As Zelo Street regulars may recall
, following last year’s extended edition of the BBC’s Panorama
strand, called “Is Labour anti-Semitic?
” and fronted by John Ware, trenchant comment was passed on the broadcast
by independent journalist Paddy French of Press Gang
fame. Ware was sufficiently distressed at the comment passed that he consulted his lawyer, who just happens to be another name familiar to those who read this blog.
Mark Lewis, who has also been instructed recently by Countdown
numbers person Rachel Riley and minor thesp Tracy Ann Oberman, has taken up the cudgels on Ware’s behalf. He made a significant part of his reputation during the phone hacking scandal, but parted company with campaigning group Hacked Off in circumstances that remain unclear.
What is clear, though, is that when HO launched a fundraising drive recently, Lewis sniped “Don’t bother giving. They do not care about people affected by the press, just about themselves. They use genuine victims
”. He made his comment at the time that HO was helping beautician Danielle Hindley gain redress against
the Mail on Sunday
Still, what’s a provably untrue comment between former friends, eh? Back at the Panorama
programme and Ware’s threat of legal action, the timeline makes for interesting reading: French published his investigation into Panorama on December 7 last year. It took until April this year for the first threat of legal action to be made. And it has taken another two months for Lewis, on behalf of Ware, to proceed with the threatened action.
That is despite Lewis indicating that he would respond to French’s lawyers before the end of April. So what is Ware after? Quite apart from a full retraction of the Press Gang investigation, an apology, a statement to be read out in open court, and reimbursement of his costs, Ware is now demanding a cool £50,000 in damages.
Lawyer Mark Lewis ...
French has instructed Tamsin Allen of Bindmans, a name with which Zelo Street regulars will be familiar, who has told Lewis that her client “has ‘complete defences’ under section 2 (Truth), section 3 (Honest Opinion) and section 4 (Public Interest) of the Defamation Act 2013
”. Her conclusions show why there may be surprise at Ware pressing his action.
“The defamatory allegations against your client are matters of opinion, based on the facts set out in the … report … In the event that your client commences legal proceedings then the matter will be vigorously defended
”. So why is Ware going ahead?
... and his fraternal greeting to former friends
Given that he has agreed a “no win, no fee
” deal with Lewis, and has taken out insurance in case he loses the action, it is unlikely that the BBC is a party to his action. Ware is now believed to be a freelance, which would also mean the Beeb was unlikely to be involved.
Does John Ware consider presenting facts and then commenting on them to be defamatory of him? Seeing lawyers trying to stand that one up would be fascinating. But what is not up for debate is that Paddy French will need more contributions to his crowdfunder (see HERE
). And that his defence continues to gather evidence.
One thing is for certain: Paddy French has not been silenced. Good for him
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Any idea whether Lewis is representing Millet in the 'ironic' libel case?
Surely Ware's comments about Hacked Off are defamatory about those members who work diligently to expose the machinations of our media.
Seems like RR etc, he can dish it out but can't take it.
Is Mark Lewis still in the UK?
The comments about Hacked Off were made by Mark Lewis, not John Ware.
What a delightful couple, bringing sweetness and light to BBC daytime television.
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