madaxeman

April 30, 2013

Reflections on #DaftArrest

Filed under: Uncategorized — madaxeman @ 7:56 pm
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Well, it’s been a couple of months now since the #DaftArrest trial was heard before The High Court, and I’ve spent them in reflective mood. I thought that now, since I am both well overdue for a blog post, and also somewhat calmer than in the days immediately after the case, I might take a more considered look back at events. There are, after all, important things to say.

Ok – as a result of reading the judgement, I am now aware of a good deal of history between Jacqui Thompson and the council of which I was previously unaware. I didn’t realise for instance that she had conducted sit in protests, or that her history was quiet so … extensive?

But hang on a minute – it doesn’t really matter, does it? She never painted herself as a friend of the council, and merely having a dispute with the council doesn’t mean that she should expect to be treated any differently than anyone else. She had every bit as much right as anyone else in the public gallery to protest about democratic accountability, and I believe the judge even recognised that, going so far as to mention it in his written judgement.

The Council / Mr. James seemed to be suggesting throughout the case that her protests surrounding the issue of filming council meetings was somehow motivated by and represented a continuing harassment centred around her earlier libel dispute with the council. To my own mind, that remains far from proven – indeed, I don’t think any evidence was presented to even support it. It is only natural that, considering herself wronged in one matter, she would elect to give far more concern to the activities of the council.

Perhaps an example… If I take my car for a repair to the brakes which failed after I had them in last time, and whilst in the garage I hear from other customers that their steering has become faulty following work undertaken there, am I wrong to wonder about my own steering? Is it unreasonable that I might consider calling for more scrutiny on the steering? If I do make such a call, does it really follow that it is motivated by my earlier problem with the brakes? Should the garage, when I complain publicly about shortcomings in their steering, really be able to claim that I’m merely pissed off about the brakes?

To my mind, it is ridiculous to claim that Mrs. Thompson has conducted a campaign of harassment. Mr. James mentioned in his post on this blog that her family had tried to visit a member of staff, at home, without an appointment to discuss their grievances. This relates to an incident where in truth her husband set off, alone, to visit Mr. Bowen – the then Head of Planning.

What Mr. James mysteriously fails to mention is both:

  • Mr. Thompson realised he was being stupid, and turned back of his own accord before ever visiting Mr. Bowen’s property, and

  • Mrs. Thompson, the lady who apparently conducts such vitriolic, bitter campaigns of harassment against the council, actually called the police to intercept her husband. Not an easy decision as we can all imagine, and not the sort of thing we might expect from a death of glory die hard nemesis of the council.

I’ve always felt Mrs. Thompson’s campaign for better democratic accountability in Carmarthenshire to be both sincere and motivated by the public interest, and I have yet to see any evidence that might tempt me to change that view.

Another questionable issue of the judgement, at least in my opinion, is that the judge finds that Mrs. Thompson attempted to pervert the course of justice when she reported what she viewed as an attempt to steal her mobile phone to the local police.

To my understanding, an attempt to pervert the course of justice requires a deliberate mind – it’s not something you can accidentally do – and must very much be the objective of your actions. With that in mind, let’s consider what happened… The witnesses to the incident had, in court, to admit that they hadn’t been able to see what had actually happened. Mrs. Thompson speaks of an attempt to grab her phone, and it’s important here to understand that in law an act of theft requires an attempt to permanently deny someone their property. Would Mrs. Thompson have known that? Would you? That someone taking your phone, by force, is not necessarily an act of theft?

Even so, Mrs. Thompson merely reports what happened to the police – honestly and accurately. I’ve not spoken to her about this so I don’t know what happened, but I presume the police told her that the offence wasn’t made out. Did she fabricate further evidence? No. Did she appeal their decision? No. Can it, in short, be said that she tried to pervert the course of justice? No.

It looks as though Mrs. Thompson might well now be considering an appeal. I hope she find some success in it – because what she has been dealt out with by the court didn’t smell much like justice to me…

 

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10 Comments »

  1. I was shocked you had your own private communications scrutinised and made public in the High Court as part of that libel hearing – why? It wasn’t a criminal proceeding and you were only a witness, neither a complainant nor defendant, so it’s not clear to me what justification there was for intruding on your privacy. Who was it who requested details of your private communications from Twitter, I can’t imagine Mr James’ own private legal team being able to any more than you or I, so was it Carmarthenshire County Council on his behalf? Did Twitter know there was no crime being investigated when they acquiesced to this request and that rather it was just about who said something mean about who? Did they say if it was done invoking the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000? I’m no expert of course but Wikipedia’s page on RIPA has a section on ‘agencies with investigatory powers’, which lists county councils as one such agency with investigatory powers so I shall presume for the minute that CCC decided to use their investigatory powers under the RIPA act to snoop on the communications of a Doncaster private citizen to assist a libel case of an employee – resources Jackie would not have been able to make use of herself. If so, heavy handed, one-sided, not what the RIPA act was meant for (brought in as anti-terrorism legislation!), not done to further the interest of the people the council is elected to serve.

    Comment by Bob — May 1, 2013 @ 4:32 pm | Reply

    • Hi Bob,

      I’ve had a conversation with Jacqui since the hearing, and it seems that rather than trawling my communications, they instead simply used evidence that Jacqui’s legal team disclosed – and they had access to everything Jacqui had – ie all communication between us. I was, and indeed still am, a little put out by that – but it wasn’t a deliberate act on Jacqui’s part, and at the end of the day she’s been through a lot – doesn’t need me pointing the finger over something that is, at the end of the day, fairly minor.

      Had CCC used RIPA against me, I would have responded rather more forcefully to them,

      You’re right to raise concerns about the sheer breadth of organisations who have recourse to RIPA powers though – it’s a big list – far too big a list. really.

      I don’t know what happens from here – if Jacqui does appeal, she will have my support, and I might be required to attend court again – we’ll see how that goes. I have mixed views really – I firmly believe she is the victim of a miscarriage of justice, I just hope she doesn’t provoke a more severe one by appealing… If she does appeal, I will be 100% behind her – noone has to apologise for wanting justice done.

      Comment by madaxeman — May 1, 2013 @ 11:27 pm | Reply

  2. The Case against Miss Jaqui Thompson should be revoked as null and void because the Libel decision was based on GIA/3037/2011 Alan M Dransfield V ICO and Devon County Council which is currently awaiting a Hearing date from the Court of Appeal.

    The Dransfield case, which is being relied upon by several unscrupulous PA’s Nationwide and indeed was relied upon by the ICO with his new 37 page Vexatious guidelines.
    Let us just review the facts on the GIA Case:
    1.The UT Judge Wikeley relied on 13 Ghost Documents which were apparently destroyed during a live trial.He failed to ensure compliance with his own Court Order.
    2.The Rugby Ground which was the foundation of my FOIA request was devoid of any Lightning Protection Systems since 2006.This has since been well documented in the publication of the Operations Maintenance Manual (OMM).
    3.Any Court Case relying on the GIA/30337/2011 Dransfield Case is UNSAFE.

    Anyone requiring any further info on this GIA Dransfield Case, please don’t hesitate to to contact me.

    Comment by ALAN M DRANSFIELD — July 16, 2013 @ 5:24 am | Reply

    • Thanks for the comment Alan – which I have brought to Jacqui’s attention…

      Comment by madaxeman — July 18, 2013 @ 7:19 am | Reply

  3. I am please to see Miss Jaqui Thompson has prevailed and the earlier Libel Decsion looks to be on thin ice.
    My own particular FOIA case GIA/30337/2011 against the ICO and Devon CC is STILL under application at the Court of Appeal.
    watch this space

    Comment by Alan M Dransfield — October 18, 2013 @ 6:07 am | Reply

  4. The Court of Appeal has made a decision on my case ref GIA/3037/2011 Dransfield v ICO&Devon County Council but I am now awaiting the written decision notice
    .
    Watch this space.

    Comment by ALAN M DRANSFIELD — February 18, 2014 @ 8:46 am | Reply

  5. The Court of Appeal have refused my application to appeal GIA/3037/2011 Wikely decision. Quel surprise,Lord Justice Kay claims, I was out of time which is Bullshit, as I was well inside the 21 day CoA mandate for appeal.
    Needless to say I have appealed the CoA decision.
    Watch this space

    Comment by ALAN M DRANSFIELD — February 23, 2014 @ 8:11 am | Reply

  6. I was successful in my appeal against the Court of Appeal Decision and I have another CoA hearing on the 6 th June solely on the argument if my appeal to them was within their time frame of 21 days
    I say it was.

    Comment by ALAN M DRANSFIELD — March 13, 2014 @ 6:50 am | Reply

  7. Sorry I have not updated this for so long. I was successful at the Court of Appeal in June this year and they have now granted me permission to appeal Judge Wikley’s vexatious decision but SOLELY on the interpretation of VEXATIOUS. No new evidence will be allowed and I have also been accepted by a Pro Bono QC.
    Recently, an UT Judge refused my application for:

    1. Copy of the Audio Tape recording of a recent UT hearing
    2. a copy of his notes.
    3. a PDF copy of the UT hearing in London dated 16th Oct 14 GIA/1642/2014

    In the meantime the ICO have handed down 300+ vexatious decsion based on the Dransfield Case.??!

    Comment by Alan M Dransfield — November 3, 2014 @ 8:04 am | Reply

  8. My CoA hearing in London is scheduled for next week Tues or Wed(TBC) I have a Pro Bon Barrister from 7 BR . I understand Mrs Craven is also in the CoA on the same subject,ie DEFINITION OF VEXATIOUS .
    Amazingly the FOIA has operated for a decade WITHOUT and Legal Definition of VEXATIOUS.

    This is the LAST CHANCE SALOON for the FOIA and the ICO, if I lose my case,Joe Public will be gagged forever and if I win, Dransfield will become the SAVIOUR of the FOIA 2000.

    Rest assured,if I lose, I shall continue the BATTLE to the Supreme Court and the ECHR as I consider this vexatious nonsense it an attack on my Human Rights to seek Public Authority Information.

    Comment by Alan M Dransfield — January 25, 2015 @ 7:27 am | Reply


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