plead the legal defence of 'fair comment'.

Article 10 of the European Court of Human Rights is relevant here, as it deals with free speech, and as I announced earlier this year, I have an application already before the European Commission on Human Rights claiming that the gross imbalance of resources in the litigation forced me to yield to the terms of an undertaking which were oppressive.

I'll end with a couple of quotes:

1. Some years ago, Carter-Ruck obtained a 'super-injunction on behalf of their client, former Law Society President Michael Napier. The super-injunction stopped the satirical magazine from informing its readers that he'd been officially censured for breaching conflict of interest rules. Giving judgment FOR Private Eye and AGAINST Carter-Ruck's client Michael Napier, after a 5-month legal wrangle, the Court of Appeal said:

"Freedom to report the truth is a precious thing both for the liberty of the individual and for the sake of wider society".

2. More recently, earlier this year in fact, the Minister for Justice, Kenneth Clarke, said the following in announcing drastic reforms to our libel laws. The reforms are intended to end the gross imbalance between well-heeled libel claimants and those defendants that criticise them. He said:

"The right to speak freely and debate issues without fear of censure is a vital cornerstone of a democratic society".


Amen.
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Post by Tony Bennett on 24.08.11 0:47

Sorry, I forgot in the previous post to thank all those very kind people who've sent me 'pm's, emails or 'phone calls offering support in connection with the two libel actions against me - I'm really grateful and appreciate each and every one of them
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Post by aiyoyo on 24.08.11 16:44

@Tony Bennett wrote:STATEMENT

A brief update on the legal action commenced against me by Edward Smethurst and the letter from the McCanns warning me that they will shortly apply to have me adjudged to be in contempt of court for certain internet articles and posts said to breach my undertaking given to them in November 2009.

There has been further correspondence in both matters but until further notice I shall not be posting up copies of any of that correspondence. I will however give you all an update if anything significant happens.

In the Edward Smethurst matter, he has simply issued brief details of his claim without giving full particulars of it. I am expecting those to arrive in due course.

I believe even if he were to provide details now his filing still breaches legal protocol/procedure by falling short of due notice and warning time to you. Unless he starts afresh and refile again, it's a mess for him at the moment.

If he follows through this filing despite ambiguity on his part and failure on his part to take corrective measure on his FB he's inviting trouble for himself imo because if this is placed before a court judge he is obliged to answer questions on oath. Inadvertently he would drag his mate mccanns into it and cause them some negative publicity because he's director of Madeleine Fund, a missing child allegedly taken by paedophile according to her parents. k's passage about the violation of her daughter in not so delicate terms described in her book can be used to confirm their belief and no doubt all the directors on board must have vetted her book.


As was clear from Carter-Ruck's last letter re the McCanns, the McCanns have said they will apply to have me punished for contempt of court even if I and the forum-owner here remove all the contentious articles and posts.

We shall see how suicidal they are especially considering their litigation case against Amaral is coming up and a verdict against them will have an impact on their case against you.

I am currently arranging legal help on the Smethurst matter, as proceedings have been issued, and will do so on the McCanns' complaint as soon as they issue formal proceedings, which they've not yet done.

Whilst I can't commit myself in advance of my receiving any notice of contempt proceedings and ahead of receiving legal advice, it is my present intention to defend the allegation that I am in contempt - and to plead the legal defence of 'fair comment'.

Article 10 of the European Court of Human Rights is relevant here, as it deals with free speech, and as I announced earlier this year, I have an application already before the European Commission on Human Rights claiming that the gross imbalance of resources in the litigation forced me to yield to the terms of an undertaking which were oppressive.

I'll end with a couple of quotes:

1. Some years ago, Carter-Ruck obtained a 'super-injunction on behalf of their client, former Law Society President Michael Napier. The super-injunction stopped the satirical magazine from informing its readers that he'd been officially censured for breaching conflict of interest rules. Giving judgment FOR Private Eye and AGAINST Carter-Ruck's client Michael Napier, after a 5-month legal wrangle, the Court of Appeal said:

"Freedom to report the truth is a precious thing both for the liberty of the individual and for the sake of wider society".

2. More recently, earlier this year in fact, the Minister for Justice, Kenneth Clarke, said the following in announcing drastic reforms to our libel laws. The reforms are intended to end the gross imbalance between well-heeled libel claimants and those defendants that criticise them. He said:

"The right to speak freely and debate issues without fear of censure is a vital cornerstone of a democratic society".


Amen.
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Post by Tony Bennett on 25.08.11 21:14

UPDATE

No futher word yet from Carter-Ruck on either matter.

Carter-Ruck has failed to date to reply to the questions I was entitled to ask them under the Pre-Action Protocol on Defamation, which Smethust breached by issuing his libel writ prematurely.

Smethurst has not yet filed his Particulars of Claim either.

The McCanns have not yet served any formal application for me to be committed for contempt of court.

I woud like to place on record my appreciation for an anonymous letter-writer whose letter arrived today, signed 'A Wellwisher'. Clearly a legal man, he has given me two very important pieces of legal advice in relation to the contempt of court claim. Can't say anything more than that as I don't want to make Carter-Ruck's life any easier.

If you are reading this, 'Wellwisher', your final paragraph is noted and I am all the more grateful for your help.

Also thanks to a member from this forum who has joined The Madeleine Foundation today and has added a donation to his subscription. If you are reading this, our latest book and a supply of leaflets will be on their way to you tomorrow.
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Post by Guest on 26.08.11 10:40

LATEST on the 3 libel actions - alleged contempt of court x 1, and alleged libels x 2 - Page 2 1956175960 Wellwisher.

I was only saying the other day that what we needed is an Erin Brokovich type of person on our side and our prayers have been answered. LATEST on the 3 libel actions - alleged contempt of court x 1, and alleged libels x 2 - Page 2 3934901622 Thank you kind sir, or madam, you're a star !!
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Post by Tony Bennett on 07.09.11 9:09

ANNOUNCEMENT

Three libel actions

I have just posted this announcement on the Madeleine Foundation's Facebook Group:


THE FIRST: EDWARD SMETHURST

On 4 August I received a letter from Carter-Ruck on behalf of the McCanns' co-ordinating lawyer Edward Smethurst complaining that certain postings of mine on the forum 'Complete Mystery of Madeleine McCann' were libellous of him. Despite these being removed within 24 hours, on 9 August Smethurst issued a libel writ against me in the High Court claiming damages and seeking an injunction preventing me from making any more (allegedly) libellous comments about him. He also obtained an ex-parte secrecy order by Master Eyre in the High Court preventing any third party from knowing the contents of any documents in the proceedings. He has now submitted detailed Particulars of Claim and I now have to answer them.

THE SECOND: THE MCCANNS

On 15 August I received another letter from Carter-Ruck, this time from the McCanns, claiming that I had breached one of four undertakings given to them by me in the High Court on 25 November 2009 (they do not claim that I broke any of the other three undertakings I gave). They say that I have breached an undertaking I gave promising not to suggest that they were responsible for Madeleine's death and may have covered it up. I have been told that they will be taking 'contempt of court' proceedings, seeking to have me either fined, or sent to prison, or apply for some or all of my assets to be seized. At present I believe I have a defence to this action but am seeking further legal advice. I have not yet been served with any actual Contempt of Court proceedings.

THE THIRD: BRIAN KENNEDY

Last night (6 September) after returning from a short period away with relatives I learnt from a third letter from Carter-Ruck (dated 2 September) that Brian Kennedy intends shortly to issue libel proceedings against me and has claimed that 10 articles on our website libel him. As an immediate response, the Committee of the Madeleine Foundation has agreed to remove all of those articles in their entirety from our website, pending more specific clarification from his lawyers as to what words in any of those published articlles are said to libel him.

I'll post updates about all this when I can, but I may be busy over the next few weeks defending all of these actions.
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Post by scotclogs on 07.09.11 9:46

Please DONT give in to them Tony' Tony youaretheman youaretheman good luck to you :fingerscrossed
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Post by pennylane on 07.09.11 10:06

This post has been removed by Tony Bennett at the request of Edward Smethurst.
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Post by happychick on 07.09.11 10:25

@Tony Bennett wrote:I have been told that they will be taking 'contempt of court' proceedings, seeking to have me either fined, or sent to prison, or apply for some or all of my assets to be seized.

So, let me get this straight. The McCanns can commit crimes by neglecting babies until one goes missing for 4 years, leaving behind a trail of cadaver odour and blood, and they can beg for donations to a fraudulent fund and pay their mortgage and lawyers but you cannot question what these people do. You cannot repeat things that other people (particularly those involved in the investigation) have said. Even though they will not be prosecuted, you will. Because you believe people like Amaral, Lee Rainbow, Martin Grime and many others you are to lose all your assets and life savings.

When the McCanns have finished with you and Amaral will they then sue Martin Grime and Lee Rainbow and all the others who believe they had something to do with Madeleine's death then concealed her body and faked her abduction?

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Post by Gillyspot on 07.09.11 11:46

Well said Happychick. LATEST on the 3 libel actions - alleged contempt of court x 1, and alleged libels x 2 - Page 2 259100
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Post by stephen25000 on 07.09.11 11:59

I concur with these comments.

Perhaps it also highlights the corruption in this country, where the Mccanns have got away with an unforgivable crime of neglect.
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Post by Tony Bennett on 08.09.11 9:38

Published by the Guardian on 10 December 2010 (9 months ago) and re-published here without further comment, save to point out that those who make comments based on facts now have had life made a lot easier for them in the libel courts. I have bolded certain comments:


Supreme court changes fair comment defence in libel cases


Lord Phillips says that key test for defending libel cases should be changed to 'honest comment' in light of new technology

The supreme court has changed a key test for defending libel cases, in another significant step by the judiciary to weigh into the highly political debate about libel reform.

In a unanimous decision on the defence of fair comment – a Victorian rule originally designed to protect art critics from being sued for libel – the court said the law should be updated to make it more simple, and to take account of changes in technology and the modern media.

"The defence of fair comment should be renamed honest comment," said Lord Phillips, the president of the supreme court.

"Today the internet has made it possible for the man in the street to make public comment about others in a manner that did not exist when the principles of the law of fair comment were developed," he added. "Millions take advantage of that opportunity."

Phillips, who described the issue as "a storm in a teacup", said the defence of fair comment was "one of the most difficult areas of the law of defamation".

The law on fair comment has been developed by judges in cases going back to the 19th century, and originated to protect art critics who were critical of books, plays and performances.

But the rules determining when a defendant can invoke fair comment to protect themselves from libel have become increasingly complicated as judges have considered whether the defence could apply to a wider range of comment.

The defence was a key issue in the case brought by science writer Simon Singh, after he was sued over comments in the Guardian about the British Chiropractic Association.

Overturning high court judge Mr Justice Eady's decision that Singh could not use fair comment, the court of appeal ruled in April that judges should be slower to draw the line between fact and comment in contentious areas of journalism and debate.

But today's decision by five members of the UK's highest court will have even further-reaching implications for the future of the law on libel.

"The defence is clearly going to feature more significantly now," said Sarah Webb, partner and head of media, libel and privacy at Russell Jones & Walker. "Whilst the Singh case widened the understanding of what was comment rather than an assertion of fact, today's judgment states that the comment must now only explicitly or implicitly indicate at least in general terms the facts upon which it is based."

"It is clearly going to be easier for defendants to now rely on this defence although the supreme court have still said it needs further refinement by the Law Commission".

The case was brought by a group of musicians called The Gillettes and Saturday Night at the Movies after a promoter posted a notice on its website stating it would no longer work with the group because the musicians were "not professional enough".

The musicians sued the company for libel, claiming that the notice on its website implied that they were unprofessional and unlikely to honour future bookings, damaging their reputation.

The supreme court ruled that the company should be entitled to the defence of fair comment, because the statement posted on its website identified the facts on which the comment was based.

The court also considered human rights protections for free speech under article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, stating that a defendant in libel cases could not be expected to prove whether a value judgment involved in a statement defended as fair comment, was true.

"A value judgment is not susceptible of proof so that a requirement to prove the truth of a value judgment is impossible to fulfil, and thus infringes article 10," said Lord Phillips.

But the court stopped short of radical reforms to the law, by refraining from adopting a wholly objective test for fair comment.

"While the court agreed to a small bit of modernisation in stating that the defence should be renamed honest comment...the court did not accept suggestions that the defence should be expanded to embrace facts which were not known to the defendant, or even in existence when he made his comment," said Gill Phillips, head of legal for the Guardian, which was one of the media organisations that intervened in the case. "Rather they suggested that the onus should be on a defendant to show that he subjectively believed that his comment was justified by the facts on which he based it."
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Post by littlepixie on 08.09.11 11:35

Where has life gone so very wrong for these people that they need to inflict their will as well as pain and misery on others just for speaking the truth.

I pity them, I really do as no matter how much money they have, they can never win and they will never find happiness.

Suing one person will not stop the truth, they are either really stupid or vindictive if they think that is the case.
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Post by Tony Bennett on 12.09.11 22:36

UPDATE on the three libel letters from Carter-Ruck:

SMETHURST

Letters from Carter-Ruck sent by e-mail 4 August, Smethurst obtained secrecy order relating to Court documents in the case from Master Eyre and issued Libel Claim (= writ) 9 August, letter from Carter-Ruck making demands, I replied with counter-proposals which were not accepted, Smethurst issued Particulars of Claim 23 August but I didn't receive them until 6 September, I have until 3 October to file either a defence or an Admission of liability.

McCANNS

Letter from Carter-Ruck re McCanns received 15 August claiming breach of one of four undertakings given to the McCanns, also asking for around 50 articles and posts on Madeleine Foundation website and this forum to be removed; they all have been removed; the McCanns warned that they would issue formal Contempt proceedings but no such proceedings have yet been served on me nor issued (so far as I am aware)

KENNEDY

Letter from Carter-Ruck dated 2 September making 5 key demands, including removal of 10 articles on our website concerning him; these were removed on the same day as his letter was received. The letter also claimed libel damages. I intend to reply by the end of the week.

I was finally told by my home insurers on Friday that under my 'Legal Expenses Cover' they could neither provide me with representation nor advice on any of the above matters, as 'libel law is very complex and you need to go to a specialist'. I have contacted a couple of specialists and they are quoting £5,000 to £10,000 upfront merely 'to advise', let alone prepare any defence and represent me.

That's all I can say for now.
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Post by jd on 13.09.11 0:45

This post has been removed by Tony Bennett at the request of Edward Smethurst.

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Post by HFS on 13.09.11 9:05

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Post by Tony Bennett on 13.09.11 21:30

@HFS wrote:

  1. If what you wrote about Kennedy and Smethurst is the truth, I don't understand how they could make you remove the articles. And apparently removing posts and articles isn't good enough for them. What more can they ask for? Five key demands?.

I am restricted in what I can say at the present time, but I think I can set out what Brian Kennedy's 5 demands are:

1. Remove 10 named articles from The Madeleine Foundation website which he says are libellous of him [it would probably be wise of me not to say on here in what way he says they libelled him] AND 'use my best endeavours' to ensure so far as it is within my power to ensure that if they have appeared on any other site on the internet, that they are removed from there as well [NOTE: The 10 'offending' articles were removed from our website within hours of my becoming aware of Kennedy's objections]

2. Examine all other articles and publications on our website to see if any others might also libel him, and remove those as well, and 'use my best endeavours' to remove them from any other website where they might appear [NOTE: This is being done]

3. Provide Court undertakings not to repeat the same or similar allegations

4. Publish an apology and correction to Mr Kennedy, 'the terms to be agreed in advance by him', and

5. To pay Mr Kennedy libel damages which he promises to donate to the Find Madeleine Fund.
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Post by littlepixie on 14.09.11 8:06

Mr Kennedy disgusts me. Filming himself handing over a cheque for "charity" then claiming he will donate any damages received to the Madeleine "Fund" as if that is also a charitable act.

Donating money to a PLC is no charitable act.
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Post by aiyoyo on 14.09.11 8:58

This post has been removed by Tony Bennett at the request of Edward Smethurst.
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Post by HFS on 14.09.11 10:38

Thank you Mr. Bennett. It's late so I'll keep my visit short.

3. Provide Court undertakings not to repeat the same or similar allegations

That'll cost you Court fees again, like last time with the McCanns.
But is it fair, considering you didn't write those articles or did you? Imo the author should help you out.

Please excuse my curiosity, I just can't get my head around this, what's been going on. It must be a very stressfull situation for you.
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Post by jd on 14.09.11 10:52

@aiyoyo wrote:
And, why did smethurst file his libel under secrecy - what is he afraid of or ashamed of?

Has Smethurst taken responsibility for his 3 Facebook friends yet? We haven't forgotten. When a much wider audience window opens, this can be asked and questioned again if he has ignored dealing with them

"Donating money to a PLC is no charitable act"....But the PR Kennedy gets from it is priceless. Nobody however rich they are, gives this amount of money Kennedy has to this 'charity' without having a reason in it for them. Using the cover of 'Maddie missing' is a perfect one for the likes of Kennedy to hide their real motives...usually money, business, PR....

NOTW put up money for rewards etc as they knew they had a story that would run and run and sell volumes of papers

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Post by Invinoveritas on 14.09.11 12:30

"Donating money to a PLC is no charitable act"....



But can he get tax relief on it?, or: if he were to win libel damages would he have to pay tax on the sum?
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