Advertising
 
Posted by: John Brace | 4th July 2014

Wirral Council takes 5 minutes to U-turn on libel threat over Graham Burgess golf email to councillors

Wirral Council takes 5 minutes to U-turn on libel threat over Graham Burgess golf email to councillors

                           

Wirral Host of the Open Championship 2014

Yesterday’s blog post about Graham Burgess inviting councillors to the Open Golf Championship seems to have hit a raw nerve somewhere at Wirral Council as it led to an email from Wirral Council’s Head of Legal and Member Services being sent to myself this morning which in the interests of openness and transparency I include below (along with a further email from Surjit Tour five minutes later withdrawing his original email and my response to the original email).

from: Tour, Surjit
to: John Brace
date: 4 July 2014 10:06
subject: Your Blog – (A Blog about Wirral Council, Wirral Council’s Councillors and Officers) – Fraudulent Email
mailed-by: wirral.gov.uk

Dear Mr Brace

Your Blog – (A Blog about Wirral Council, Wirral Council’s Councillors and Officers) – Fraudulent Email

It has been brought to my attention that you have posted on your blog (referred to above) an entry dated 3 July titled “Graham Burgess invites Wirral Council Councillors to 5 days of the Open Gold Championship”.

The blog purports to include an email dated 12 June 2014 (timed at 11:49) from Graham Burgess to Wirral Councillors. The content of the email has been edited and is fraudulent and misleading.

This is clearly a serious matter and I formally request that you immediately remove the email and the associated commentary concerning this subject matter from your blog.

The Council would prefer to avoid taking action in respect of this entry; however, I must put you on notice that the Council will have little alternative but to consider alternative action should you refuse or fail to remove this entry from your blog forthwith.

I would be grateful if you would confirm how you came into possession of the aforementioned email and/or its content.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Surjit Tour
Head of Legal & Member Services
and Monitoring Officer

Department of Transformation and Resources
Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council
Town Hall
Brighton Street
Wallasey
Wirral
CH44 8ED

Tel: 0151 691 8569
Fax: 0151 691 8482
Email: surjittour@wirral.gov.uk

Visit our website: www.wirral.gov.uk

**********************************************************************
This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and
intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they
are addressed. If you have received this email in error please notify
the system manager.
This footnote also confirms that this email message has been swept by
MIMEsweeper for the presence of computer viruses.
www.clearswift.com
**********************************************************************

from: Tour, Surjit
to: John Brace
date: 4 July 2014 10:11
subject: Recall: Your Blog – (A Blog about Wirral Council, Wirral Council’s Councillors and Officers) – Fraudulent Email
mailed-by: wirral.gov.uk

Tour, Surjit would like to recall the message, “Your Blog – (A Blog about Wirral Council, Wirral Council’s Councillors and Officers) – Fraudulent Email”.

**********************************************************************

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and
intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they
are addressed. If you have received this email in error please notify
the system manager.
This footnote also confirms that this email message has been swept by
MIMEsweeper for the presence of computer viruses.
www.clearswift.com

**********************************************************************

Dear Mr. Tour,

Thank you for your email. Might I take the opportunity to correct you that you have given it an incorrect title using “Open Gold Championship” instead of “Open Golf Championship” .

You state “The content of the email has been edited and is fraudulent and misleading.” yet you do not specify how the email has been edited, or is fraudulent or misleading.

You ask me to remove the associated commentary, which I presume by that you mean comments left by individuals in response to the blog post. Respectfully I direct you to The Defamation (Operators of Websites) Regulations 2013 in respect of the blog post and comments.

Regulation 2 requires a notice of complaint to contain the information outlined below (along with other legal requirements not specified here):

(c) set out the aspects of the statement which the complainant believes are

(i) factually inaccurate; or

(ii) opinions not supported by fact;

which your email does not.

In respect of comments that I have not written on that blog post, as a valid notice of complaint has not been received, s. 5(2) of the Defamation Act 2013 states “It is a defence for the operator to show that it was not the operator who posted the statement on the website.”

I might also point out there is existing case law which bans “The Council” starting a libel action.

I refer you to the famous case law in this matter which was decided in the House of Lords in Derbyshire County Council v. Times Newspapers Limited and others and I quote from that judgement “The same applies, in my opinion, to local authorities. In both cases I regard it as right for this House to lay down that not only is there no public interest favouring the right of organs of government, whether central or local, to sue for libel, but that it is contrary to the public interest that they should have it. It is contrary to the public interest because to admit such actions would place an undesirable fetter on freedom of speech.”

Thank you for your request asking me “I would be grateful if you would confirm how you came into possession of the aforementioned email and/or its content.”

If I was to reveal the source of the email, it would damage my reputation as the press have to protect their sources of information. I’m sorry but I cannot tell you.

Yours sincerely,

John Brace

If you click on any of the buttons below, you’ll be doing me a favour by sharing this article with other people.


Responses

  1. We have been here before with Adderley and James Griffiths.

    I have been here with D Garry and “you have never mentioned Working Neighbourhoods in any of your interviews” with a swift return from me of the quotes from the same interview transcripts where most definitely I had.

    Who are these highly paid people?? and why are they highly paid??

  2. It’s a tough job and methinks Mr Tour may be smarting a little.

    goo.gl/nTCI6t

  3. G’day John

    I am actually starting to feel terribly sad for these fools.

    Ooroo

    James

    Ps It is embarrassing to see them at the Clown hall.

  4. Rats in a nest can be quite vicious.

  5. G’day John

    I hate to correct you oh wise and brilliant blogger but I do believe Sir Git had it right the first time.

    It has been brought to my attention that you have posted on your blog (referred to above) an entry dated 3 July titled “Graham Burgess invites Wirral Council Councillors to 5 days of the Open Gold Championship”.

    Ooroo

    James

    Ps How thick is his skin to keep defending the indefensible?

    Just for money.

  6. […] As to blogs, well it was about a month ago that Wirral Council made a threat of a libel lawsuit (which was withdrawn five minutes later) against this blog with regards to a comment…. […]

  7. […] Lord Devices starting to look furious replied, “Leaks! Who’s been leaking stuff?!” as his blood pressure rose to unsafe levels “Really, I thought we’d clamped down on leaks!!! Didn’t we threaten that blogger recently for printing leaks?” […]


Categories