Inside & Outside the Law - Twitter, Deceit, Dinners and Dogs

It’s been a bad time for Twitter abusers. First, in well-publicised news,  21 year old Swansea University student Liam Stacey lost his appeal against conviction for racially aggravated public disorder as a result of tweets he sent following Premier League footballer Fabrice Muamba collapsing on the football field with cardiac arrest.

Lesser known, but equally significant, has been Chris Cairns’ civil claim of libel through Twitter. Cairns, a test and one-day international New Zealand cricketer, won a judgement in the London High Court against Lalit Modi, the Chairman of the Indian Premier League, over a claim that Modi had defamed Cairns through an allegation of match-fixing.

Twitter ye carefully, as the late, great Frankie Howerd might have said.

The Royal Courts of Justice in The Strand, where major civil cases are held

Also in hot water has been a barrister struck off by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) for concocting what the Board described as a web of “tortuous deceit”. Alexander Mercouris, called to the bar in Middle Temple, was found to have embarked on a bizarre series of fraudulent steps after advising a client to reject a £5,000 settlement offer and promising that he could get her hundreds of thousands of pounds in settlement.

Mercouris’s actions were found by the BSB to include fabricating meetings with other barristers, forging a signature of Baroness Hale, the first female judge to sit in the Supreme Court, and alleging that he had been kidnapped by bogus police officers and taken to a meeting with the President of the Supreme Court, Lord Phillips, where Phillips had invited him to drop the case in return for a £50,000 bribe.

Slightly less bizarre, but still in the realms of you wouldn’t credit it, is the tale of the Conservative Party co-treasurer Peter Cruddas, caught on camera offering potential party donors dinners with the Prime Minister, David Cameron, in return for donations.

In the aftermath of Cruddas’s resignation, the Conservative Party has appointed David Gold, a solicitor and former senior partner of the City law firm, Herbert Smith, to lead an enquiry into what has become known as cash for dinners.

Now the fact that Gold is a Conservative peer in the House of Lords has led some to suggest that this will be just another cover-up job. However, Herbert Smith are one of the foremost litigation law firms in the UK, and it has equally been contended that anybody who thinks that Gold is a softie is going to get a shock.

Going to church can be bad for you. Well at least that is what has effectively been alleged by a Portuguese former footballer, Arquimedes De Jesus Nganga, against the Baptist Union of Great Britain (Baptist Church), in an action where he is claiming that the Church defrauded him of his finances, time and life, after he quit football in 1990 to follow his religious beliefs.

Whilst the Church will be legally represented, it has been reported that Nganga will appear as a litigant in person, meaning that he will act for himself and without legal representation.

Finally, going over the pond, a published report from the Coral Gables [district of Miami] Police Department, tells of investigating an incident at the local home of Terence Connor, a high-ranking partner of the major US Law firm, Hunton & Williams, where a neighbour had alleged that Connor had sprayed her two toy breed dogs, Zeus and Louis, with pepper spray.

Connor protested about the claimed barking by the dogs and is reported to have said that he did the spraying because “ f-----g police don’t ever do anything about the issue”. The report gives no indication of how the police responded to this statement, beyond the fact that Connor was arrested and taken to the local Police Department for processing.

The author is a City of London, City of Westminster and National Trust Guide and former City law firm partner, who runs guided walks in the City and in Westminster. See tabs for further information.