Every so often one gets confused reading the newspapers. Some things are reported which are undoubtedly false. Some things are mistaken. Sometimes the writer of the article seems not to understand what they are writing about.
And, with that preamble, I am confused by a story today reported in the Mail Online. Regular readers will know that the Mail Online is far from my favourite news outlet, although, as it is one of the most “popular” news websites in the world, I suspect those in charge are not bothered what I think.
Today’s story refers to the former “call girl” who went by the nom de plume of “Belle de Jour” and whose exploits were recounted in a blog and then in book form. She was then revealed to be Dr Brooke Magnanti, a research scientist. Her role was played in the TV adaptation of her writing, by Billie Piper. Continue reading
Craig Whyte, former owner of Rangers*, has another of his cases due in court today (4 July). This is the mortgage repossession case brought by the Bank of Scotland against Mr and Mrs Whyte in Inverness Sheriff Court. The bank wants to have orders granted entitling it to “enter into possession” of Castle Grant and for the owners and their tenants, family and belongings etc to be removed. Continue reading
Glasgow Sheriff Court has a very 21st century (or at least 20th Century) method of dealing with court actions under the Commercial Procedure. For disputes of a commercial nature, and if the pursuer in the action chooses to do so, there is a streamlined process designed to focus quickly on the issues in dispute and to reach a determination as quickly as possible.
This is achieved by having cases allocated to a particular Sheriff to take the dispute through all of its stages, and by having a procedural hearing (or Case Management Conference (CMC)) take place by conference call, rather than dragging lawyers from across the city or the country to the court to sit awaiting a slot in the diary.
Instead the nominated Sheriff assesses at an early stage what is in dispute in any case, and what each party is going to have to do to achieve victory. This can include the Sheriff pinning down solicitors as to the nature of a defence, or regarding witnesses to be called to court and the nature of the evidence they will give. The Sheriff can order production of expert reports and tell parties to have experts meet to clarify issues in dispute. Continue reading
As a preamble, it has not been made clear what the basis for the above report is. Undoubtedly Messrs Green and Ahmad will maintain, as they are entitled to do, that they are not guilty of any offence and in law they remain innocent men until a criminal court declares otherwise. There is a big difference between a report being made to the police or the SFO and such a report being accepted as credible and reliable. Even then, there remains some distance to go before evidence of criminality sufficient to mount a prosecution can be produced, and even then there is a further stretch to reaching the standard for a conviction in court. Most complaints to the police result in no action at all, as the matter falls at one of the above hurdles.
So, to end the preamble, accusations are not proof, and the reporting that such a report has been made should in no way be taken as a statement that the parties mentioned have done anything wrong. There is a long way from accusation to conviction, and my comments on the whole matter should not be taken as implying that there has been any wrongdoing by anyone.
Two Stock Market announcements today, which make it clear that all parties are very serious and that this issue is not going away any time soon.
First of all RIFC PLC came out in almost as “all guns blazing” a way which one can in a Stock Exchange announcement.
In light of the recent media speculation in relation to alleged claims which are purported to have been made by Craig Whyte, Aidan Earley, Law Financial Limited or Worthington Group plc in relation to the ownership or control of Sevco 5088 Limited (“Sevco 5088”), Rangers confirms that no legal claim has been received by Charles Green, Imran Ahmad or the Group. As none of the allegations that have been made in the press have been substantiated by evidence of any legally enforceable rights and as details of any claim, whilst threatened, have not been received, the company regards any such press commentary and speculation to be highly spurious. The Group has been and continues to receive legal advice to protect the business, assets and reputation of the company and its directors from such spurious claims. Continue reading
I have repeatedly commented that an aspiring lawyer who based their legal education on nothing except for matters of law related to Rangers Football Club would end up with a breadth of knowledge more than sufficient to practise in any area.
And today we can add to the list issues of employment law combined with the Data Protection Act and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.
A terse statement on Rangers official website yesterday read:-
FRANCISCO Sandaza has been suspended by the club pending an investigation into comments made by the player in a recorded telephone conversation.
The club, Francisco and his agent have had discussions and manager Ally McCoist also spoke with the player, who did not take part in today’s training session.
Francisco will not return to the club while the investigation is underway.
Rangers regard this is an extremely serious issue but there will be no further comment until the inquiry, which could take a week, has been completed. Continue reading