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Defamation bill passed - Owlstalk celebrates this 'win' !


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Guest Deleted member

It would be a better story if you got sent to the slammer

Got bummed in the toilet

Then escaped to get your revenge

One by one the people on the list met a gruesome end

It would have been made into a film I could have played the prison bummer

 

I always knew your hostility was latent homosexual lust for me...

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It would be a better story if you got sent to the slammer

Got bummed in the toilet

Then escaped to get your revenge

One by one the people on the list met a gruesome end

It would have been made into a film I could have played the prison bummer

Probably the funniest post I've seen in a long time.

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Guest LeamingtonOwl

I started to write a book on the whole sorry affair.

 

Personally, I'm still about £5k down on the whole experience.

 

This bit covers the initial contact from IM Solicitors (name changed to prevent further legal action) - up to where they tried to get me sacked from my job

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 3 – March 2006

 

I’d never received a threatening letter from a solicitor before.  Well, I should re-phrase that.  I’d never received a threatening letter from a solicitor before that I’d taken any notice of, as all the previous ones I’d received related to my very messy and acrimonious divorce and I did my best at that time to ignore those as I knew that the majority of what had been written had been done so to appease my increasingly irrational ex-wife!

 

The letter from IM Solicitors scared the hell out of me.  I was being accused of making defamatory postings on the Owlstalk website, postings defamatory of not only the Chief Executive, but also of the Football Club.  I was told that I was expected to make an apology and pay the legal costs incurred so far.  The letter included a long list of my postings that were complained about, and the reason why they were defamatory.  The letter spelt out in no uncertain terms that I was guilty and that there could be no question about it.

 

My immediate reaction was one of panic.  I faxed the letter to a couple of friends, one of whom was Darryl Keys, an intelligent man who was currently the Chairman of supporters group Wednesdayite and no stranger to legal matters via his roles in Sports Finance for a leading investment bank in London.  I class Darryl as a close and valued friend and someone whose opinion I trust.  He called me back and his immediate reaction was to suggest that the letter amounted to little more than bullying by the club who were obviously keen to silence me.  He asked me to leave it with him for a few days.

 

I didn’t.  I was sufficiently panicked, spent hours dwelling over the content of the letter, and e-mailed the solicitor at IM Solicitors to proclaim my innocence but offer to make amends.  I told him I was happy to settle the legal bill as soon as I knew what it was, and how it had been arrived at (I requested a statement), and that I would apologise immediately for any offence caused (but not admit to making defamatory posts).  To my amazement my offer was rejected.

 

Not only was it rejected but I was informed that the costs had risen to beyond £2000.00 (for 2 letters at this stage) and that I wasn’t entitled to see a statement as to how those costs had been achieved.  I wasn’t put off.  I re-iterated my offer, advising IM Solicitors that I still hadn’t consulted with a solicitor, but that as soon as I did I would have to withdraw my offer to make amends as I would be incurring my own legal costs.  This offer too was rejected.  I was going to need a lawyer, and a good one.

 

It was around this time that Darryl called me back.  He had discussed the letter with one of his contacts, Dennis Hobson, who was not only a Wednesday fan, but a wealthy one to boot.  I’d met Dennis a few times and he was without doubt passionate about the club.  He was also absolutely passionate in his dislike of the current regime at Hillsborough and the letter from IM Solicitors had only fuelled this feeling.  He had offered to introduce me to his lawyer in Manchester, a sports specialist called Gareth Williams who also represented some of the biggest names in sport like Ricky Hatton.

 

I sent copies of all correspondence to Gareth and he advised IM Solicitors he was dealing with matters.  I felt some small relief but still worried every time I got a call from Gareth.  For the first 6 months at least it seemed like Wednesday were hell bent on suing me.  For the second 6 months it all went extremely quiet, and I assumed that things had settled down.  There were some mornings I even woke up and it wasn’t the first thing on my mind.

 

In the initial 6 months period I was summoned by my managers Manager to a meeting at our Head Office in Runcorn.  This was unusual, meetings usually took place in the regional Leeds office, and when I asked the PA what the meeting was about I was told that it could not be discussed until the meeting.  I had been pushing for a promotion for some 7 months, and I assumed it was to discuss this.  I was wrong.  I always got on really well with Paul and when I walked through the door he was as friendly as usual.  He then showed me the letter he had received from IM Solicitors.

 

IM Solicitors were doing their best to get me fired.  They had reserved the right to impound my laptop through the courts and were also questioning whether it was appropriate for me to be making defamatory postings from a work PC in works time.  I had never, ever, used my work laptop to check Owlstalk.  Any personal surfing I did was always from my own PC.

 

Paul agreed with me that as I worked flexible hours, and was regularly working til late into the night when necessary, it would be unreasonable to expect me not to do anything personal during works time.  Especially as I was doing so much work in my personal time.

 

My sales figures were good, I was pushing for promotion.  Paul told me not to worry about the letter, told me he would be writing back to acknowledge their letter ‘and f*** them off’, and also claimed that ‘It will never get to court, just looks like bullying to me’.  I only wished I could have shared his confidence.

 

I was furious that IM Solicitors, a highly respected law firm would attempt this tactic.  I even looked into the possibility of counter-suing them.  IM Solicitors had represented me in my divorce and I had entered into a dispute with them over the advice I had been given, only for them to employ a barrister on a huge retainer to bully me into backing down.  I felt more determined than ever that I was going to fight them all the way.

 

This was no longer just about me and Sheffield Wednesday.  It was about me and IM Solicitors.  I was starting to bite off larger things than I could chew alone.

 

After 12 months had passed from the date the posts were made that were complained about I received a letter from George Davies Solicitors.  This advised me that as no action had been taken by Sheffield Wednesday I was not going to be sued.  There followed a final statement of account which I settled personally, despite having received an offer from Dennis Hobson to pay.  It was my mess, and I had dealt with it.  It had cost me a significant sum of money but it was over now and I was relieved.

That is quite a read and I cannot imagine the stress this casued you. I can some what understand as I too was written to by our former chairman and issued with some form of legal letter saying I was being sued for deformation of his character. Luckily, I managed to escape with a public apology. It does just go to show, as a club it is not just on the field nut off the field we are miles healthier.

 

Thank you Milan Manderic for everything.

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Every aspect of the club at that time was absolute hell. I still can't imagine how much more of a living hell it was for those threatened with court, Fatty, Nigel, and the 4 other posters who the threat of legal action continued. Owlstalk was hell for a time too. A (what seemed like) minority of people defending true supporters and Wednesdayite against people taken in by the lies told by the club. I don't blame them though. It was an extraordinary situation. I didn't go to Hillsborough for over a year. For a time the whole situation ruined everything that I love about our club.

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So you see from this thread that despite everything.. the narrow escape from relegation, the fact that we're not allowed to have ssshhhhhhh..... T on the scoreboard anymore, or the fact that party in the park has a dog show on it... 

That we are sooooooo much happier and better off


Viva La Revolution

 


Owlstalk Shop

 

 

 

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Every aspect of the club at that time was absolute hell. I still can't imagine how much more of a living hell it was for those threatened with court, Fatty, Nigel, and the 4 other posters who the threat of legal action continued. Owlstalk was hell for a time too. A (what seemed like) minority of people defending true supporters and Wednesdayite against people taken in by the lies told by the club. I don't blame them though. It was an extraordinary situation. I didn't go to Hillsborough for over a year. For a time the whole situation ruined everything that I love about our club.

thats how we all felt Sonny although there was no fcvking way these cvnts were going to stop me going to hillsborough

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To be honest - the fact that our Party in the Park has a f**king dog show in it makes me want to go through the whole damn thing again

 

 

 

HAVE WE LEARNT NOTHING FFS?

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Grandad, thanks for posting that. It's a real eye opener and a good insight into your book.

What is good to know that the likes of Dennis Hobson was willing to help you stand up to the tactics used which would be overwhelming for anyone without the resources or contacts i.e 99% of us. One bit that really hit home in reading that was when you described it as being Sheffield Wednesday who were taking action against you. It's such a surreal and uncomfortable thought that your own club would do it to you. At the time I always viewed it as the "custodians" rather than the club itself, as if the true sheffield Wednesday had been hijacked.

I'm glad we've all got our sheffield wednesday back.

Edited by Bluesteel
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So you see from this thread that despite everything.. the narrow escape from relegation, the fact that we're not allowed to have ssshhhhhhh..... T on the scoreboard anymore, or the fact that party in the park has a dog show on it...

That we are sooooooo much happier and better off

Viva La Revolution

I'm showing that I don't pay attention at games here, but what happened to Sshhh T?!

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Guest Deleted member

Dennis Hobson took a lot of shi t from Wednesday fans - notably on Owlstalk - for things he said and did at the time around the club. 

 

 

 

In reality, and in the background, and I know he wont thank me for publicising this, Dennis stood up for the average supporter in many more ways than was known at the time and ensured that they were protected from the actions of individuals who used the club and its funds for their own purposes.

 

 

 

My Mum is a Wednesday fan and still comes to the games and sits on the Kop - aged 74. I remember her meeting Dennis for the first time - in the Wednesdayite Lounge when it was held at Hillsborough Club. With tears in her eyes she stood up and hugged him and thanked him for everything he had done for me. Dennis is an absolute hero in the eyes of our family for everything he did (with no agenda) at the time. He will be forever welcome in our household. 

 

The guy is a legend. And nothing that I did, or the other Owlstalk posters, could have happened without his support.

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Guest Deleted member

In reality, and in the background, and I know he wont thank me for publicising this, Dennis stood up for the average supporter in many more ways than was known at the time and ensured that they were protected from the actions of individuals who used the club and its funds for their own purposes.

 

Can I just say that, having been out on an all expenses paid boozing sesh tonight with RBS, I'm really proud reading back that sentence and realising that it makes complete sense...

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Can I just say that, having been out on an all expenses paid boozing sesh tonight with RBS, I'm really proud reading back that sentence and realising that it makes complete sense...

Did you ever do a turn?

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Glad to see this legislation passed. I was at a Lib Dem conference fringe where Ben Goldacre and Simon Singh (who have both been sued almost into bankruptcy simply to try to shut them up) came to argue for this. I'm glad enough people listened.

One of the interesting things about UK libel law is that 'vulgar abuse' is exempt from action. So everyone on this site who was saying 'Dave Allen is a t***' got a free pass; the ones who got sued were the ones who went out of their way to be funny. I can only imagine the laughter in court.

Dave Allen is, for, the record, a t***. Good riddance.

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thats how we all felt Sonny although there was no fcvking way these cvnts were going to stop me going to hillsborough

Fair play mate. At the time I never once said anyone else should stay away too. Folk who went had bigger balls than me. Was just my way. It was a rumblein mental time and there was no black and white. UTO.

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Trying to get me the sack wasn't the worst thing

 

 

I presume, maybe wrongly, that it was the banning from the ground and how that impacted upon all your family...

 

I thought it was IM trying to force Grandad back to his ex-missus

 

 

 

These were sorry times. 7 years ago now yet seems like yesterday.

 

Well done to all those who stood up. God knows where Wednesday would be otherwise

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