Sunday, 22 March 2015

Plaid Cymru's Neil McEvoyordered to pay Labour rival Michael Michael £50k

 Wales Online report that A senior Plaid Cymru councillor has been ordered to pay a Labour rival £50,000 before April 10 after withdrawing a libel action over a leaflet in which he was described as Del Boy.Neil McEvoy, who leads the Plaid group on Cardiff council, was the authority’s deputy leader for four years until 2012.In 2011 he began a defamation claim against Michael Michael, at the time a former Labour councillor (who he serened to have a long running feud with)   whom he had defeated in the city’s Fairwater ward.Mr Michael has since returned to the council, representing another part of the city. He currently chairs the planning committee.

The leaflet at the heart of the case carried an imprint saying it was “printed and promoted” by Mr Michael, and included a cartoon of Del Boy from the TV comedy series Only Fools and Horse with Coun McEvoy’s face superimposed on it.Barristers representing the two rivals put forward legal arguments last year at a High Court hearing in Cardiff on whether it is defamatory to refer to a public figure as “Del Boy”.

David Hughes, for Mr McEvoy, said:

“We all know who Del Boy is. He’s not to be trusted. He’s a rogue. Which of us would like to be compared to Del Boy?”But Hugh Tomlinson QC, for Mr Michael, said: “The comparison between Del Boy and the claimant wouldn’t be taken literally by readers of the leaflet.“Suggesting that Coun McEvoy is like Del Boy Trotter because he is a roguish character and a fantasist is obviously a comment rather than a statement of fact and can’t be read in any other way.”
 Don't you just love the way Barristers can twist words . But it is silly that this went to court  and maybe we should have a system Election Officers approving leaflets.

Candidates could produce what they wanted and not get approval but would risk a new election  of guide lines .

But with hundreds of leaflets being produced it may b impracticable   to implement . But we should have clearer guide lines  on Negative Campaigning . and some kind of way of  countermanding what is becoming more and more candidates slagging of thier  opponents  personally rather than tell us what they would do.  

I have ben unable to find the reference  but I believe when Mr Michael was first defeated  by Plaids Mcevoy it was the former who threatened to sue  over a leaflet.So this spat has been going on for same time.

On legal advice, Mr McEvoy recently decided to withdraw the claim.A court order issued by Judge Judge Andrew Keyser QC said Mr McEvoy should pay one quarter of Mr Michael’s costs of the preliminary issues, and all his costs since April 2013. He must pay a £50,000 share of these costs within three weeks pending an assessment of how much should be paid in total.

Mr McEvoy said:
 With hindsight, I now regret having started this action.“I have developed a thicker skin, and in future if I dislike something written about me I will write a leaflet of my own instead of issuing a writ. I’m covered by libel insurance, but I don’t think anyone has gained from this case going to court.This is the end of it, and it’s time to move on.”

Lets hope so Politicians should stick to confronting each other  on the hustings  and the Parliamentary ,Assembly or  Council Chamber  rather than in the Courts

Because I don't have libel insurance if you are going to make a comment please be careful . I don't want to censor anyone,

3 comments:

  1. Glyn. Not £50k but £150k! £50k is the interim payment by April 10. The other £100k supposed to be covered by legal insurance but the firm is kicking off over the initial case assessment - he may get part or none of that cover. Cushty.

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  2. The article ignores the fact the senior Cardiff Labour Councillors, at least ten, were involved in compiling a leaflet which from the judgement was clearly led by Fairwater Councillor Paul Mitchell (para 18 and 23). Councillor Mitchell went to some lengths, at least seven versions, to get his point across his reasons in para 18 are at odds with the content of the leaflet para 18 "to respond to what he regarded as misleading and unduly personal propaganda" To do this rather than focus on their campaigning they went on an "attack format!!!"

    What I find extraordinary in all this is that firstly Councillor Mitchell, who promotes himself as a publisher or author, produced what the judge called an "unexceptional leaflet", I wonder if what he writes is also "unexceptional" and secondly, that nine, yes nine other Welsh Labour people completely failed to show any commonsense and reign this in! Is this the standard of Welsh Labour in Cardiff? Are these people not adults?

    Councillor McEvoy clearly has realised that there is little point pursuing these individuals. The lawyers will win again. Michael, Mitchell et al can take some satisfaction that their costs at least in part are paid but they should be investigating why this happened and they should start with the author of the piece. The outcome could have been far worse for them at para 94 the judge considered a statement "defamatory". Does Welsh Labour condone such behaviour, I wonder if they took any action?

    Maybe someone from the ten, or Welsh Labour, can respond and tell us the cost of the leaflet and explain exactly what this leaflet did or was going to do for the people of Cardiff?

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  3. From what I know of the case, the leaflet was a response to the incredibly personal leaflets and social media comments favoured by the Plaid Cymru leader in Cardiff - which he still does. Lowering the tone to that level was not a smart move obviously. The leaflet was out in 2010 but the court action started in Feb 2012 and clearly intended to bully Mitchell and Michael from standing and campaigning with legal action. Having grasped the tiger by the tail, McEvoy was unable to let go as Michael and Mitchell fought it all the way. Don't get me wrong, I am no fan of any of these individuals, but the defendants refused to budge as the stakes rose so McEvoy is now on the receiving end of massive costs. I was only interested in the case as the first part set a major significant precedent in that anyone putting their name to a political leaflet is legally responsible for the content. Labour seems to have reigned (sic) in Mitchell and Michael but Plaid can't seem to do the same to McEvoy who almost knocked Leanne Wood off her list seat shoe-in. Those Plaid attack leaflets also do nothing for debate or for Cardiff so the previous commentator should ask that question of them as well. Personally, a pox on all their houses!

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