Wednesday, August 23, 2006

M74 Motorway Challenge & Lord Robertson`s action fail in Scottish Courts

Proving that at least, occasionally, common sense prevails in the Scottish Courts system .. Peter Cherbi reports in his blog "A Diary of Injustice in Scotland" at on two cases he is happy to see dismissed ...

A rare day of common sense in the Scottish Courts

Two good things happened in the Scottish Courts yesterday -

Lord George Robertson lost his latest action against the Sunday Herald for a false allegation that he was responsible for the Dunblane massacre, and, Friends of the Earth Scotland`s challenge to the M74motorway extension was thrown out.

Why are these good things ?

Well, referring to the first case, Lord Robertson, who initially sued the Sunday Herald in 2004 for £200,000 but had to settle for an offer of £25,000, was challenging a further article in the Sunday Herald reporting on what had actually happened, alleging it portrayed the former Labour defence secretary to be bullying or hypocritical.

Lord Reed said it did not, and dismissed the case, restoring common sense to entire affair.

However, you would have thought from reading Lord Robertson`s lawyer`s column in "The Scotsman", that some profound change of law was to come out of the first action, which, was supposedly handled by Bannatyne Kirkwood & France Solicitors Glasgow.

We all knew Lord Robertson was represented by BKF in Glasgow, because Campbell Deane - one of the many lawyers who write the legal professions point of view in "The Scotsman", admitted it in his own collumn, and bragged in 2004 that there would be fundamental changes to the law in defamation and how it would affect the internet, how people could be sued for what they write on bulletin boards (such as what had happened in the Sunday Herald case) ... and a lot more besides ..all by the hand of the great lawyer Mr Deane in this case, no doubt .. remember, that was in 2004.

Campbell Deane was still writing about that same subject on 16 March 2006 (see here - .. probably in an effort to give Robertson`s latest action a tasty reminder to the public - which it has had a few times, in those parts of the `lets hate the Sunday Herald/The Herald` sections of the Scottish media.

However, I noticed today that the Scotsman let John Robertson handle the defeat of Lord Robertson`s case at the hands of Lord Reed. How come ? was defeat too much for Campbell Deane to handle ? oh .. what a shame.

I had dealings myself with Campbell Deane .. after he wrote an article in his own Scotsman column that he wasn`t one of the crooked lawyers in Scotland who weasled their way out of representing clients in controversial cases.

I thought - oh, let`s see how good he is then .. so I emailed him, had a telephone chat with him over my cases - which you have read of on this site, and had the file sent to him.

Guess what ? - Yes, after reading my case files - he couldn`t represent me ... I suppose I could manage a laugh at that one ! But of course, my face doesn`t fit, as a client who has caused so much trouble for the Scottish legal profession - and certainly the likes of Deane couldn`t take on the likes of me, Peter Cherbi .... enemy of all crooked Scottish lawyers ... and after that little spat with Deane, I was told by journalists at Scotland on Sunday that news involving me had a blackout on it.

Oh well .. too bad .. I can`t deal directly with the Scotsman lads now anyway because of the group`s deal with the legal profession (one of the conditions I was told was - no Peter Cherbi stuff) .. with the last article recently in Scotland on Sunday only appearing because the Law Society of Scotland wanted to go after this blog and websites I contribute to... I wonder why they would want to do that ?

Is it because they are so afraid of the truth ? They don`t want people to know what happened in my case ? that senior members of the legal profession, incling Douglas Mill, James Ness, Philip Yelland, and the rest, bent over backwards to protect crooked lawyers Andrew Penman, David Sturrock, Michael Robson, David Reid, Nigel Hall, and a few others I`ve had to deal with over the years ?

I still get stories in The Scotsman - just through other means ... and you know what ? I get to hear plenty of what goes on there, but of course, I never reveal my sources.

One thing bothers me about the Lord Robertson case though.

Someone sent me the pages from the Sunday Herald website which had all the details on what was posted about Lord Robertson.

What concerns me, is that there was a lot of other details in those postings about things, admittedly nothing to do with Lord Robertson at all, which Deane has never bragged about, and everyone else, has never really mentioned. Why was that, exactly ? What about the `other stuff` ?

Of course, I cannot repeat those details here, but I`m sure someone will probably find a way of posting them somewhere on the internet, or to a journalist, some day, for investigation ... seems very strange though, that only part of the story came out ... not really all of it.

The other good thing which happened in the Scottish Courts yesterday, the m74 motorway challenge being thrown out - was good, because it should teach people a lesson not to trust their legal advice.

So, Friends of the Earth Scotland are proud to have fought this case and cost the taxpayer possibly up to £20million pounds, according to reports in "The Herald" Newspaper.

Well, that`s just fine then. Something to be proud of, is it ? bringing a legal action costing the taxpayer so much, which your legal counsel probably knew long ago would be thrown out anyway ?

What`s the term these days for idiotic legal cases trying to block progress, reduce city congestion and create jobs ? - and paying Scotlands legal profession to do it to boot ? I hope this serves as yet another testimonial to the silly goings on in our legal system in Scotland.

Lord Nimmo Smith`s comments added even more humour to the legal action when he apparently told Andrew Smith QC about the case - "There is no question of regarding it as frivolous.". Was this simply sarcasm or a comment to let Smith and the Pursuers legal team off the hook from claims of bringing a frivolous action ? ... we shall never know ... or .. shall we ?

Well, maybe Andrew Smith QC, senior counsel for the pursuers, should try taking on some legal aid cases for those poor people who are trying to sue crooked lawyers for negligence or bent mortgage deals instead - or is that a frivolous action too perhaps ? ..

My goodness - if he were to take my case on, he would get promoted to Sheriff in record time like my own QC, Alistair Dunlop ... took him less than a week !

Read on for the news reports on these two issues, from BBC News, and The Herald newspaper, respectively

Peer loses Dunblane damages bid

A bid by Lord Robertson to win further damages over a false allegation that he was responsible for the Dunblane massacre has been dismissed by a judge.

He accepted a £25,000 offer from the publishers of the Sunday Herald after suing for defamation over the claim on the paper's internet message board.

Lord Robertson then raised a further £25,000 action following subsequent coverage of the case in the newspaper.

But this has now been turned down at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

The former Nato Secretary General claimed that the article in the Sunday Herald repeated the false allegation that he was responsible for the massacre, in which 16 children and their teacher were killed by gunman Thomas Hamilton in 1996, before he shot himself.

'Reasonable reader'

Lord Robertson also maintained that the article set out to portray him as "an irrational bullying individual who raised spurious proceedings

The owners of the newspaper, Newsquest, disputed that the material was defamatory of Lord Robertson.

The judge, Lord Reed, said he could see nothing in the article to support the contention that it portrayed the former Labour defence secretary bullying or hypocritical.

He added: "My conclusion is that the Sunday Herald article, read as a whole, cannot be understood by an reasonable reader as making, repeating, circulating or giving currency to the allegation that the pursuer (Lord Robertson) was responsible for the Dunblane massacre."

"The whole tenor of the article is that the allegation against him was untrue and the article cannot reasonably be understood as adopting or repeating that allegation."
Failed M74 challenge costs £20m

Delays in beginning construction of the M74 extension in Glasgow caused by the legal challenge by green campaigners have added up to £20m to the bill, officials confirmed yesterday as the action collapsed in court.

The legal challenge by Friends of the Earth Scotland delayed the "missing link", connecting the M74 at the east of the city to the M8 at the Kingston Bridge, by two years.The collapse of the case at the Court of Session in Edinburgh yesterday now opens the way for work to start on the five-mile extension in 2008.

Transport Scotland, which implements Scottish Executive policy, said it expected the delay to result in increased costs of between £15m and £20m due to construction price and land inflation, but said the extension should still come in at a cost of between £375m and £500m.

The tender process for the contract will begin as soon as possible. Work is expected to be completed by the end of 2010.

Ministers gave approval for the development despite an independent public inquiry recommending strongly against the proposal, saying the link would ease traffic congestion.

The collapse of the legal challenge was welcomed by business leaders and Glasgow City Council. But green campaigners, who believe the link would cause environmental damage and rip the heart out of communities, described it as "the worst environmental decision since devolution".

FoE Scotland dropped its appeal yesterday against a decision by the Scottish Executive to press ahead with the M74 extension on legal advice after more than a day of legal submissions.

The case was being heard by Lord Nimmo Smith, Lord Philip and Lord Clarke at the Court of Session.Andrew Smith, QC, senior counsel for the environmental pressure group, admitted that the decision to abandon the case might "raise eyebrows".

However, Lord Nimmo Smith told him: "There is no question of regarding it as frivolous."

The court was told the executive would not be seeking expenses from campaign groups, although they will have to pay their own costs. Both the executive and FoE Scotland face legal bills of about £20,000.

Duncan McLaren, chief executive of FoE Scotland, saidits legal advisers concluded during opening submissions that the judges did not intend to accept the grounds of the appeal. After consulting the legal team campaigners decided it would be "irresponsible" to continue with the action.

He said: "We are enormously proud to have fought for economic and environmental justice for the disadvantaged communities of Glasgow south.

"It is with bitter disappointment that we have been forced to withdraw from this appeal."The case illustrates just how hard it is to get justice for communities and the environment in Scotland."

Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow, said: "The end of the court case in no way diminishes the clear case against this monstrous motorway project."

Steven Purcell, leader of Glasgow City Council, welcomed the news. He said: "The M74 extension will bring economic and social benefits to the entire west of Scotland.

"Not only will it help reduce congestion in different areas of Glasgow, it will help secure and create thousands of jobs. This project must now be delivered as quickly as possible to deliver all these benefits."

Alan Wilson, chief executive of the Scottish Council for Development and Industry, said: "This is good news for the Scottish economy. This is a strategically important project for the whole transport network."

A Transport Scotland spokeswoman added: "We are pleased the appeal has now been abandoned. It's unfortunate that this action has delayed the scheme by two years. However, we will now start work in earnest to prepare for tendering the scheme.

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