Saturday, September 22, 2007

Labour Blogger Found Guilty of 'Paedo' Smear

I'm not going to join the lynch mob surrounding Labour councillor (and blogger) Miranda Grell, who was yesterday found guilty of branding her LibDem opponent a paedophile. Her sentence (fined £1,000, ordered to pay £3,000 in costs and banned from public office for three years) is punishment enough. However, I do want to point out one thing. When I was away Shane wrote a short story about the Grell case (HERE) without commenting on it at all. He merely linked to a Times article. What followed in the comments was a well worn path. These were a few of the comments...

Paul Burgin: Shane, I know Miranda fairly well enough to find these allegations highly doubtful.

Anonymous: This is an old story Iain. Its been going on a while and most of the people agree that its the liberals being bad losers. There's a great deal of support for Miranda around and little foundation or proof to the allegations.

Chris Paul: Are Iain and Iain's monkey trying to smear Labour Bloggers by association?... Nothing to it at all.

Jon Worth: Just give this a little time - I have confidence that Miranda will not be found guilty of these charges. The case will conclude by the end of the week, and it will most probably be the Lib Dems who have to face some tricky questions.

Funnily enough, none of these bloggers have felt the need to comment on the outcome of the case on their blogs. LibDem Voice have though. So has Shane. Let's just recognise that all parties have their bad apples, shall we?


Paul Burgin said...

Iain I DID comment on the outcome of the case!

My view is that she was wrong to even mention anything about her opponents private life but mentioning his sexuality is a long way from accusing someone of being a peadophile. I just find it hard to believe that she would do such a thing, anymore Iain that I think that you would be capable of resorting to such dirty tricks, or any other individual Tory or Lib Dem I respect.
If I have learnt anything from this case though, it's not to readily believe any scandal surrounding any opposition politician who I don't know and/or take a dislike to!

Anonymous said...

And I hope you and Shane get apologies from all those idiots who claimed to know her so well that she couldn't possibly be guilty.

Unsworth said...

@ Paul Burgin "I just find it hard to believe that she would do such a thing".

Clearly others did not, and do not. The fact that her victim has now had to move right away from the district to try to get away from the vituperance that she has personally caused, merely compounds her mendacity.

Will she or her henchmen offer an apology or even, dare one suggest, some form of 'reparation'? Any bets?

She well deserves her fate, and those who supported her should hang their heads in shame. Not that these scum will, of course.

Chris Paul said...

Dearest Iain

I also blogged this. THIRTEEN HOURS and bits BEFORE you claimed I had not covered the matter.

My worry is that the MSM and many bloggers have assumed that the judge has found ALL the allegations stand the test of his scrutiny.

The more lurid things are repeated over and over and over again. And the accusation is distilled down to MG being found guilty of brnading MR Smith "a paedophile". Including by the BBC.

In the absence of a proper court report or a written judgement - this is a stipe magistrate - it looks on the face of it that she may have been found guilty of far less. A technical offence even.

For example the things she admitted. Outing a gay man - who was quite well known to be gay, by some accounts at least - and saying his boyf was 19 years of age.

Neither of these things are the same as saying she said he was/is a paedophile though they are very silly, probably unnecessary in terms of winning a seat (there were other issues and one of his colleagues lost MORE VOTES), and certainly not helpful to anyone concerned.

I wasn't in court. I don't know any of those involved. But I am a bit surprised at the reporting. As I say the MSM have been repeating the most lurid things as though the judge has thrown much of it out and probably did not find her guilty of those things.

We need to know where this judge has placed the bar. Is it outing a gay candidate? is it getting the age of a candidate's partner wrong?

If so - hurrah - this is an excellent piece of hardball to make the political classes play nice.

Or is it somewhere between there and branding someone a paedophile.

I think, as I said 20 hours ago, the MG could be cleared on appeal and that she is almost certainly now being libelled by the coverage.

Please do check before you accuse me of not following up. It's simple. Go to the blog. Stick "Miranda Grell" in the search box. Press search and hey presto - you don't make any more of these unnecessary mistakes.

This is nowt but a smear.

Best w

Chris P

Chris Paul said...

Oh, letters from a tory, Iain owes myself and Paul and for all I know Jon Worth also an apology. He clearly did not research his claims.

Of course all parties have bad apples. MG has been silly as she admits, how silly is the question.

Journalists, bloggers and yes judges make mistakes too.

Chris Paul said...

Chuck - "scum" - er, please do keep a civil tongue in your head.

Anonymous said...

I have no idea what this is all about, Iain, but surely there is nothing wrong with the presumption of innocence until guilt is proved ??

Otherwise we would end up with the same sort of fevered coverage which has tainted the McCann family.

The Bournemouth Nationalist said...

Miranda Grell, yet another welcome addition to Liars Buggers and Thieves

Luke Akehurst said...

Oh, isn't a week a long time in politics?

Unsworth said...

@ Chris Paul "Chuck - "scum" - er, please do keep a civil tongue in your head"


Do you?

For that matter, where has your tongue actually been recently?

Scum I said and Scum I meant.

This behaviour by this - er, lovely lady - is 'civil'? Yes indeed.

Argue your case boy, but don't tell me how to argue mine...

Wrinkled Weasel said...

I never saw the original post, but from what the Times article reports Barry Smith should sue for slander and get massive costs.

Miss Grell, seems to be one of these nasty women who never cease to play the race card when it suits them and is quite happy to ruin somone's life to get on. By any terms of reference she is a bitch.

Anonymous said...

Chuck - just back off from Chris Paul - he's just not worth it. And I should know....

Nich Starling said...

I blogged about this, but made the point that it is how you deal with someone after they have been found guilty that is the judge of the party. I have no doubt ther are rotten apples in every party, but for Labour to stand by her in thi case as they are when she has been found guilty in court of some horrible allegations, is wrong.

Luke Akehurst said...

At least I came clean about the trial and about my involvement.

But all of this is political trivia compared with the seriousness of the recent attack of bluetongue virus.

Chris Paul said...


24 hours ago you claimed in your blog that I had not covered the verdict. That was a FALSE CLAIM.
You have not corrected it.

I had in fact covered it 13 hours plus before you made the false claim.

According to Paul's comment you have also made a mistake about his coverage.

Jon Worth may be out of action as he's not blogged anything since 16 September.

I have also found some proper court coverage which answers some of my queries - the district judge DID accept all the evidence from the Lib Dem witnesses - so I have blogged that too.

I find this all rather bizarre now that the full SP on what occured in the court has been relayed to me by first hand witnesses.

More on the blog on that later.

Presumably Norfolk Blogger and others might have a little think and be persuaded to accept that:

1. Judges at all levels make mistakes sometimes. This is why we have appeals;

2. This judge is at the LOWEST end of the legally qualified judiciary, many lawyers consider they are less reliable legally than volunteer magistrates who sit in panels with clerks and may have far more and wider court experience;

3. A "District Judge" is probably a ca ten-year-qualified solicitor enjoying no advocacy rights themselves in higher courts. Some do it as their own practices don't pay well enough;

4. Some Labour people as individuals are reserving judgement on this and thinking the result may change in a higher court, others may think different. But the party formally HAVE SUSPENDED Ms Grell from membership of the party pending an enquiry.

Suggesting that this woman is guilty as charged and now as convicted when there is a considerable scope for appeal and a pretty high chance of mistakes being made - given the junior level of the case vs the complexity - it seems pretty rich to be slagging anyone off over a point of view.

Does the Norfolk Blogger or Iain Dale NOT believe in the rights to appeal as enshrined in our system?

And will Iain Dale not correct such a glaring factual inaccuracy? Paul and I HAD BLOGGED comment on the verdict. IAIN WAS WRONG.

Resolving to try just a little bit harder to check accusations in future would also be a good step?

You may not like what we have to say Iain, but saying we've said nothing when we have covered the matter is absolutely ridiculous.

You might say we're not happy with the judgement, you might claim we're "mad" or "sad" or "idiotic" or "fools" or whatever else you have in your knee jerkery but saying that we've been silent is careless, unfriendly and WRONG.

That needs recognition.

Refusing to apologise or even amend or update your post seems very unhelpful to the new found and welcome solidarity between bloggers over the criminally litigious Uzbecki oligarch bully.

193 of us have now blogged condemning Usmanov.

Unsworth said...

@ Chris Paul

So we can all look forward to seeing the Law Lords issuing their verdict on appeal and then the EU issuing its verdict on this woman's disgusting activities, can we?

You bet! Maybe the Government will use taxpayers' cash to fund the appeals process, eh? Why not? They spend our money on plenty of other equally dubious matters. This would be little different. Perhaps that Booth woman can be persuaded to champion the cause - she needs the funds, after all.

And making ad hominem attacks on the judge is standard NuLab practice. It signifies nothing apart from their resentment that things have not gone their way. Ain't that just too bad?

As to who blogged what and when. Frankly I, and many others no doubt, really couldn't care less, although it has clearly become an obsession for you. Maybe you can get that Booth woman to take up a case for you, too. That's if you're serious, of course.

See you in court, eh?

Chris Paul said...

Brilliant Chuck. The Grell case is difficult because it's all he said she said he said she said. I have my doubts about the judge. As I say many of them at this level (above all others) are rightly regarded as unreliable mavericks. Unable toi turn a living from their own practice so queuing up for £96,000 or pro rata for p/t instead.

Anyway in the case of LOL vs Paul and Burgin there are facts and these are that we both blogged the verdict in a pretty timely way and that Iain Dale claimed we did not. He is still claiming that though he now knows it to be untrue.

Which is lying and smearing and unprofessional.

Unsworth said...

@ Chris Paul

And the moon is made of finest Roquefort. You don't want to accept the Court's ruling? Too bad. Let's see if Ms Grell has the moral certitude and courage to pursue this all the way.

As to your view (and who are these 'others' that you state hold the same view?) of this judge and his fellows, well let's see what the court of appeal says, eh?

Given your apparent absolute certainty as to wrongful conviction, no doubt you'll be prepared to fund Ms Grell's further legal costs - which will be recoverable in abundance should she win.

I very much look forward to seeing the court reports. They will make salutary reading for us all.

Fidothedog said...

Not the first Liebour party member to be found guilty of uttering untruths by a court, check out Paul Flynn's libel case that cost him 36K!