11 April 2008

Griffin wounded in Manchester Court battle?

As usual with any report coming from the BNP - whether it's from current or former members - it's difficult (and sometimes nigh on impossible) to separate the truth from the complete fantasy.

The bizarre Manchester High Court case is an illustration of this. On the one hand we have the leader and deputy leader of the BNP and on the other we have a smattering of six of the most popular and prominent rebel members of the BNP. Who do we believe?

None of them actually. But for your edification (and only because we believe this is closer to the truth than Nick Griffin could get in several lifetimes) we present the report from the Voice of Change website - edited only to insert a pound sign where the VoC idiots couldn't manage it and a slight change to the layout to make the article easier to read.

"Party finances dealt blow from Griffin's gamble

The current BNP leader, Nick Griffin may well have been awarded a boxing blue 25 years old from his Cambridge alma mater but the former Downing College southpaw was on the ropes yesterday at Manchester High Court. Although he was not counted out, his vexatious case against the so called "Young Turks", who had throughout 2007 raised serious misgivings about the way the BNP was being managed, was knocked into reality by the ruling of the Judge.

The six defendants were Steve Blake, former Party web editor, Ian Dawson, former Head of Group Support, Cllr. Sadie Graham, former Head of Group Development, Matt Single, former Security Training Officer, Kenny Smith, former Head of Party Administration and Nicholla Smith, former head of Excalibur merchandising.

The interlocutory hearing on the ninth floor of the modern new glass and steel cube in the heart of Manchester centred around three issues following the issue of Court proceedings by the two claimants, Nick Griffin and Simon Darby in March 2008:
  • The jurisdiction of the English Courts to hear the case brought by the claimants against Kenny and Nicholla Smith regarding chattels alleged to be in their possession but owned by the British National Party.
  • The jurisdiction of the English Courts to hear the case brought by the claimants against Kenny Smith relating to monies held in bank accounts in Scotland.
  • The jurisdiction of the English Courts to hear the case brought by the claimants against Kenny Smith et al relating to an alleged breach of duties of confidence.
Just two weeks ago, the deputy leader (Mr. Darby) broadcast on his bird watching blog a conversation where Mr. Griffin misleads the blog's thoroughly decent listeners by admitting:

'...I think that certainly our counsel were fairly amazed and the judge didn't seem over-impressed when Davies [defendant's counsel] got up and was saying that under the terms of the Act of Union, one of the provisions in that is that an English court doesn't have jurisdiction in Scotland. Now obviously one knows they have a different legal system there, that's fair enough, but the idea that that could be used to prevent an action against a group of defendants when the action is about the same issue, when a couple of those defendants are in Scotland, is really stretching the point.

We could bring a separate action in Scotland, but that, of course, doubles the costs. Now, if that was allowed, what it would mean is a matter of public policy if it was allowed, is that can you imagine any smallish business, any charity, any political party or association, anyone at all, could simply say because of that risk we can't employ someone from north of the border, and conversely, any Scottish business, charity or whatever is going to say well because of the rift the other way round, we can't employ anyone from south of the border.

It would drive a huge wedge in the fundamental economic unity of the British Isles, and it would lead to enormous discrimination against Scots in England, and against people in Scotland being employed in England and vice versa. It would be astounding if that was allowed, to be honest. But Mr Davies is arguing, and what his clients may not realise, is that every hour he takes up arguing on that point, if it's knocked out the costs of that will go directly against them, basically no questions asked. So, it's a very reckless game I think.'


The would-be bruiser was a loser on this point. In contrast to Griffin's imagined economic destruction of crossborder Anglo-Scottish trade it took His Honour Judge Pelling several hours of learned discourse and deliberation to rule on the following:
  • The English courts have no jurisdiction over chattels held by a Scots defendant (i.e. Kenny and/or Nicholla Smith) domiciled in Scotland where those chattels are located in Scotland.
  • The English courts have no jurisdiction over monies held in bank accounts located in branches of multinational banks such as Lloyds-TSB or Scottish incorporated banks such as the Bank of Scotland and the Royal Bank of Scotland.
  • The English courts do however have jurisdiction over the defendant Kenny Smith regarding the alleged breach of duty of confidence because the action was brought jointly against English defendants.
It was 2:1 to the defendants and their counsel on this point. In short, Griffin's legal team bungled by failing to observe the special relationship of the Scottish legal system. The Judge ruled that each party (claimant and defendant) should pay their own costs of the day's proceedings. BNP donors may be dismayed and disgusted to learn that the claimant's counsel told the Judge that the cost so far to the BNP membership is the princely sum of £30,000 [Oddly, exactly the equivalent of 1000 membership fees]. Court proceedings are in the public domain and that figure from the claimant's counsel can readily be verified.

It was also a politically damaging decision as it exposes the claimant's fundamental lack of understanding of the make up of the governance of Great Britain, an issue of key importance to any ambitious leader of the foremost British Nationalist party.


In a display of goodwill which one can only expect to come from decent and honourable British nationalists the two Scottish defendants, Nicholla and Kenny Smith freely offered to the Court that to spare the leadership any further embarrassment and further legal actions in Scotland, which the Party could ill afford, the chattels claimed by Mr. Griffin could be uplifted at a mutually convenient time. A date and time has been agreed and the chattels will be collected.

Likewise two of the other defendants offered up chattels in their possession, including offering items that the bungling claimants had either overlooked or failed to account for. The duty of care that the claimants have over assets purchased using BNP donors' money has been exposed in this case to be, at the very least found wanting, at worst a complete and incompetent mess.

In a reciprocal arrangement, items of personal property unlawfully removed during a raid in December 2007 by BNP security personnel from the house of former Group Development Officer, Cllr Sadie Graham have also begun to be returned.

Round Two

Round One has ended with a massive blow to the Party finances, coming at a very bad time in the run up to the all important London Assembly elections and donors are right to express criticism of the Leader's misguided and vexatious course of action.

The bad news for everyone concerned is that yesterday's proceedings were not the end of the matter. Round two of Griffin's petulant action against former officers of the Party is due to take place at some point in the near future and centres around the alleged breach of confidence by some or all of the defendants. The charges are vigourously denied by the defendants but the matter is sub judice so that is all that can be said on the matter.

Hard working BNP members who make donations to the party expect the money to be used to push the Party forward at elections and to develop the internal infrastructure. They have every right to have misgivings about Mr. Griffin's plan to seemingly drag the Party's finances into the red on the back of a personal vendetta against former Party officials. Such a course of destructive action is even more extraordinary in the light of the very real damage to the Party as a result of the joint BBC-Labour Party infiltration of branches in West Yorkshire which led to the Secret Agent programme culminating in two free speech trials. No action was ever taken by Griffin against the infiltrators and their collaborators.

Whether Mr. Griffin will bounce back or be flat on his back on the canvass depends on at least another day in a civil court room in Manchester."

Antifascist at Lancaster Unity

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