SCARBOROUGH BOROUGH COUNCIL have threatened legal action (civil and criminal) against me, against Real Whitby, and against the Corruption Busters. This threat seeks to silence criticism of corrupt elected members and paid public servants, to curtail the freedom of the press and to squander the public purse on a futile attem to cover up all manner of wrong-doing. It is also the single worst example of an incompetent solicitor’s letter that I have ever seen in my life. It will also back-fire into the worst PR disaster by any Council in the country. Please Share as widely as possible to help achieve that.
Head of Service: Lisa Dixon DX: 719232 SCARBOROUGH 5
Scarborough Borough Council
28 March 2013
l am a solicitor and Head of Legal and Democratic Services at Scarborough Borough Council.
It has come to the Counci|’s attention that articles published on the abovementioned website contain defamatory and untrue comments which are harmful to Scarborough Borough Council, its Officers and Members and which have or will hinder the ability of the Council to discharge a number of its functions.
Upon inspection of the website it is noted that you are one of the authors of the offending material. It is noted that you hold yourself out to be an “investigative journalist”. This being the case, you are under the same obligations as the rest of the media to ensure that:
1. the sources of your information are verified;
2. comment is sought from those being criticised before the article is published; and
3. the article is fair, balanced and even-handed
You (and others) have consistently failed to take the steps outlined above. As a result, the website contains malicious, untrue and defamatory material in relation to which the subjects of the statements made have been denied the right to comment until after publication, if at all.
Scarborough Borough Council considers that the publication of some of the articles and comments currently on the website is likely to constitute criminal activity.
At the very least, Scarborough Borough Council is satisfied that many of the articles and comments published amount to actionable breaches of civil law.
It is Scarborough Borough CounciI’s position that many of the articles authored by yourself contain statements that are highly defamatory of officers and councillors and which seek to damage the reputation of the Council itself and amount to actionable instances of defamation for which the Council, or individuals would be entitled to bring legal proceedings against you.
Should legal proceedings be initiated against you in respect of defamation then it is unlikely that you would be able to defend any claim on the basis of justification, honest comment or qualified privilege due to your failure to verify information, seek comment or present a balanced story.
Scarborough Borough Council expect that you are able to evidence the truthfulness of any articles or comments that you write and Scarborough Borough Council may chose to test your ability to evidence such truthfulness by initiating proceedings at court if it is felt that you have failed to comply with the terms of this letter.
Should you continue to publish untrue and defamatory statements (whether on the website referred to above or elsewhere) then it is likely that Scarborough Borough Council will initiate legal proceedings against you. If this is the case then this letter would be put before the court to demonstrate that you are aware of your obligations, as detailed above.
Should it be necessary to initiate court proceedings against you then Scarborough Borough Council will ask the court to order that you pay the Councils legal costs incurred in pursuing any such action. This could amount to a considerable sum.
I trust that you will comply with the contents of this letter and that it will not be necessary for Scarborough Borough Council to bring legal proceedings against you.
You may wish to take independent legal advice on the contents of this letter.
Lisa Dixon, Solicitor
Head of Legal and Democratic Services
Scarborough Borough Council
Superb summary from Richard Ineson – see comments: