Liar, Liar: Edward Smethurst’s claim against Tony Bennett
Summary: Edward Smethurst’s claim against me has been settled on the following agreed terms:a) I will pay the sum of £2,500 agreed damages to Mr Smethurst, without any formal admission of liability. Mr Smethurst has said via Carter-Ruck that he will pay this sum into the Find Madeleine Fund
b) I will in addition pay Mr Smethurst’s reasonable legal costs to date, to be assessed by the court if not agreed between me and him (see below)
c) Carter-Ruck will draw up an undertaking for me to sign which will cover the contents of anything that I may or may not publish about him in the future; the terms of that undertaking to be agreed between us.
The hearing yesterday (7 December):
Carter-Ruck had four people representing them at yesterday’s hearing, which was in Room E117, the chambers of Master Victoria McCloud. They were:
(i) Jacob Dean, barrister
(ii) Isabel Hudson, Senior Partner of Carter-Ruck
(iii) Two female assistants.
Mr Smethurst’s claim, issued by the court on 9 August 2011, was originally for £100,000 damages.
This was primarily a costs management hearing in which Carter-Ruck were asking the Master to approve their ‘costs budget’. This set out, in a series of complex tables, how they had calculated their costs to date (£28,390) and their likely future costs (£143,086.50), which totalled £171, 476.50.
Discussion about Carter-Ruck’s costs bill took up most of the 1¾ hour hearing. The Master queried the very high amount of costs in Carter-Ruck’s budget. The end result was that Carter-Ruck’s costs budget schedule, most unusually, was rejected by the Master, who ordered Carter-Ruck at their own expense to submit another one. Carter-Ruck were given leave to appeal if they wished.
The hearing opened with Jacob Dean, for Mr Smethurst, being able to make a half-hour opening summary of the case. In this address, he set out that the following legal issues to be settled in the case:
a) whether any or all of the comments I made about Mr Smethurst were justified (strictly true)
b) whether, if not justified, they were ‘fair comment’
c) what was the actual meaning of some of the words I used
d) whether I had acted promptly to remove any offending words.
He also claimed that Mr Smethurst had no control on Facebook over who became his friends on his Facebook page. That meant that I would have to have proved to the court that certain named friends of his were there as a matter of his conscious decision. Jacob Dean claimed that anyone could become Mr Smethurst’s ‘Facebook Friend’.
At the hearing the barrister produced a new application, running to several hundred more pages, with exhibits, for ‘Summary Disposal’ of the case. The application contended that I had no arguable case and that the case should be disposed of at a 1-day hearing without the matter ever going to trial. If the case had proceeded, there would have been a 1-day summary trial before a judge. If at that hearing the judge thought that I had an arguable case, the matter would have been set down for a 3-day trial at which all the legal arguments mentioned above would have been considered.
The Master was especially interested in the following aspects of the matter:
a) whether or not I had promptly removed any offending material
b) whether or not Mr Smethurst had followed the Pre-Action Protocol on Defamation, which requires libel claimants to give potential defendants an opportunity to remove any allegedly libellous publications. The Protocol sets out quite clearly that court action should be ‘a last resort’
c) whether or not Mr Smethurst should have issued proceedings on 9 August when I had met all the demands of Carter-Ruck’s initial two letters of 4 August
d) whether Mr Smethurst’s claim for £100,000 damages was ‘proportional’: i.e. whether such a large claim was reasonable in respect of comments made on a small internet forum and which were removed on request
e) whether the steps taken in the proceedings to date by Carter-Ruck were proportionate, having regard in particular to my prompt removal of any offending material.
At the conclusion of the case, the Master said that she was “fully seized of all the issues relating to the need for claimants to follow the pre-Action Protocol and as to proportionality”.
In terms, this may well mean that a large part of Mr Smethurst’s costs claim may be disallowed by the court.
Once a libel claim has been issued, and bearing in mind the gross inequality of resources in this case, tough choices have to be made. My choice was to settle on the most favourable terms that I could agree.
Jacob Dean is talking out of his arse, Smethurst accepted friend requests from Ben Murphy and James Halley. Unless of course we are to believe that his Facebook account was hacked! Anyone who uses Facebook will know that friend requests have to be accepted by those one wishes to befriend before they will be listed as a Facebook friend of that particular person.
Murphy and Halley are Facebook friends of Smethurst. Both are also Facebook friends of Greg Bailey aka Greg ‘the groomer’ Bailey.
Smethurst is fan of the the Elephant and Castle pub in Rochdale, as is his Facebook friend Halley.
Murphy is a fan of Fisting; a sexual activity that involves inserting a hand into the vagina or rectum. Once insertion is complete, the fingers either naturally clench into a fist or remain straight. In more vigorous forms of fisting, such as “punching”, a fully clenched fist may be inserted and withdrawn slowly. Fisting may be performed with or without a partner. Given that Murphy is also a fan of ‘cock sauce’, I suspect he prefers to receive fists rather than take. He was also at one time a fan of ‘bestiality’ – the illegal practice of sex between man and beast. However, It is not know if Murphy is a practicing zoophile.
Halley is a fan of ‘drugs’ and ‘crack’….he also appears to be interested in having a ‘boob job’!
A brief exchange between Smethurst’s Facebook friend Halley and Greg ‘the groomer’ Bailey retrieved from Facebook in 2009
“i reckon every time you log on to facebook a child gets groomed for sex ! Greg the Groomer
July 15 at 2:43pm Greg Bailey: Halley I’m not the one on the register, you however are a fully registered sex pest was your bid to buy neverland ranch successful or are you still going to be hanging around outside toddler groups?
July 15 at 2:46pm James Halley you are the worst of the sex offenders, the type that trawls the internet pretending to be a fellow six year old before arranging to meet up behind the rugby club for “a chat”. at least a jacko built an amusement park to keep them happy while he fingered them !
July 15 at 2:51pm”
“Halley shes a bit old for you aint she ? i thought the worst sexually transmitted disease you have had before was getting hundreds and thousands stuck under your foreskin from offering a young boy a “lick of your special lolly”
July 17 at 7:35pmGreg Bailey nah mate she cleans my shoes and I get a suck free with it! as for the hundreds and thousands I read in the paper that, that trick is known in pedo circles as the halley. any idea why?
July 17 at 7:39pm James Halley i got it from a forum on gregthegroomer.com, there is link for it on the Mothercare website
July 17 at 7:41pm Greg Bailey I heard about that site it apparently was started by some midget with a beard because he was jealous of a handsome man taking all his porn away!
July 17 at 7:43pm James Halley she did start the site off and i must admit your mum seemed a little upset about loosing her usual clients, but i guarantee she thinks your far from handsome . . . .your dad on the other hand thinks you one of the prettiest boys around