Recently in Court Cases Category

The Times reports that Ken Livingstone has been awarded hundreds of thousands of pounds of legal costs in his succesful appeal against his 4 week suspension by the Standards Board for England's Adjudication Panel.

A judge said Mr Livingstone's gibe to Oliver Finegold, a reporter for the Evening Standard was "unnecessarily offensive" and "indefensible", and he should have apologised. But the Adjudication Panel for England was wrong when it ruled, in February, that the Mayor's outburst breached the Greater London Authority's code of conduct.

[...]

Today's ruling will come as a relief to Mr Livingstone, who had said that if he lost the case he could face bankruptcy, after spending around £250,000 contesting the panel decision. The judge ordered the Adjudication Panel for England to pay Mr Livingstone's costs, to be assessed at a later hearing if the two sides cannot agree on a figure.

[...]

Does this mean that Ken Livingstone will continue to insult all and sundry with impunity ?

The Times reports

Times Online October 05, 2006

Livingstone Nazi jibe ban overturned
By Helen Nugent

Ken Livingstone has won his court battle to overturn a four week suspension from office for comparing a Jewish journalist to a Nazi concentration camp guard.

The Mayor of London is thought to have spent tens of thousands of pounds on legal fees challenging a decision by the Adjudication Panel for England that his comment breached the Greater London Authority’s code of conduct.

[...]

This afternoon Mr Justice Collins said that the suspension would be quashed but he reserved his decision on whether the Mayor had brought his office into disrepute over the remarks.

The judge said that he wanted time to consider his ruling because of the "ramifications"

[...]

We await the detailed judgement by Mr Justice Collins, to see what exactly it does to the Code of Conduct which Local Councillors and Mayors etc. have agreed to abide by as part of their terms of office.

The question of whether Ken Livingstone was acting in a private cpacity when he insulted the journalist (even non-Jewish people should be offended by being called a "concentration camp guard" ) was looked into by the Adjudication Panel.

Did the Judge also look at the repeated public refusals by Livingstone to apologise ? These are what bring the Office of Mayor of London into direpute, as much as the original insults.

No amount of media spin from Livingstone's propaganda machine will convince us that he is somehow defending democratic principles, rather than his own vanity and arrogance, during his history of "foot in mouth" comments to the press.

Who stands the best chance of getting rid of Livingstone at the next election ?

The Guardian reports that Ken Livingstone has started his litigation in the High Court to try to discredit the Standards Board for England and its Adjudication Panel's ruling that he should be suspended from the Office of Mayor of London for a month.

Another Guardian report seems to imply that the Judge is sympathetic to Livingstone's case:

Mr Justice Collins also said he sympathised with the politician for doubting the good faith of the Evening Standard, the newspaper for which the reporter, Oliver Finegold, worked. The judge said: "I don't want anyone to suggest Mr Livingstone is anti-semitic. There has never been any indication of that. That is absolutely clear. No one can think he was making a remark like that because of anti-semitism."

However, this is pretty well exactly what the Adjudication Panel judgement said in the first place !

Livingstone was suspended for bring the Office of Mayor of London into disrepute, by not apologising,, and not for "racism", even though everyone accepts that his remarks to the Jewish reporter were offensive.

For all his weasel words about principles, he is not complaining and taking legal action over the decision by the STandards Board for England which ruled in his favour, when, incredibly, they accepted his unconvincing plea of ignorance, regarding his "get back to Iran" remarks to two property developers.

Not a single penny of London taxpayers' money should be wasted on this pointless vanity litigation.

If Ken Livingstone had apologised in public last February, this affair would , by now have been forgotten. Even supporters of his policies must be embarassed by his behavior, which reeks of the arrogance of power.

It appears that Ken Livingstone's "foot in mouth" tendancies have resulted in yet another court case, this time for defamation:

Chavez visit to London causes lawsuit against Ken Livingstone By Aleksander Boyd

London 07.06.06 | On May 17th 2006 Ken Livingstone, Major of London, stated in front of London's Assemblywomen, Assemblymen and press present at a major's question time at City Hall "Aleksander Boyd is a supporter of terrorism against Venezuelan democracy" (sic). Livingstone saw fitting to make such spurious, unsubstantiated and wild accusation in the aftermath of Hugo Chavez's visit to London. As this was not the first time that apologists of the Venezuelan caudillo uttered such remarks against me I considered to issue legal proceedings, which have been initiated today.

I just got back from the High Court of Justice, Queen's Bench Division where I presented a claim with the number HQ06X01639. In it I claim a) an injuction to prevent Ken Livingstone from further tarnishing my reputation by making defamatory remarks against me and b) £100.000 in damages.

[...]

Accusing someone of being a "supporter of terrorism", anywhere in the world, is now a very serious matter, as, if true, it could lead to arrest and prosecution under the controversial new Terrorism Act 2006 section 1 Encouragement of terrorism, which can lead to 7 years in prison and / or or a fine.

For the Mayor of London, speaking in his official capacity, to do so, is even more scandalous.

When is the High Court appeal against Livingstone's suspension as Mayor going to be heard ?

[thanks to www.redken.net]

Ken Livingstone seems to be dragging out the whole "concentration camp guard / German war criminal" jibe debacle, by obtaining from a a High Court Judge, a temporary stay of his 4 week suspension as Mayor of London which was due to start tomorrow, March 1st 2006, until his appeal is heard in the High Court, sometime in the future.

Those people who are repeating the propaganda about "unelected tribunals" versus "democratically elected politicians" need to be reminded that High Court Judges are not elected, but are appointed, for good reasons. There do not seem to be any complaints about "unelected High Court Judges" from Ken Livingstone when they grant him something which he wants.

It seems that this suspension of the Mayor of London will be on full pay, but that the legal costs, claimed to be £80,000 for the Adjudication Panel tribunal will have to be borne by Ken.

Any award of legal costs in the High Court is up to the Judge, who may or may not award them to Ken, win or lose.

When you are in a hole, stop digging.

According to The Guardian and others:

The Board of Deputies of British Jews, which pursued the complaint against Mr Livingstone after members of the London assembly had already censured him, represented only a "small section of the [Jewish] community," he said. A higher proportion of Jewish Londoners had given him their first preference vote in the 2004 mayoral election than had Londoners as a whole.

It is inconceivable that any of the people who voted for Ken Livingstone in 2004 then expected him to be makling the comments which he did in 2005.

How many of those people would still support him now, if he resigned and stood for re-election now ?

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