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Mark James (left) used taxpayers' money to sue Jacqui Thompson (right) for libel, claiming she had waged a campaign of "harassment, intimidation and libel" against council staff.

Mark James (left) used taxpayers’ money to sue Jacqui Thompson (right) for libel, claiming she had waged a campaign of “harassment, intimidation and libel” against council staff [Composite: The Canary].

Congratulations to The Canary for getting a story out before I could.

If anybody wants to read the gritty details, take a look here, here and here.

I notice Mark James has been invited to respond to the story but has not yet done so, leading me to suggest a note of caution for Canary boss Kerry-Anne Mendoza:

Is this litigious man consulting his lawyers, do you think?

Blogger Jacqui Thompson tried to film a public Carmarthenshire Council meeting in the interest of accountability. She’s now being ordered to sell her home after council boss Mark James sued her for libel, despite him unlawfully using taxpayer cash to pay legal costs.

Thompson began filming what she viewed as “the latest travesty for democracy” at the council back in 2011. She felt the council leadership was ignoring strong local opposition to its plans at the public meeting. After trying to film the proceedings on her mobile, the council had her arrested, handcuffed and detained at a police station for two hours.

She was arrested on peacekeeping grounds, despite only calmly filming from a balcony.

The Coalition government’s guidelines were at odds with the decision to phone the police. They read that kicking people out of council meetings only for filming is “at odds with the fundamentals of democracy”.

In the aftermath of her arrest, James accused Thompson and her family of “running a campaign of harassment, intimidation and defamation of council staff”. The arrest received a lot of negative press. So Thompson viewed James’s online post as a character assassination attempt and sued the council boss for libel. But James successfully counter-sued, with the judge ruling that Thompson conducted a smear campaign as “revenge”.

James is now forcing the sale of Thompson’s family home to retrieve damages which have risen to £35,392 after interest. The mother has 14 days to respond. Unlike the council boss, Thompson will also have to pay her own legal costs of £190,000.

Source: A blogger made a brave stand against a council boss, now he’s making her homeless | The Canary

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