Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Carmarthenshire Council to pursue me for libel costs

I have learned, from today's Carmarthen Journal that the Executive Board, at it's secret meeting on the 21st March, resolved to join the queue and pursue me for the costs of the libel case from 2013, well, £190,000 of the costs.

I did not hear a thing from the council until 1pm today (30th) but had been told, on the 21st March by the head of legal, that I would be informed once all members had been notified of the decision. Whether they have been or not is not clear, but the Journal certainly has been notified, and appears, from the details within the article, to have information from the exempt reports.

However, executive leakage etc is rather by-the-by at the moment for Caebrwyn.

The email I received today at 1pm, from head of legal Linda Rees Jones merely provided me with a helpful link to the just-published minutes of the meeting and to announce that, in regards to the £190,000, they will be 'opening a dialogue' with me shortly.

As regards to the costs of the publicly funded illegal counterclaim, the Minutes state;
"That consideration of pursuing the costs awarded in the counter claim be deferred"
With the £41,000 counterclaim costs excluded, then this is not only a deliberate move to avoid a court challenge but a recognition of illegality, rendering Mr James' damages null and void. They can defer it all they like. It's been paid, it was public money and it was illegal - it's a mess.

It is not clear exactly how the council will try and enforce payment of the £190,000 cost order. They're not going to get it and are now going to spend even more good money going after zero. I'm as curious as I'm sure they are as to how they're going to do that. Perhaps they're going to bankrupt me themselves, saving Mr James the expense? The threats from his bailiffs continue. Not that that route would be productive, perhaps they'll demand blood instead.
Perhaps I should resort to fervent prayer like the Rev Dole, Mark James CBE and the rest.

I do not know what the report to the Executive Board stated or whether it was accurate. However what I do know was that in December 2011, around three months after my claim both  I and my solicitors were given to understand that a settlement had been reached which was agreeable to all sides.

Mr James had agreed to  retract his remarks and undertake not to repeat them, and he and the council had agreed to a contribution towards costs and nominal damages. I had also agreed, reluctantly, for the settlement to be confidential which was insisted upon, and which was of of paramount importance, to Mr James

For reasons which remain unknown, and to the consternation of both sets of solicitors, neither the council, nor Mr James followed through with this and shortly afterwards brought forward the counterclaim.

In my opinion, as soon as the whiff of an indemnity was in the air, the hotels and first class travel was booked and the civic limo was wheel spinning out of County Hall.

The result, for the taxpayer, was that the litigation and the costs escalated and cost hundreds of thousands pounds more than it might have done.

Mr James knew he would be indemnified - the defence and counterclaim, a complex and lengthy piece of work, was served two days after the original exec board meeting where he was given the blank cheque.

However, Plaid Cllr Dole's statement about the "interests of the public purse" don't seem to extend to Mark James' illegal counterclaim. Rather like they didn't extend to the £280,000 bung to the Scarlets to cover a debt.

Anyway, I'll let you know when I hear more.

The fight, clearly, goes on.

Recent post, March 18th; The matter of costs

Update 31st March, BBC Wales; Blogger Jacqui Thompson faces £190,000 court costs

Update 15th April; Chief executive threatens further legal action in the High Court and has reported me to the police, see Caebrwyn Under fire 


Anonymous said...

It's a great pity the councillors didn't consider the public purse when awarding Mark James his indemnity, which we shouldn't forget have been deemed unlawful. It is also worth remembering that there were offers to settle this without it going to the High Court which Mark James rejected. It has more a feeling of a vendetta than being in the interests of the public.

Anonymous said...

This has nothing to do with the money, and even less to do with the public purse - they've never been concerned about that - this is a very vindictive move by a handful of people who would like to stop Jacqui from telling the Carmarthenshire public the truth about County Hall.

Adam Dare said...

This is a disgrace. I despair.

Wavell said...

We should arrange a public meeting with the Plaid Councillors and ask questions.
Put them on the spot in public view (and film it ).

ErIndoors said...

I get the feeling that these oh so unchristian people who are baying for blood would be happier if there were still debtors' prisons where Jacqui could be incarcerated and silenced indefinitely.

This whole disgusting fiasco has come about because the gauleiter and his troops in county hall cannot bear to be criticised or questioned.

What a pass we have come to in this county.

Anonymous said...

A Very good suggestion Wavell.I have always said that councillors are equally culpable in that they have never challenged Mark James.I hardly think that grown men are terrified of him.
Not to worry though one never knows what is around the corner.

Buzzing.... said...

Truly sickening the way this poor woman has been treated.

Christian? There is nothing Christian about the way this man has behaved. He should hang his head in shame.

And.for this council? The locals should get rid of them. Now.

God help us if this a the behaviour of. True Christian