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Angel Garden & Steve Paris court case: judgment

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Maria Mac
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Angel Garden & Steve Paris court case: judgment

#1 Postby Maria Mac » July 18th, 2015, 12:27 pm

As expected, Angel Garden/Steve Paris’ ill-conceived legal action against Andy Lewis and Melanie Byng has failed. Andy’s blog has statements from AL and MB and a link to the full judgment, handed down earlier this week. The judgment runs to 59 pages of compelling detail.

If I’d known, when I started these threads, what I know about them now having read that judgment, I would have kept well out of things. I didn’t know and couldn’t have imagined their worst behaviour and the lengths they would go to try to hurt people who have done nothing to them, except in their own minds. Nor did I truly believe in my heart of hearts that they didn’t at some level realise that they were on a hiding to nothing. Initially, I thought their threats of legal action were merely another attempt to browbeat and intimidate AL into giving in to them. I didn’t even know what their ongoing grievance against MB was. All I'd heard was some silly story about MB's son cutting short a stay with them in France. I now understand that they viewed MB as some kind of puppet master orchestrating a campaign of harassment against AG and SP. AG also made a particularly vile allegation against MB on one of her websites. On this particular accusation, it is worth highlighting what the judge says:

“There is not a scrap of evidence before me which would justify accusation, or even rational suspicion, that (MB) was [doing what AG accused her of]. This suspicion is, and was, irrational.”

He similarly found no evidence whatsoever that MB had asked people to attack them. On the contrary, as the judge pointed out, "the consistent thread of communications by [MB] is to encourage people not to engage publicly with the Claimants in relation to allegations of what did or did not transpire in relation to the ill-fated holiday in France".

One of the nuttiest things AG said was that MB's silence was "the height of aggression". The judge commented thus:

"The Claimants assert and believe that [MB] has, and has from the outset, been engaged in a campaign encouraging others to publish remarks critical or defamatory of the Claimants, but I find the material placed before me unpersuasive of this. The assertion by the Claimants that silence on the part of [MB] amounts to aggression, or indeed “the height of aggression”, is remarkable, and perhaps speaks for itself as to whether the Claimants have any reliable evidence of what is asserted against [MB] as malice."

Bizarrely, AG - who claims to be a feminist - also wrote to MBs husband's employer complaining that he "would let his wife do that". The judge's response was spot-on:

"If it is a somewhat Victorian notion that a husband should control what his wife says, it is extraordinary that the Claimants should have approached the university, plainly asking them to reconsider his continuing employment at the university, not on the basis of anything he said but on the basis that “at the very least he has been knowingly allowing his wife to target and vilify others..."" (judge's emphasis)

Many times over the past few years I have been struck by the irony of AG/SP public allegations against AL and others. They were accusing them, especially AL, of doing exactly what they were doing themselves: of harassing, bullying, smearing, victimising (and, in collusion with MB of getting others to do the same) and much more besides. Here are a few samples from the judge’s response:

“ In my judgment these accusations [against AL] were wholly unfounded, and they were attacks upon him.”

“In fact, there had been no publication on [AL’s] part which justified these allegations.”

“[AG/SP] comments are iterative, repeated and vigorous. They certainly seek to denigrate [AL] and to force him to accept on his private blog comments by them which he had made clear he did not wish published on that blog. On their own face, they are vituperative attacks on [AL]”.

The judge found no evidence that anything AL had written “could be characterised as dishonest, smearing of their reputation collusively with others, or victimisation of the Claimants”.

“In my judgment it is demonstrated that from late February 2012 to the date of the [AL’s] blog post of 9 November 2012, the Claimants pursued a campaign disparaging, insulting, and besetting of him, and the gist of his statement that “since February I have ignored and filtered out their constant harassment by blog, tweet and video, both of myself and of others” is justified as true in relation to himself.”

“I consider that the persistence tone and frequency of the accusations made by the Claimants against the [AL] prior to this post, when read together with this threat of legal action, can justifiably be described as bullying.”

So the judge agrees with me after all – if only they’d listened to me in the first place and stopped this madness before doing themselves the irrevocable harm of having a judgment like that against them and in the public domain. I couldn’t begin to speculate on the financial cost. While I feel vindicated, I don't feel joyful or anything because everyone involved has been hurt even though for SP/AG it has been self-inflicted. I also deeply regret the shit (sorry, I can’t think of a better word) caused by my tweet of November 2012, in which I linked to AL’s blog post about them while accusing them of “lying, bullying, harassing...”. This was retweeted by MB, by Alan H and by one other. Of the four of us, they took action only against MB, suggesting an irrational and obsessive hatred of her alone. The lesson learned is that in law, even when people are saying things that are malicious and demonstrably untrue you mustn’t call it ‘lying’. While the judge clearly states that the words 'bullying' and 'harassing' were justified (see above), on the accusation of lying he says this:

“The Claimants, it has become clear, had no such objective “proof” as to this; but more generally I find on the balance of probabilities that they had an unshakeable belief (whether justified or not) in the accusation they made.”

If you have an unshakeable belief in what you say, you are not intentionally lying. This much I accept and wish now I’d not accused them of it. I wonder what the judge would have said if I’d used the word ‘delusional’ instead?

Anyway, hopefully this is the end of the matter and that they will cause no more hurt to others and damage to themselves and they will take down all the disgusting and unsupportable allegations they have made. But I won't hold my breath. I might lock the other two threads but they'll remain on view as long as all their nasty stuff about other people does.

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Re: Angel Garden & Steve Paris judgment

#2 Postby animist » July 21st, 2015, 8:59 am

[Edited by admin] If they had any financial resources left, I imagine AG/SP would be appealing the judgment thru the legal process, not to mention targeting - guess who - the judge. I've read pretty well all the full version of the judgment. I really think that you are safe, Athena, and do sympathise with the nagging fear that has naturally beset you through this madness :smile:
Last edited by Maria Mac on July 21st, 2015, 10:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: to remove inaccuracy

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Re: Angel Garden & Steve Paris judgment

#3 Postby Maria Mac » July 21st, 2015, 11:51 am

Sorry I had to edit your post, Animist. Yes, I can imagine their grounds for appeal would be 'the judge doesn't see things our way therefore he is wrong'. :headbang:

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Re: Angel Garden & Steve Paris judgment

#4 Postby Maria Mac » August 16th, 2015, 9:55 pm

Confirmation:

https://twitter.com/lecanardnoir/status ... 6823221248

No appeal, so far as I know. :party:

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Re: Angel Garden & Steve Paris judgment

#5 Postby Melanie Byng » September 3rd, 2015, 2:38 pm

Athena: update: We understand that the Claimants have submitted an application for permission to appeal the judgment and for a stay of execution (related to the Costs Order).

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Re: Angel Garden & Steve Paris judgment

#6 Postby Maria Mac » September 3rd, 2015, 2:43 pm

Thanks Melanie. :sad:

I can't imagine they'll get permission to appeal. More time and money-wasting.

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Re: Angel Garden & Steve Paris judgment

#7 Postby Melanie Byng » September 3rd, 2015, 2:51 pm

The application will be heard by 14th October.

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Re: Angel Garden & Steve Paris judgment

#8 Postby Tetenterre » September 4th, 2015, 9:20 am

Vaguely relevant to those with an interest in this: as well as the twitter names with which we are familar, one (or maybe both) of them seem to also tweet as @Steinermentary (I'll probably find that I'm the only one who didn't know that! :D )
Steve

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Re: Angel Garden & Steve Paris judgment

#9 Postby Maria Mac » September 4th, 2015, 12:31 pm

Well I certainly knew it! And, yes, I think both use it. One of their websites is called Steinermentary and it is where they have made some of their most vicious defamatory comments. IIRC, each of them also has a second personal twitter account making five altogether between the two of them.

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Re: Angel Garden & Steve Paris judgment

#10 Postby Melanie Byng » September 7th, 2015, 12:51 pm

Yes, Tetenterre, the twitter handles are @steinermentary @Amazonnewsmedia @AngelGarden @sjparis

They also at one time used @Bullied_by_TRSS @SteveInExile @safetotell

It's my understanding that SP set up @animalsinsuits for a friend called Keith.

If the appeal isn't granted I expect to see a complaint to the UN regarding a violation of Human Rights. :)

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Re: Angel Garden & Steve Paris judgment

#11 Postby Tetenterre » September 7th, 2015, 1:44 pm

Ah. Thanks, Melanie. :smile:
Steve

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Re: Angel Garden & Steve Paris judgment

#12 Postby Alan H » September 7th, 2015, 5:15 pm

Melanie Byng wrote:Yes, Tetenterre, the twitter handles are @steinermentary @Amazonnewsmedia @AngelGarden @sjparis

They also at one time used @Bullied_by_TRSS @SteveInExile @safetotell

It's my understanding that SP set up @animalsinsuits for a friend called Keith.

If the appeal isn't granted I expect to see a complaint to the UN regarding a violation of Human Rights. :)
I hope the UN will drop everything and concentrate all their efforts on that before getting back to the Syrian refugee problem...
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Re: Angel Garden & Steve Paris judgment

#13 Postby Maria Mac » September 7th, 2015, 6:23 pm

Melanie Byng wrote:It's my understanding that SP set up @animalsinsuits for a friend called Keith.

:hilarity:

If...ahem..."Keith" was unable to set up his own twitter account, one can only wonder whether he could learn how to use one set up for him.

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Re: Angel Garden & Steve Paris judgment

#14 Postby Melanie Byng » September 7th, 2015, 7:59 pm

I long to meet Keith.

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Re: Angel Garden & Steve Paris judgment

#15 Postby Melanie Byng » November 2nd, 2015, 3:40 pm

Hello everyone! Re the appeal: no update, there's been a delay. We should hear more later this month.

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Re: Angel Garden & Steve Paris judgment

#16 Postby Alan H » November 2nd, 2015, 5:30 pm

Melanie Byng wrote:Hello everyone! Re the appeal: no update, there's been a delay. We should hear more later this month.
Thanks, Melanie.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Melanie Byng
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Re: Angel Garden & Steve Paris judgment

#17 Postby Melanie Byng » January 22nd, 2016, 9:50 am

In my ignorance I didn't realise how long the appeal court takes to review a case and grant or refuse permission to appeal. Fortunately the decision was made on 15th January to refuse permission on paper. An estimated time of 45 minutes has been allocated for a hearing. If anyone is interested the details are on the Case Tracker for Civil Appeals and the case number is 20152839

It's now two years since this bizarre process began and we hope matters are settled soon. We're grateful to everyone who supported us.

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Re: Angel Garden & Steve Paris judgment

#18 Postby Maria Mac » January 22nd, 2016, 10:48 am

Thanks for the very welcome but totally unsurprising update, Melanie. :kiss:

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Re: Angel Garden & Steve Paris judgment

#19 Postby Melanie Byng » January 22nd, 2016, 12:29 pm

many thanks :wink:

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Alan H
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Re: Angel Garden & Steve Paris judgment

#20 Postby Alan H » January 22nd, 2016, 12:48 pm

Case tracker is here. Enter 20152839.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?


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