On 21 March 2017 I was served with a Summons by legal agents acting on behalf of Wildcat Haven Enterprises CIC on a charge of defamation together with a claim of £750,000 damages (plus 8% interest from date of the summons). The action relates to two blogs I wrote In September 2015 and February 2016.
Shortly after this crowdfunder was launched, the pursuer lodged a motion in the Court to call the action and have it heard in Court. The case is therefore no live and will proceed.
I am very grateful to everyone who has been in touch and offered to assist with the costs of this action. Defamation cases can be very expensive and thus I would welcome any assistance with costs. The costs involved are those incurred since the date of the Summons (all costs incurred prior to 21 March 2017 have been settled in full by myself). Before you donate, however, please note the following.
1. Neither you nor I can know what the result of this case will be. I am confident that I have not defamed my pursuer but only the Court can determine whether I am guilty or not.
2. I earn a good salary as an MSP even after my contractual obligation to donate 20% of my post-tax income to the Scottish Green Party. I have £5000 or so of savings but the problem is that I do not know how much this case will cost to defend. I am therefore seeking to raise an initial fund of at least £10,000. Since the crowdfunder was launched, it has become likely that the case will proceed to a proof and the costs are likely to be in the region of £150,000. I have thus set a stretch target for this crowdfunder until mid-June of £50,000.
3. If I am successful in defending this case (and I am confident that I will be), I should be able to secure the recovery of some of my legal expenses (around 60% is typical). In this event, I will reimburse all those who have contributed to my defence fund in proportion to what each party (including myself) has contributed. Thus, if I am successful, you can be assured that you will receive some of your donation back. I will appoint a qualified auditor to report on my costs.
4. Funds raised in this crowdfunder shall be used solely for my legal expenses. If I lose the case and damages are awarded to my pursuer, I shall be personally liable for those. I own no property or assets of any significance and thus, if those damages are substantial, I will declare myself bankrupt and, as a consequence ,will no longer be able to serve as an MSP.
Finally, there are a lot of very deserving causes out there. I am launching this crowdfunder because some people have offered to help and for that I am very grateful. So please do consider carefully whether you wish to support this appeal or not.
Thank you to everyone who has offered their support over the past few months.