Tag Archives: judgment

#PritiPatel #bullying: can anyone explain the logic of #HighCourt ruling against union’s legal challenge?

Priti Patel and Boris Johnson. You can imagine what he’s saying to her right now: “Keep smiling because I think we’ve got away with it!”

There’s something about this judgement that isn’t quite right.

The High Court has rejected a legal challenge by civil service union the FDA against Boris Johnson’s ruling that Priti Patel’s bullying of civil servants did not break the Ministerial Code.

Lord Justice Lewis, sitting with Mrs Justice Steyn, said that Johnson had not “misdirected himself” (misinterpreted the meaning of the Ministerial Code) when coming to his decision.

The judge said: “The question for this court is whether the prime minister proceeded on the basis that conduct would not fall within the description of bullying within paragraph 1.2 of the ministerial code if the person concerned was unaware of, or did not intend, the harm or offence caused.

“Reading the statement (made by Johnson) as a whole, and in context, we do not consider that the prime minister misdirected himself in that way.”

So the question was whether Patel could be said to have bullied someone if she was unaware of – or said she was unaware of – the harm or offence she caused.

Paragraph 1.2 of the Ministerial Code states: “Ministers should be professional in all their dealings and treat all those with whom they come into contact with consideration and respect. Working relationships, including with civil servants, ministerial and parliamentary colleagues and parliamentary staff should be proper and appropriate.”

It makes no mention of whether a minister’s intentions have any bearing on whether their behaviour may breach the code; therefore Patel’s intentions were irrelevant.

This is consistent with then-advisor on ministerial standards, Sir Alex Allan’s, advice at the time: “Her approach on occasions has amounted to behaviour that can be described as bullying in terms of the impact felt by individuals. To that extent, her behaviour has been in breach of the ministerial code, even if unintentionally.”

But Johnson’s ruling relied entirely on Patel’s intentions. He said Patel was “unaware” of the impact she had and he was “reassured” she was “sorry for inadvertently upsetting those with whom she was working”.

In response, Sir Alex immediately resigned his advisory role. He was not prepared to continue working for Johnson in the knowledge that the prime minister was willing to allow breaches of the Code in such a way.

And we see now that the High Court has ruled in favour of Johnson, saying he did not misdirect himself into thinking that her conduct did not fall under the description of bullying if Patel had been unaware that it was having that effect – which is odd, because his statement clearly shows that this is exactly what he said.

So the judges’ decision is wrong, it seems.

Also – strangely – the decision does not seem to take account of the main thrust of the defence put forward by Johnson’s lawyers, which was that the Ministerial Code is a “political document”, “does not create or impose any legal duties on ministers or the prime minister”, is “not required by law” and its contents “not regulated by law”.

The court’s decision shows that it does, it is, and it is – and the FDA union seems well pleased with that result, saying the high court had confirmed the prohibition on bullying, discrimination and harassment in the ministerial code is justiciable in the courts.

This Writer doesn’t see how that helps, if the High Court is just going to rubber-stamp Johnson’s decisions, no matter how illogical they are.

Dave Penman, the union’s general secretary, said the court had determined that “the prime minister did not acquit the home secretary of bullying” and he “did not reject the findings of Sir Alex Allan that her conduct amounted to bullying”.

If that were true, then wouldn’t the court have said that the Ministerial Code was indeed breached and Patel should resign? Bullying is, by definition, unprofessional, improper and inappropriate.

Still, if nothing else it means This Site and others can call her a bully with impunity.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Riley’s lawyers attack Mike’s crowdfunding site

Before anyone comments, I know that UK courts don’t use the gavel. This is for illustrative purposes.

What are they afraid of?

Well, there’s a simple answer to that: Rachel Riley’s legal team knows that a judge’s decision to strike out my defence against her libel claims is not safe and wants to ensure that I don’t have the financial ability to challenge it.

Initially, according to my own solicitor (I don’t have any direct contact), Patron Law took a very strong line that many of the assertions in my updates on CrowdJustice had been proved to be defamatory by Mrs Justice Collins Rice’s judgment of January 20 and that my fundraising web pages should be taken down completely.

That has now been moderated. The firm now says it has written to CrowdJustice asking only for defamatory comments and updates to be removed. But Patron Law has not provided any information on what its members believe those comments and updates to be.

The demand would only be reasonable if I were not appealing against the judgment – and we all know that I am.

Already I have looked at the judgment in relation to the evidence I provided and have identified significant issues, in terms of both fact and law, where her judgment may be challenged. So my representatives will definitely be lodging an appeal.

This makes it entirely possible for the judgment to be cancelled (annulled?) and for my defence to be reinstated. If that happens, then it would be premature to remove any of the information from the CrowdJustice site.

I have to take a balanced view of this and have said to CrowdJustice that it is right to abide by the law and I will remove any words that offend against it at the appropriate time. Now is not the appropriate time.

Meanwhile – here’s the good news: since I made my desperate appeal for more funding, you have donated more than £9,000 to the CrowdJustice site – or to me personally. That’s in just three days! And most of it came in on the first day – around £7-8,000.

Because of this, I reached 90 per cent of my stated target and CrowdJustice asked me if I wanted to extend it. Considering the new financial demands – the appeal, costs of continuing the case in the High Court, the possibility of having to pay the costs of Riley’s application – I have raised it to £200,000.

I consider this to be a monstrous amount to have to pay for justice.

It really reinforces what I have said all along – that this case is not about the facts. It is an attempt to hijack the justice system and use it to bully somebody with fewer funds out of what little they have.

That is deplorable in itself.

The attempt to stop me from crowdfunding makes it very much worse.

My appeal is continuing and it is possible to contribute in these ways:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

You have given a lot in the last few days. Most significantly, you have given me hope.

There is more to do, though.

Let’s keep going. We can win.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

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Newspapers distort libel case to make it seem that Rachel Riley is winning. She isn’t

How sad to see that the London Evening Standard (oh, and Mail Online, although this is less surprising) is incapable of reporting a simple judgment in an ongoing libel case properly!

The High Court, in the case of Rachel Riley and Tracy-Ann Oberman v Jane Heybroek, has reached a judgment with regard to the meaning of the words that are at issue, and whether they are statements of fact or expressions of opinion.

And the Standard‘s interpretation of this judgment is arse-backwards.

“Rachel Riley and Tracy-Ann Oberman win first round of libel battle” trumpets the headline – wrongly. The judgment was neutral. Nobody has won or lost anything.

But if any advantage were gained, This Writer would say it had to have gone to Ms Heybroek.

Here are her own comments:

Note her words [italics mine]: “This was a hearing we asked for in order to narrow down the claimants’ claims and, in my opinion, we have successfully done so.”

“Significantly, the Judge has found that the first meaning… and the italicised words in the second meaning… were statements of opinion. This is a potentially crucial development because statements of opinion are afforded a defence where the basis of the opinion is indicated, and an honest person could have held the opinion on the basis of facts existing at the time.”

Reference to the judgment on the court website Bailii shows that Ms Heybroek’s representative, Mr Helme, won more points than the claimants’. Consider the Judge’s agreement with him at paragraphs 61, 63, 72, 75, 77, 79, 81 and 83; and the Judge’s disagreement with the claimants’ representative, Mr Stables, at paragraphs 58, 59, and 65.

In brief, Ms Heybroek won her arguments that the words at issue were expressions of opinion rather than statements of fact. Whether they were defamatory was never likely to be in doubt – but of course that doesn’t mean that they were libellous. If they were statements of honest opinion, and the facts on which they were based were accurate to the best of her knowledge at the time, then they were not.

And it is to be noted that these are all secondary considerations; Ms Riley and Ms Oberman’s complaint is not about an article by a third party (the matter on which this judgment is made) but about whether Ms Heybroek libelled them by retweeting a link to it. Ms Heybroek states: “Note that this ruling on meanings is without prejudice to my contention that I am not liable for publication of the article by virtue of my re-tweeting a tweet containing a hyperlink to it. That issue remains to be determined, either at trial or before.”

So it seems clear that Ms Heybroek won far more than Ms Riley or Ms Oberman. But that information seems to have zoomed right over the head of whoever reported the case to the Standard and the Mail.

Far be it from me to attribute malign intentions, but this failure of accurate reporting can have a serious harmful effect on justice.

Libel cases are hugely expensive and people like Ms Heybroek and myself – This Writer is fighting an ongoing case brought by Ms Riley, remember – cannot afford to defend against the accusations without help.

We ask sympathetic members of the public to support us with donations – but they may be discouraged from doing so, if they read or hear a report claiming that Ms Riley (and Ms Oberman, in Ms Heybroek’s case) is somehow winning.

Conversely, if they discover that such claims are false, I would hope members of the public would find their determination to support the defendants redoubled.

The expense of the hearing has put Ms Heybroek out-of-pocket. She is crowdfunding to pay for her case and if you can afford to help, her CrowdJustice site may be found here.

As for my own case – the request is the same as usual. Please:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, via my own CrowdJustice page.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

It would be nice to see Ms Riley and/or Ms Oberman distancing themselves from the inaccurate media reports.

But, considering my own belief that they would be as happy to win their cases by starving us of funds as they would in a courtroom, I fear I may have to wait a long time for that.

Source: Rachel Riley and Tracy-Ann Oberman win first round of High Court libel battle | London Evening Standard

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


Vox Political needs your help!
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(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
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1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

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And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
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HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

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