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Cllr. Khan “Slapped” down by Californian court

with 64 comments

PhotobucketMotion to Strike found to be frivolous

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.

Khan named as defendantKhan named as defendant

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Written by curly

September 9, 2011 at 9:32 am

64 Responses

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  1. “As the blog is anonymous, the legal proceedings taken do not identify a named defendant.

    “Coun Khan has chosen to intervene in the proceedings and claim they are directed at him.

    “Our legal advisors have informed us that Coun Khan’s application was dismissed because Coun Khan was not a party to, nor was he named in the original complaint.

    “The judge has ruled that Coun Khan’s motion to strike out the action was denied on the grounds that it was frivolous.

    “As a result of Coun Khan filing this motion, the direct legal costs to the council have increased by many thousands of pounds.

    “The court has, however awarded costs in favour of the council and our American lawyers are now drafting the necessary papers to recover these additional costs from Coun Khan.

    Found this in the Gazette Curly, many readers will form the view that by going to the court and intervening in a case against unnamed parties that he might indeed see himself as the defendant. A pretty silly and expensive mistake on his part I would say. Not the first time that he has rushed to litigation, floundered and cost the tax payers of South Tyneside heaps in legal fees.

    B. Ware

    September 10, 2011 at 8:46 am

  2. Perhaps at long last the two previously vocal, well vocal on twitter, parties, have decided to follow the sensible example of 3 0f the plaintiffs, and let their lawyers do the talking. My numerous previous blogs on this subject express, some might say at too great a length, my views on this matter.


    September 10, 2011 at 9:07 am

    • He is ending up more costly to us then the expense claimers who he keeps attacking.

      Sandra D

      September 10, 2011 at 11:09 am

  3. Amidst all the juvenile twitterings, snipes, digs, abuse, and potentially defamatory statements, perhaps Councillors “virtual” or real and their sometime OTT critics should reflect upon Paragraph 3(1) of the Code of Conduct for Councillors “TREATING OTHERS WITH RESPECT” “criticism of ideas and opinions is part of democratic debate and does not in itself amount to bullying or failing to treat someone with respect” “Ideas and ;policies may be robustly criticised but individuals should not be subject to unreasonable or excessive personal attack. This particularly applies to dealing with public and Officers.” “Rude and offensive behaviour lowers the public’s expectations and confidence in its elected representatives”. Simple, straightforward, non legalistic, so why is it so difficult to follow…


    September 13, 2011 at 5:28 pm

  4. Ironically the “virtual reality” plaintiff/councillor snipes yet again at the public sector; meanwhile STC Legal pursue the “Monkey” at public expense, involving STC Solicitors and Legal Executives who are public sector workers.


    September 17, 2011 at 12:34 pm

  5. Even the litigious Khan appears to be more in touch with reality than the “VR Councillor”, if public sector workers have 26 weeks off each year, how on earth are STC Lawyers finding the time to deal with Monkey business? As for Gold plated pensions, possibly for those few earning 100K plus, not the average local govt solicitor I hasten to add…


    September 17, 2011 at 7:04 pm

  6. Khan must wonder how the Monkey business legal work was ever progressed by STC Lawyers, according to the 24/7 “VR Councillor” not only do public sector workers enjoy 26 weeks hols per annum, they are “lazy” as well. The irony is fascinating, the logic non existent.


    September 17, 2011 at 11:51 pm

  7. LL.B. You are yet another one of the annonymous cowards making comments on issues of which you have liittle or no understanding. If your logic and judgement is so sound, then stop hiding behind your keyboard and name yourself. Chicken?

    David Potts

    September 18, 2011 at 12:21 am

    • 40 years in public sector; zzzzzzz…


      September 18, 2011 at 7:01 am

  8. Making inaccurate assumptions and sniping with a limited range of puerile cliches is the tired tactic of an intellectual and rhetorical bankrupt.

    Obiter dictum

    September 18, 2011 at 11:43 am

  9. 40 years, as a solicitor in the public sector? Couldn’t you get a job as a real lawyer?

    David Potts

    September 18, 2011 at 11:57 am

  10. See the pertinent comment from my learned friend “obiter dIctum” Why does LL.B= solicitor? Presumably the STC lawyers who are pursuing “Mr Monkey” on your behalf are not real lawyers, in your opinion, unfortunately, the costs to the local taxpayer are only too real.


    September 18, 2011 at 1:04 pm

  11. The ratio decidendi being that delivered by Oscar Wilde “when you make an assumption you make an ass out of you and me”.

    Obiter dictum

    September 18, 2011 at 1:16 pm

  12. More big words, boys. I’m impressed. Real men, post under their own names. Grow up

    David Potts

    September 18, 2011 at 5:29 pm

  13. And women too no doubt; as well as “real” police officers, teachers, EHOs, TSOs, Social Workers etc who don’t work in the private sector.


    September 18, 2011 at 6:34 pm

  14. Try five days in the private sector, mate. Target driven, 20 days off a year, few perks. You guys have a cute deal.

    David Potts

    September 18, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    • Talking of deals cute or otherwise; builder undertakes to complete conservatory for client on 20th December in good time for Xmas, mate; come the 23rd, it having been a mild and clement autumn/winter, conservatory half built, no windows, doors etc, LL.B to said builder “how will client be able to relax and enjoy Xmas?” Builder to LL.B “not my problem, mate I am off to Malaga until the 7th January”. Target driven and few perks!


      September 18, 2011 at 7:45 pm

  15. Oh and we’re lucky if our firms even offer us a pension. If they do then they certainly aren’t gov’t backed and heavily subsidised by the state.

    David Potts

    September 18, 2011 at 7:08 pm

  16. To quote the Socrates of The Boldons most intelligent observation zzzzzzz….


    September 18, 2011 at 7:33 pm

  17. Very simple question. If you have something to say and it is valid and the truth why do you have to hide behind anonymity?

    David Potts

    September 19, 2011 at 2:51 am

  18. It is to quote DSK a “moral failure”, and one that appears to be shared by many. However, I would never subscribe to making vicious, false and personal attack in tweets and blogs, and fully support STC’s pursuit of the primate(s), even though it apparently involves unfairly maligned public sector lawyers working alongside gold plated private LA Law, and the use of funds that I would prefer to see spent to support local libraries for example.Sadly, the setting up of personalised attack tweets appears to be a growing problem. The best advice is ignore them, responding only feeds their frenzy.


    September 19, 2011 at 1:04 pm

  19. So no answer to my question then?

    Libraries, really? To be honest they’re the first thing I’d shut. Nobody uses them other than little old ladies and the odd five year old. A mobile library could service the Borough just as well. In fact it would probably provide a better service to our communities by getting closer to the people.

    David Potts

    September 19, 2011 at 1:41 pm

  20. Please visit Central Library, for example, Local History Library full of wide cross section of public, researching local issues, excellent professional staff working hard, no sign of laziness there. It is pointless to debate with someone, who apparently has such limited knowledge of LA Services, Khan uses Central Library, and, for all his faults, is at least in touch with ST community, and as far as I can tell does not make derisory comments about public sector workers.


    September 19, 2011 at 2:00 pm

  21. If you love it so much then get yourself down there when they’re all on strike. You can man the phones.

    David Potts

    September 19, 2011 at 2:36 pm

  22. Merely presenting a “snap shot” of a specific local authority service, based on the experience of actually using it, talking to staff and spending time there using the available resources to widen knowledge of some local historical legal issues; cannot see the relevance of the comment , but throwaway “non sequiter” remarks seem to be the forte of those who apparently cannot debate. I might as well try and fantasise that I undersatand the relevance of and mechanics of currency wheeling and dealing, and make some inappropriate general observation concerning private sector “non jobbery”. As far as I am concerned I would prefer it if STC did not have to spend a fortune on Monkey Business and could use the money to offset parking charges, or effect some improvements to local parks or other communal leisure facilities; the list is endless.I would have thought a basic, informed, objective knowledge of the job descriptions, qualifications and day to day work of, for example, librarians, teachers, environmental health officers, gardeners, social workers etc would have been a prerequisite for an elected member, coupled with some knowledge of the clientele/ customers/clients of such well established LA services. My view is that the Monkeys whoever they are should, if legally possible, be surcharged to pay for the investigation.


    September 19, 2011 at 4:48 pm

  23. You over complicate things. I’m 29 years old and I don’t know a single person of my age group (or indeed <50) who uses South Shields library. It's old hat. That is my point. Must you always resort to insults when presented with a challenge? Problem you have is that you know I'm right.

    David Potts

    September 19, 2011 at 5:08 pm

  24. I dont know, or have ever had a passing acquaitance with a single person of any age who knows or cares what a foreign exchange dealer does, but that does not invalidate the job/profession “per se”. I research by actually going to places and looking ; the library, which I use purely as an example of a particular LA service, which has a lengthy and respected history, has a clientele ranging from young children to a cross section of young adults, as well as 50 plussers, who can be observed using the local library, reference library and borrowing books on any given day. Even the traditional, cloistered and academic Lit and Phil library in Newcastle has members of all ages. The management of Newcastle John Lewis might just as well say off the top of their heads that their customer base are middle class residents of Jesmond, or the English Rugby Union might just as well say that the Twickenham crowd is made up of socio economic class A and B males, aged over 40. Read the research and surveys, go and look for yourself, talk to people. That applies to the providers and users of any LA Service not just libraries.ST Legals presumably studied real law textbooks in libraries, public or academic, at some stage and at public expense, remember Ms Khan, to her credit, graduated in law.


    September 19, 2011 at 6:02 pm

  25. “go and look for yourself, talk to people”. I talk to people every day, Sir. You are clearly out of touch with modern society.

    David Potts

    September 19, 2011 at 9:13 pm

  26. An egregious non sequitur…


    September 19, 2011 at 10:15 pm

  27. Potes meos suaviari clunes

    David Potts

    September 19, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    • Derideo te! Egregiously…


      September 19, 2011 at 11:16 pm

  28. You are very childish aren’t you. A bitter ex local gov’t officer I expect.

    David Potts

    September 19, 2011 at 11:21 pm

  29. Dof Van Der Merwe. Very comfortably off retired public sector worker, now living the “Big Society dream”.zzzzzzz


    September 20, 2011 at 12:21 am

  30. Enjoy. Whilst the working classes (i.e. people like me) work our backsides off every day, it’s nice to know that you are living in the lap of luxury on a taxpayer-subsidised pension, after years of shooting the breeze in your luxury Town Hall offices.

    David Potts

    September 20, 2011 at 12:34 am

  31. Sequere pecuniam, consul minimus. Never had an office in a Toon Hall; private pension plan.


    September 20, 2011 at 1:11 am

  32. He who writes the cheques makes the rules. Bottom line. Sorry, don’t know the Latin for that.

    David Potts

    September 20, 2011 at 1:15 am

  33. Mr Potts I have no knowledge of your cv so perhaps you could enlighten me as to the precise nature of how you have worked your backside off since leaving full time education.


    September 20, 2011 at 3:58 pm

  34. Getting back on topic at last; is it possible that LA Law have advised Khan to desist from twittering, or should we perhaps be asking for DCI Vera Stanhope’s assistance in finding out why SLAPP’d or not he has apparently taken a vow of “virtual reality” silence.Earlier I mentioned personal research in local history library, ironically and sadly, I was looking at transcripts of inquiries into 19th Century mining disasters; perhaps we should take time out to reflect upon the numerous working persons who are killed and injured in industrial accidents in the UK. Also reflect upon the fact that fire service personnel, police,paramedics, medics and H&SE investigators perform invaluable public service at such times, as do the trade unions, teachers, social workers etc who try to pick up the pieces after these tragic events.


    September 20, 2011 at 6:33 pm

  35. It is now 21st September. I would have thought that a reply to Ispy could have been made by now, unless Potts is far too busy (any time left for constituents?) It is a question many of us would like to see. Perhaps something will turn up.

    Mr Micawber.

    September 21, 2011 at 3:20 pm

  36. Sorry. Should read “would like to see answered.”

    Mr Micawber.

    September 21, 2011 at 3:21 pm

  37. Am I the only one who finds it ironic that David Potts rails against public sector workers, whilst at the same time South Tyneside Council classifies him as a public sector employee in order to justify throwing council tax payers’ cash at this little legal adventure?


    September 21, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    • Probably not Brian, I’m sure Mr. LLB has also spotted some irony.


      September 21, 2011 at 8:23 pm

  38. “Mr Micawber”

    Allow me to make a number of things very clear.

    A) I comply with all of the rules set for local councillors. I was elected in 2004 and have never been censured by the Standards Board for any infringements of the Code of Conduct.

    B) I declare my interests to the council as required by law. You are free to inspect these by appointment with the local authority.

    C) Do you really expect a man who has been subjected to a vicious and anonymous Internet smear campaign, spanning over four years, to reveal personal information that he is not legally required to provide to yet another anonymous coward hiding behind the name of a fictional character? If you and your family had been subjected to the filth and lies spread by these lumps of cowardly bastards, would you release it?

    D) I am not, as you clearly believe, a piece of public property. You have no right to demand details of my private business. However if, which I sincerely doubt, you have the balls to name yourself then I will happily facilitate a meeting with you at the Town Hall to discuss your issues. Otherwise, please feel free to hide behind your keyboard. You sad, sad individual.

    David Potts

    September 23, 2011 at 11:53 pm

  39. Cllr Potts I’ve read much about you in the public domain and your personal problems. I thought it a brave decision to go public and for a time you had my respect. but your attitude here as an elected public servant is far below the standard I would expect. Your obviously a bright fella it does you no service at all to engage in this way.


    September 25, 2011 at 11:59 am

  40. Cannot understand the problem with anonymity or use of pseudonyms on twitter and blog sites, so you blog/tweet as John Evans, what difference does that make? Why is a straightforward question or challenge to a statement/opinion posed on a responsible blog site perceived to be a personal attack,apparently meriting a name calling response, as opposed to those personally intrusive and damaging blog and twitter sites, whose existence and content is a blot on the ST political landscape, and which stray into potentially defamatory, even criminal areas, and therefore deserve criticism and censure. If you are elected to any organisation, surely there is a basic duty to consult with and meet with members, workers, employees, users of facilities and regularly attend meetings and events of said organisation, in other words to participate. Basildon Council have allegedly spent £18 million pounds in pursuit of action against the travellers, wonder what the blogging/tweeting scene is like in that area…


    September 25, 2011 at 1:42 pm

  41. Apologies should read £8 million..


    September 25, 2011 at 1:48 pm

  42. “Try 5 days in the private sector, target driven, 20 days off per year; worked my backside off.” All we want to know is what you were doing that enabled you to make these statements – yes, you made them not someone else. I am rapidly approaching 81 years of age and have worked from leaving school until 65 years of age. No great pension, I live on what I get from the state. I always worked at least 40 hours per week, always in the private sector and though subjected to redundancy found new employment before the notice period elapsed, so NEVER out of work. All we want to know is what you have done to enable you to make the opening remarks in this reply. With my background, I feel I have EARNED the right to remain anonymous if that is what I want. You, sir, have chosen to enter the public domain in the field of politics so therefore we have the right to ask questions that relate to your suitability for the post of Councillor. With what you have had to say about “little old ladies and under 5’s” I would question your ability to fairly represent all who live in your constituency. Finally, I don’t really want to meet you in the Town Hall because if I did, I would be putting you over my knee and smacking you where you deserve to be smacked. So either grow up and answer the question or withdraw the above statements.

    Mr Micawber

    September 25, 2011 at 11:40 pm

  43. Yada, yada. I won’t answer to anonymous cowards. As for the spanking, you threaten. Unless you are female and aged between 20-35, I’m not interested.

    David Potts

    September 26, 2011 at 12:53 am

  44. Not female but I do my fair share of drinking (if that interests you), Not a coward either. I don’t threaten lightly.

    Mr Micawber

    September 26, 2011 at 8:38 am

  45. Are you not able to read, Potts? I did say I was fast approaching 81 so why “unless you are between 20 and 35”?

    Mr Micawber

    September 26, 2011 at 8:40 am

  46. Mr Potts all I asked from you was that you tell me the nature of the work that you have been ‘working your backside off’ doing. If you use your own circumstances as an illustration of ‘private sector good,public sector bad’ then we need to know what it is you do that makes you more hard working than someone employed in the library or Town Hall. A simple request.


    September 26, 2011 at 9:11 am

  47. Sorry, will have to leave this for now. Off to Amsterdam and not for the drugs or sex – been there, done that, got the T-shirt. Visiting Royal Palace and Nieuwe Kerk. Re-join later if any developments but think I have sussed out his occupation. Will let you know.

    Mr Micawber

    September 26, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    • foreign exchange trader Mr M


      September 26, 2011 at 7:04 pm

  48. Got the ciggies, back in business (I don’t smoke, either) Well Avatar, I won’t argue but will rather put in my own opinion. Firstly, he doesn’t work night shift ( see times of his postings) Secondly, he doesn’t work afternoon shift (ditto) Thirdly, he doesn’t work evening shift (ditto). So it looks as though he does a couple of hours sometime in the mornings. Could be a bed-maker in a hotel. More likely he spends his time looking at a computer screen – see latest photo with rectangular shaped lenses. I am a bit concerned at the moment though because it looks as though he is either pulling a sickie again or away on holiday again (South Africa?) He’s disappeared off this screen so what is he up to? Do you know, Avatar?

    September 28, 2011 at 12:21 pm

  49. Sorry, last comment should be from……………………… I’ll be alright when the jet-lag disappears

    Mr Micawber

    September 28, 2011 at 12:27 pm

  50. For clarity: I work for a company called Craigmile & Potts LLC. The company is based in Iowa, USA and conducts no business in the UK. This can all be seen in my register of interests.

    David Potts

    September 30, 2011 at 2:54 am

  51. Is this another example of the ST/USA “special relationship”? Perhaps Khan has jetted over to join Billy Connolly on Route 66…

    John Evans

    September 30, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    • Whatever the criticisms, justified or otherwise, at least AK rolls up his sleeves and starts meeting with face to face and working for his constituents upon his return to ST.

      John Evans

      October 1, 2011 at 7:30 pm

  52. But Mr Potts what do you do for them that involves ‘working your backside off? This could be anything from a Janitor to a CEO.


    October 1, 2011 at 6:44 pm

  53. Had a look at the Craigmile website. Interesting piece welcoming a new contributor’ full time British Private Trader David Potts.’ He lives in Hertfordshire but frequently returns to his native North East the website goes on to say. I’ll bet the good folk of Cleadon and East Boldon will be delighted at being represented by a resident of Hertfordshire!
    Mr Craigmile goes on to say he has not actually met Mr Potts…welcome to the world of the Cleadon and East Boldon electorate.


    October 2, 2011 at 2:11 pm

  54. Is this “Private Trader” tag a prerequisite for Gamblers Anonymous?

    Mr Micawber

    October 2, 2011 at 11:42 pm

  55. Ironically, it seems to be a “virtual reality” netherworld populated by some interesting pseudonyms; one wonders how long some of the inhabitants would survive as say a frontline fireman/woman, police officer, classroom teacher, librarian even, as a solicitor in private practice, or the owner of a business selling goods or services to the public….

    John Evans

    October 4, 2011 at 5:30 pm

  56. Aw come on he told us he ‘worked his backside off’ so it must be true…like when he was in South Africa.


    October 4, 2011 at 7:18 pm

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