Cllr. Khan “Slapped” down by Californian court
South Tyneside Independent Alliance councillor Ahmed Khan continues to be in a running legal battle with four plaintiffs including three fellow South Tyneside councillors and a senior council officer. His Twitter account having been named in court papers in California’s San Mateo District Court in an action designed to make social network site Twitter reveal details of posting activities to help in the investigation of the mystery blogger Mr. Monkey, Khan’s
pro bono lawyers filed an anti-Slapp (strategic lawsuit against public participation) motion to try and “strike” out the case put forward by the plaintiffs. Khan’s defence team intended to pursue a route which claimed that the lawsuit was an attack on freedom of speech and expression under US law. Yesterday the presiding judge the honourable V. Raymond Swope ruled that Ahmed Khan “failed to meet his threshold burden of showing that his acts arose from protected activity”. He also stated that “the instant motion is FRIVOLOUS”, and EVEN MORE EGREGIOUS than the filing to strike in a reference case used as precedent.
Having already launched a campaign of self publicity claiming that his freedom of speech, and that of his constituents, was being denied by the council’s legal action using social networking site Twitter and the help of a freelance former Shields Gazette journalist, Khan’s Twitter page is today benignly silent on the latest US legal action. The plaintiffs too are wisely keeping their counsel apart from stating that the case is ongoing.
It might help clear some misunderstandings amongst the public if the plaintiffs would release a statement telling us the general themes of their legal actions, the necessity for bring them, the reasoning for the use of public funding during this investigative stage, and their desired outcomes.
You can keep up to date with the US case here, searching under “case number search” for case type “unlimited civil”, and case number 482779.
The plaintiffs are required to show their intent to press ahead with the case by the beginning of October.