Litigation: Go in as Pigs, come out as Sausage Meat

Not convinced by the Tisers reporting of the current defamation case by the 3 MP against Collins of UKIP.

They don’t seem to understand the role of the Judges first ruling back in April that the UKIP Collins had made a statement that appeared to be factual, as against stating an allowable opinion.

In this circumstance she had a case to answer in terms of a potential defamation of the 3 MP.

It is complicated to explain, however in lay terms you could say that the Collins defence team tried to get the defamation case thrown out on a technicality, specifically that her words were fair opinion by a campaigning politician.

The Judge ruled otherwise on one point, meaning the litigation could continue, and has done.

While we can’t speak about details in this case, what would normally happen is that each sides legal  team would start to exchange documents and evidence, in the hope that an agreement can be reached without further recourse to Court, or only do so in the case of disputed damages or costs.

The thing the Tiser failed to understand is that back in April the Judge stated quite clearly that

“This trial has required me to consider only how the defendant’s words would have struck the ordinary reasonable member of her audience.” And he decided that the comment was made as if a, and appeared to be a statement of fact

However, he also said “It has been no part of my task to determine whether the meanings that I have found the words to bear are, or may be, defensible.”

In other words he was not commenting on whether Collins statements were accurate or not.

The best defence to a defamation allegation is to prove that the statement is truthfull…and the Judge left that to Collins to prove at a later stage.

What happens in most cases is either the defendant proves the validity of the statement or starts to discuss the terms of any damages.

If they can’t agree the statements were truthful, but the defendant is insistent, then the case goes back to court to adjudicate on the “truth.”

If both sides agree the statements were untruthful, then either they agree damages and costs or go back to Court for the Judge to adjudicate on them

We do not, at this moment know the course that Collins is pursuing. Being frank neither do the Tiser.

The Tiser however pre empted a potential Court decision, suggesting either one of the litigants had fed them the story…or they simply got it wrong.

Pity they didn’t read the Sheffield Telegraph back in April, they might then have understood.

Mary B Josephs

Refers to: http://www.rotherhamadvertiser.co.uk/news/101045/political-rivals-legal-case-adjourned.aspx

Due to legal constraints, I regret comments that stray from the point of this post into territory that is still before the court, cannot be published.

9 thoughts on “Litigation: Go in as Pigs, come out as Sausage Meat

  1. “In other words he was not commenting on whether Collins statements were accurate or not.”

    MBJ you appear to know more about the law than I do, so can you, or somebody else, explain how Sarah Champion has been defamed when she was not an MP during the period that CSE was alleged to have been committed and blind eyes turned? If Jane Collin’s statement that the town’s MPs were aware of what was going on is defamatory then unless she was named personally, it’s surely the beloved Denis MacShane that was being referred to and not her. The former chief inspector of social work Alexis Jay stated that the town’s “council” knew as far back as 2005 of widespread sexual exploitation by mostly Asian men, but failed to act. Not one person from the council is suing her for defamation!
    MBJ you say Jane Colin’s comment was made as if it appeared to be a statement of fact. The fact is that Sarah Champion wasn’t being referred to by name and wasn’t an MP at the time.
    Whether Jane Collin’s statement is true or false is immaterial if it was not Sarah Champion that was being referred to.

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    • What Malcontent says makes perfect sense. However as we know the law and sense do not always go together.
      Not one of the MPs was named personally. Sarah Champion has chosen to join with Barron and Healey to say that she was defamed and would like damages. Jane Collins argued along the same lines as Malcontent in April, you’d have thought that Collins would have known who she was talking about, but the Judge decided differently.

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  2. … and
    “The hearing was to determine meaning; whether the words were fact or comment; and whether the words referred to the third claimant (as none of them were named). Mr Justice Warby’s judgment provides a useful insight into how – from a practical, as well as legal, point of view – he approaches meaning applications. It is interesting too because the judge concluded that the words bore a higher meaning than either party was suggesting.”

    https://inforrm.wordpress.com/2015/05/27/case-law-barron-mp-v-collins-the-approach-to-meaning-in-political-speech-case-sara-mansoori/

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    • “The claim will therefore continue based on the meanings found by the judge; as he observed”

      “It was no part of his task to determine whether those meanings are, or may be, defensible”

      Thank you for that Anonymous on

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  3. I have a technical question. I have heard the last session was an ‘open court’ one, does this mean proceedings would therefore be reportable?

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  4. Common law requires a trial in open court; “open court” means a court to which the public has a right to be admitted. This term may mean either a court that has been formally convened and declared open for the transaction of its proper judicial business or a court that is freely open to spectators. Legal dictionary

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