Saturday, April 25, 2009

Nadine Calls in the Lawyers

Nadine Dorries has decided to sue over the Damian McBride emails. She has posted a slightly cryptic post on her blog which is headlined JUST FOR THE RECORD...
I have instructed and proceeded with legal action. Obviously, I am not going to say anything at all at this stage, other than that.

Think about the implications if this ever came to court. Think about who would be called as witnesses. And I am not just talking about the obvious.


Mr Eugenides said...

Presumably she's going to sue the newspapers who printed the libel? She can hardly sue McBride.

Oldrightie said...

Gordon in the dock. Wonderful!

Rexel No 56 said...

Be interesting to see what damages she believes she has suffered.


Wallenstein said...

Presumably Guido would also be on the hook had he not given the emails away for free..? I believe the "public interest" defence requires a lack of monetary gain to stick in most cases.

Jon Lishman said...

It's a good point, the libel source thing.

What is the story there?

And I hope she crucifies them.

Anonymous said...

What newspapers printed a 'libel'?

They only printed the smear story - reporting that an untrue story was going to be published.

So it seems to me the charge might be for something else, which could be criminal. Some sort of conspiracy to defame, to defraud (??).
I am sure the ace legal minds which avidly follow this blog could clarify.

Bearing in mind that the numpty Maguire wondered what Cameron's alleged 'embarrassing illness' actually was, then Dorris is quite entitled to have the issue of her smear legally examined to prove that it was untrue.

After all any lingering doubts that the Mirror might dredge up in future years could be very damaging to her career and ambitions so she is quite entitled to get the matter clarified legally.

Especially following Browns limp dissembling apology.

Simon Gardner said...

What a complete meal the ghastly Nadine Dorries is making of her victimhood.

copydude said...

She has talked up this story like no other.

Now, why would anyone want to 'talk up' a smear against yourself?

I fear that she may be seen as a self-seeking, socialite wannabe who revels in the attention . . . not to mention seeing a few £££s at the end of it.

Sorry, but that is how it will be perceived.

I think she got much more respect for the abortion bill speech and campaigning with locals against one of Labour's silly ecotowns.

Think this is very ill-advised.

Unknown said...

I thought the papers had soft-pedalled on the detail of the allegations as far as she was concerned. In any case, they will also argue that they made it clear that they were unfounded, though this is far from a watertight defence in these cases. I imagine that they will also plead a public interest defence.

McBride and Draper will, I assume have a defence of privilege. It may emerge through this precisely how the emails were made public, which would be interesting.

Before anyone gets too excited about the prospect of a court case involving the highest in the land, it should be noted that libel suits are nearly always settled out of court. I expect this one will be.

Constan Treader said...

R56 no need to prove damage to bring a successful libel claim.

Theo Spark said...

With the government now planning to monitor all emails this could backfire. A precident could be set where any email/blog/chat room comments could become targets by those dodgy lawyers who have been playing the no win no fee game for the last 10 years. Nadine would be better off giving Brown a bloody good kick in the knackers next time they meet in the house.

Jimmy said...

"Think about who would be called as witnesses. "

Mr. Dorries?



Never going to happen.

Mr Jabberwock said...

As I understand it email is treated by the libel courts in the same way as a postcard. Once you send it you cannot assume that it is private as it is not secure in the way that a sealed envelope is. You are then responsible if the allegation comes into the public domain.

So I imagine she can sue McBride, though on the basis that he was an employee it could be the Cabinet Office or whichever department was his employer.

They then either say it was a private venture on his part, or stand in front of him. Either way that must lead either to a settlement or a trial and before that discovery.

My guess is that they will make an offer at an early stage, such that if Nadine turned it down it would leave her liable to all of their (significant) legal costs if having rejected it she then won a lesser amount.

I can imagine that they will want to avoid discovery at all costs if there is anything else that could be found.

Time Labour were called to account for their smears said...

Simon, I doubt Nadine would settle out of court. Why should she.

Cynic said...

"I fear that she may be seen as a self-seeking, socialite wannabe who revels in the attention . . . not to mention seeing a few £££s at the end of it.

Sorry, but that is how it will be perceived."

Twaddle.When the evidence is presented in court it will be seen exactly what was going on. Bear in mind that in her case she has said there were attempts to plant these stories in the media before Red Rag

Well, the disclosure will be interesting. But I think that they will pay out - anything to avoid the disclosure. But one thing we must watch. It seems the originator was working as a Civil Servant but doing Party business. The Party must be held to account not the civil service. Gus must hold the line on this.

The Grim Reaper said...

Whenever I see Nadine Dorries, I can almost feel her shouting "OMG, give me attention!".

This is no exception.

Anonymous said...

Someone brazenly tries to ruin someone else's career.
And the labour luvvies say they should just shrug their shoulders.

If this is 'self seeking' what does that make McBride and Co?

Unknown said...


Money and time. Fighting a case is expensive and vastly time consuming. It wouldn't come to court before the next election, and I will be happy to take a gentlemen's wager that it won't come to court at all.

Tony_E said...

I imagine the suit will be for slander or defamation against McBride, not the papers for libel.

I look forward to the complainant's list of witnesses, which should include the lobbyists whom McBride fed the story to, and possibly some of those aware in No10. I do hope that they don't choose to hide their complicity, perjury is still a criminal offence in the UK.

I expect to see a bill amending potential penalties for the crime of perjury in front of the house in this session....

Jimmy said...

Actually the blog says nothing about libel at all, merely that she's instructed lawyers to take some unspecified legal action.

Perhaps she's being sectioned?

Anonymous said...

When McScum wrote the emails he seems to have sent them to other people than Draper. By doing that he 'published' them. So the stuff in them is libel. I hope Nadine's Lawyers now launch discovery proceedings and gain access to the 'in' and 'Sent' boxes of McScums Downing Street computer and his private computer. Also all his text messages !! Oh what fun they will have.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Go Nadine! Stuff em with a rusty cheesegrater.

Cynic said...

"Fighting a case is expensive and vastly time consuming."

Almost certainly a no win no free case. And this one is an odds on bet for her legal team

Chris Paul said...

Mr Eugenides is on the right lines. But did any newspaper print "the libel" in any particulars, and particularly b4 Nadine jumped up and said:

"It's me! They were momentarily thinking of slagging me off! But I'm out shouting it from the rooftops! When I could have avoided even being named!"Seems like train crash litigation. And the idea that GB could be called as a witness, when it seems he is not in any way shape or form any kind of witness has got to be satirical only?

I'm thinking Guido would be on the hook if the detail had been given away or not. Surely there is a payment for something or other in his direction? Or to his nominees. perhaps for the Op-Ed or for something else. Tell us it ain't true Guido old bean.

Nadine appears to be a bigger fool than anyone already took her for. She's "going to the danger".

The "publication" to Draper etc is an interesting point btw. If McBride said: "It's not true but we could say XY and Z" would have libeled anyone? Surely if it was labeled "lie" then it's a no?

No-one in labour at large will give a stuff id McBride loses his bollocks on this ... but Nadine seems to be the one putting herself in the way of danger here.

She outed herself. For kicks.

Jah'sSword said...

Good good. This will run and run up until the election and keep the words " Smear " and " Labour " in the public eye. And if the layers start following an email trail to uncover who planned, published and received these libels it could be explosive. Well done Nadine, big cojones.

Hugh said...

I can't really see any advantage for the Conservatives in this. They've already benefited from the hit to Labour's polling; now they might suffer from being seen to overplay their hand. And I can't see any possible benefit for Mrs Dorries personally, either. It strikes me as fairly foolish.

Anonymous said...

More Trolls than a Norwegian folk tale today. Go out and enjoy the weather ffs.

David Boothroyd said...

If, by "the obvious", you mean Gordon Brown, let me let you down gently. We don't know who exactly Nadine Dorries is suing and for what but what you're suggesting might happen is not going to happen.

First, Gordon Brown isn't going to go voluntarily into the witness box. Second, he's not going to be called involuntarily as a defence witness for Damian McBride or Derek Draper even if it turns out that Nadine is trying to sue them. Third, there's no conceivable way he's going to be a witness supporting Nadine Dorries. Fourth, the court is not going to allow Nadine Dorries to call him as a hostile witness because English courts don't work that way.

Even if by some strange quirk of fate he was to be called as a witness, there's almost nothing he can give evidence on. This Tory wet dream about some lawyer pounding the desk and demanding answers is just fantasy.

Paul Halsall said...

I agree with Simon.

Nadine is making a meal of this. No one really cares if she kept her knickers on, although I am sure she is entirely innocent.

I would prefer her to concentrate on limiting abortions rather than this nonesense.