On Tuesday I was in the splendid Victorian Gothic surrounds of Court 14 in the Royal Courts of Justice at the Strand before Mr Justice Tugendhat, who is a highly respected ornament to the Judicial Bench of England and Wales.
The occasion arose out of the activities of one of UKIP’s ‘keyboard warriors’, Mr Stuart Parr of Brookside (sic), Telford, Shropshire, who wrote some months ago that the English Democrats were “Not left, not right, JUST RACIST”, This is of course simply a lie.
I asked Mr Parr to apologise and to withdraw the remark, but he refused to do so.
One of the interesting elements in this attack by Mr Parr, in his role as "Bloggers for UKIP", was that it took place very shortly after I had told Nigel Farrage that I was not interested in joining UKIP. Also at that time Mr Farrage was involved personally in trying to recruit other English Democrats to UKIP. Draw your own conclusions!
Mr Parr had regularly criticised me in past blogs and therefore in effect identified me, which raised the possibility that, by doing so, he had taken the case outside of the rule that political parties cannot sue however outrageous and untruthful any remark may be in which they are attacked.
Interestingly, and usefully for the future, the Judge has ruled that, if Mr Parr had mentioned me by name in the defamatory remarks, then I would be clearly within my rights to sue. As he had not specifically mentioned me I therefore had to go through various legal technical pleading “hoops” to bring my case. As I was only suggesting that Mr Parr should pay £500 by way of a token to a charity of my choice, I naturally had not been prepared to spend the thousands of pounds on the case that would have been required to get libel barristers involved.
In the circumstances the case will not be going forward but I make no apology for firing a warning shot across the bows of Mr Parr and indeed any of the other enemies of English nationalism who might be prepared to adopt gutter tactics to attack us.
As the old saying goes it is not the dog in the fight but the fight in the dog that counts and there is plenty of fight left in this old dog!
As it was, I rather enjoyed my outing, which may get reported in the press as there was a journalist present.
Below is my witness statement that was submitted in this case.
R C W Tilbrook
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE CASE NO. H12D00280
QUEEN’S BENCH DIVISION
ROBIN CHARLES WILLIAM TILBROOK
- and -
I, Robin Charles William Tilbrook, of Quires Green, Willingale, Ongar, Essex, CM5 0QP, will says as follows:-
1. I am the Claimant in this case and I am also the sole Principal of Tilbrook’s Solicitors. I am also a past President of the Mid-Essex Law Society.
2. It is obviously professionally important to me to maintain my good name, as I would naturally wish to do so, as I would suspect would any honourable person. In any case I do bitterly resent any allegation that I am a racist.
3. I am also the Chairman and one of the founder members of the English Democrats Party, which is a party whose primary purpose is to campaign for a Parliament, First Minister and Government for England with at least the same powers as the Scottish ones within a federal UK. The Party is expressly open to peoples of all background, ethnicity, etc., who share our aims and, indeed, we have stood quite a few candidates who are not ethnically English, not only people of Scottish, Welsh and Irish extraction, but also Jewish, Sikh and Kashmiri and Muslim.
4. I mention about the English Democrats Party because we are an avowedly non-racist Party. I appreciate that I could not bring this claim on behalf of the Party. Although any accusation that the Party is racist would be very unfair and untruthful, I do appreciate that the courts have, perhaps wisely, excluded this, given the potential scope for litigation. Our country now unfortunately has an unpleasant, untruthful and amoral political culture, in which all too many political opponents have no scruple or compunction about lying about parties and individuals that they oppose.
5. I have not met the Defendant very often. He was a fellow member of the Campaign for an English Parliament. I now think I may have fallen into the trap of taking him at face value and assuming that his motives were honourable. It now appears in fact that his involvement with the Campaign for an English Parliament was mostly focussed on undermining them and preventing them from making any progress and also for reasons of personal profit. In any event, to my knowledge, he appeared, until recently, to be someone who was a sincere, patriotic Englishman, despite the incongruity and inconsistency of him being an activist for the United Kingdom Independence Party (“UKIP”).
6. I gradually became aware over the course of several years that the Defendant appeared on the internet masquerading under several different names and in most guises claiming to be a sincere English nationalist but claiming that the English Democrats were simply the wrong type of English Nationalist and therefore should not be supported. He was also unusually keen to highlight any mistakes that had been made. As time has gone on I have appreciated more and more that in fact these attacks were part of a sustained campaign by the Defendant and several other UKIP activists that he is working with. I know this has been described as a UKIP “Black Ops Team” of internet trolls.
7. On various occasions the Defendant has criticised me on his blog and highlighted my role as Chairman/Leader of the English Democrats Party. It follows that any attacks on the Party by the Defendant are inevitably closely entwined with attacks on persons, such as myself, that he has clearly identified as being the decision makers within the Party.
8. Although most of his attacks on me have been incorrect and misguided, I have become increasingly conscious that he has been attempting to smear my personal reputation and I consider that he has done so in this case. He has also done so from the ignoble motive of seeking to obtain improper advantage for his Party. To me the allegation that the English Democrats (and therefore myself) are “just racist” is simply one too many dishonest smears by this Defendant.
9. I accordingly wrote to him seeking a retraction/apology/and offer of amends. Far from retracting the comment, or in any way being conciliatory, the Defendant published the correspondence and commented upon it seeking to smear my reputation further. The Defendant made no attempt to claim in his further comments that I was not one of his intended victims.
10. So far as I can see, the Defendant’s case and Application rests upon pure technicalities, rather than any attempt to deal with the claim justly, either within the meaning of the Civil Procedure Rules or at all. In open correspondence I have made it clear that I restrict my claim to £500 which of course would usually be well below the Small Claims limit; albeit as a libel claim the rules require it to be conducted in the High Court. In the circumstances I do not consider this Application to be either well-founded or proportionate.
Statement of Truth
I believe that the facts in this Witness Statement are true.
Signed………………………………….. Dated …………………….
Robin Charles William Tilbrook