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Archive for the ‘Law’ Category

Cllr. McCabe’s finest moment.

with one comment

Why does one councillor spend so much time effort and risk in attempting to stop a legal action?

Cllr. John McCabe has some fine words published in the Shields Gazette this evening, as we learn that Cllr. Khan’s appeal will add massively to the sums expended by South Tyneside Council as they attempt to umask the mystery Monkey blogger:

“Let’s be clear. The Monkey blog is not some whistle-blowing caped-crusader seeking justice for the underdog. It is a vile, filthy and tawdry blog full of lies, slander and frankly horrendous filth against councillors, council staff, their families and reputable businesses in the borough.

“The council has a duty of care to its staff. Cyber bullying should not be tolerated. Four people, who have been libelled the most, agreed to allow their names to be used in the US Courts to seek to unmask this pathetic individual.

“We don’t know who it is, the council has never suggested it is Coun Khan, but given his frantic attempts to undermine this case it is hard to understand why he would spend so much time, effort and risk so much money trying to stop the legal action.

“Coun Khan’s anti-SLAPP motion was an attempt to stop the council unmasking the individual operating as Mr Monkey, but Coun Khan’s actions were dismissed by a judge as ‘frivolous’ at a hearing in September and costs were awarded in favour of the council. In my view, he owes the council taxpayer more than £40,000.”

It is a strange day which sees the passing of one councillor who cost the council taxpayer so little over 45 years  and another intent on costing us so much over a much shorter period. Instead of prolonging the legal actions in the US why doesn’t Cllr. Khan bring matters to a head and call the plaintiffs’ bluff by inviting them to launch a libel action in the UK?

I’m sure that the majority of us in South Tyneside would like to see the end of this affair in a more clear cut manner than the Suarez/Evra long winded  handshake and subsequent apologies.


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Written by curly

February 13, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Cllr. Khan was unavailable for comment this morning

with 4 comments

Cllr. Ahmed KhanOh that does make a pleasant change, but hang on a minute, he has plenty to say this afternoon on his Twitter page where he uses this picture to represent his account. The file is entitled smb.jpg, I wonder if the “m” stands for monkey?

Really, there are times when it is better advised to stay quiet until the whole business is resolved in the courts and to desist from accusing South Tyneside council officials of telling lies and hiding the truth, and also just as well advised to stop insulting half of the football fans in your ward.

Whatever the outcome, and whatever the future holds for the South Shields based Cllr. Khan, he can be assured that he has made some sort of memorable mark on South Tyneside’s political scene.

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Written by curly

November 23, 2011 at 7:36 pm

Revealing figures

with 12 comments

leg showThe intrigue is quite alluring

Councillor David Potts the independent representative for Cleadon Village and East Boldon, continues to tease us with quiet revelatory Tweats concerning his rival representing the Beacon and Bents ward on South Tyneside Council, as it appears that the court case surrounding the infamous Mr. Monkey blogs in California rumbles on tediously.

In this Tweat he invites us to look at the figures regarding the business owned by Cllr. Ahmed Khan, Simply Workwear in Dean Road, South Shields: we have often had local businessmen and women represented on our local council, names such as Warden Newby, Albert Surtees,  Harry Marshall, Derek Thorpe, Bill Upsall, Maurice Piggott, and Lawrence Nolan are just a few of the many who come to mind as running successful businesses in the town. Their acumen and experience in understanding financial matters gave them valuable assistance in the examining and challenging of public finances in a way that brought some clarity to debate in the council chamber. It is also worth noting that there have also been successful businessmen representing the Labour Party in South Tyneside too.

Yet one must ask if it reasonable to assume that the public expects a level of success and competence when it comes to number crunching which can be applied in the public forum, which gives us confidence that good decisions will eventually be the outcome.

Whilst we can see that the finances of Simply Workwear do not appear to be the “rosiest” amongst those listed at Company House, and that two other companies operated by Cllr. Khan (Skorpion Recruitment Services Ltd., and Skorpion Property Services Ltd.) have been dissolved, Cllr. Khan continues to involve himself in expensive litigation. The ongoing case in the US at the San Mateo County Court in California now moves on to January 5th. next year when all parties are to present an updated case management statement. Yesterday Mr. Barrage for Cllr. Khan stated that an appeal against the Judge’s denial of the anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) motion and a cross complaint will be filed, all of this adds to the legal costs which might fall on Cllr. Khan if he is not successful as the plaintiffs are determined that he carry all of their costs, including those so far expended by South Tyneside Council. You can keep up to date with the progress of the court case here, by searching under “case number search” for “unlimited civil” using case number 482779.

With all of the revealing seduction of a femme fatale one wonders just exactly how much we will eventually see.

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Written by curly

October 5, 2011 at 9:32 am

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

Riot narrative heading in wrong direction

with 15 comments

Ill considered words and gestures ramping up repression

It’s OK talking and acting tough if you are getting results that matter to the rest of us, but David Cameron’s performance in the House of Commons yesterday, whilst good for his own authority as PM, does not portend well if he actually means what he says.

The overall impression that Cameron saved the country from burning down by returning from holiday early might look great to some but there is a lot of discomfort behind the headlines. Talking of tracking down and punishing the rioters would be fine if that is what he actually meant, the courts so far have sent out very mixed signals with some lenient sentences and some heavier sentences, but what is apparent is the lust of ordinary people up and down the country to lock young people away and throw away the key. Cameron latched on to this as he abandoned his “hug a hoodie” attitude promising jail terms for those convicted of involvement in the riots and looting, yet surely what we really need to see is armies of strictly supervised young people working at least 40 hours per week in their communities putting right the damage that they have caused. Surely this will have more productive long term benefits than locking them away for foolishly stealing bottled water, in six months some of them may even be on their way towards learning a skill or a trade!

Cameron talked of legislating to increase the sentences available to magistrates, instead of thinking about toughening up referral orders where offenders may only be required to work a few hours per week in the community, and what did he mean by a review of dispersal rules to give a “wider power of curfew”? Something which perhaps might be a terrible burden on the innocent and unaffected. He made pretty overt and open criticism of the Met Police’s failure to deal with the initial outbreak of violence in Tottenham, perhaps unfairly without first praising the bravery of the individual officers who faced that first unruly mob, and it is already coming back to bite him as sections of the police feel rather slighted and Sir Hugh Orde rounded on politicians and the Home Secretary in particular.

On taking office as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher immediately had the police on side with a 40% pay increase, David Cameron does not have that advantage, he faced increasing frustration in the House of Commons yesterday over future police budgets and this argument is now spreading into the wider public forum, his only counter balance is to offer more powers to the police which always carries the risk of repressive policy which does not convey the “consensual policing” that many regard as the cornerstone of British law enforcement. Talking of closing down or restricting the services of certain social networking sites is dangerous and unnecessary,  it is not the services at fault it is the users. Conservative MP Louise Mensch has waded in with this:

“Common sense. If riot info and fear is spreading by Facebook & Twitter, shut them off for an hour or two, then restore. World won’t implode,”

Yet we baulk at the suggestions that other countries such as Burma, Saudi Arabia, Iran, or China take such oppressive action to censor the internet, those few small hours certainly would represent the thin end of the wedge and lead us down a darker path! Paradoxically it might even prevent the emergence of real community spirit evidence by the “broom army” in London. The whole concept of censorship and the choking of information is not something that I welcome, it is inherently not the British way and will damage good journalism (and yes we have to acknowledge that some of the news coverage fed the ambitions of the rioting crowds for a couple of days) resourceful journalist made very good use of Twitter to get around London, Manchester, and Birmingham to cover events and some of their stories and pictures have led to the identification of suspects and consequent arrests.

So we heard a few knee jerk reactions yesterday, the dust is settling, the politicians can resume their holidays, the magistrates will continue to confound, but has this emergency session of Parliament really changed the game? Well, yes it did a little, but not for the common good.

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Written by curly

August 12, 2011 at 10:44 am


with 40 comments

police baton Standard issue Met Police baton

This is the standard Met issue Arnold baton, I don’t think it has seen a lot of use over the past couple of days, and while plenty of commentators are advocating the use of water canon and armoured vehicles, and even suggesting an imposed curfew (which hurts the innocent law abiding citizen) perhaps we ought to allow the police in London to use what they already have.

For too long now we have treat the feral youths of our capital and other large cities with kid gloves, mollycoddled them at the breast of the mother state, nurtured them with welfare handouts, protected them with Elf ‘n ‘safety concerns, awarded them ASBO badges, Nike shoes, Adidas track suits and hoodies, gold bling, PS3s, Black berries and McDonald’s burgers. Whenever they come into contact with the law they get another caution until after a score of them they face a magistrate and get told to do some community service which is then never carried out, instead they return to do service for the gang scoring a few more deals, and earning a crust by caching knives and “nines” for those hiding further up the drug supply chain. They pay no attention to mother and often do not even know who father is, teachers are only there to be abused or stabbed, and life is no good to them unless they have a 42 inch plasma screen to play Battlefield 3 on. Thuggery is just part and parcel of their street “culture”, it’s a tough life out there man!

Meanwhile the rest of us go to work, strive to make an honest living, pay our taxes to provide more and more “services” for those who refuse to contribute a penny towards them, and over the last three days we have seen the results of our work. Didn’t they thank us for our largesse in the most generous fashion, looting and burning, killing off businesses, scaring people with their insane violence, making some folks homeless, and challenging authority in the most horrible manner imaginable. Perhaps they don’t feel included in our society because they have contributed nothing towards it, but they want, they want, and want more, and even more if it comes freely!

Where the hell did we go wrong? (oops, I think I answered that above.)

David Cameron’s return from holiday makes the riots look even more like a crisis, but at least the recall of Parliament might tie all of our political leaders into a unified deal on how to police the streets, we might hear less of the silly arguments about social conditions, deprivation, joblessness, economic cuts etc. They may be a very small factor, but the overwhelming factor is lawlessness, thuggery, robbery, and violence that has little at all to do with the shooting of Mark Duggan now. It is all about grabbing as much as you can, knowing that the police may be stretched to the limits, it is all about acquiring new status symbols which they feel “entitled” to have.

My hope is that whatever violence ensues around the country tonight or tomorrow will be met by a much stiffer and robust response from the police who are charged with protecting life and property, being overwhelmed by numbers may not be the fullest answer, but it will help them, their foes are not in the business of respecting authority, they might only respect those who stand up to them. Therefore I hope that the Met take advantage of the polycarbonate Arnold baton that they carry, and make bloody good use of it, and perhaps avail themselves of a few plastic baton rounds to cause a little pain and suffering. These riots must be quelled quickly and effectively, the youths must not be allowed to develop guerilla tactics, they do not have a cause to rally to any longer other than sheer greed. Let them be dragged kicking and screaming off the streets of our cities, they must not be allowed to think they own those streets.

And finally, let’s not make the mistake of locking them away for a few weeks at Her Majesty’s pleasure where they will only learn new tricks, they should be physically forced to go out strictly supervised into their communities to put right the damage that they have caused. They should be made to understand the effects of their hideous actions, feel some pain and suffering of their own, they should be kept away from their Blackberries, PS3s, XBoxes, laptops, iPods and iPads, kept away from their fellow gang members and made to stay with mother for twelve hours each night. Mother should be made to forfeit a heavy long term fine too, clearly she doesn’t understand the responsibilities of parenthood!

The events of the last few nights have angered and embarrassed me as an Englishman, so much that it has constrained my libertarian tendency for now, come on what rights without responsibilities do these teenage thugs think they have!

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Written by curly

August 9, 2011 at 2:10 pm

A familiar pattern of denial

with 9 comments

The gullible and ill informed South Tynesiders willingly sign a petition.

Despite a plethora of ramblings and ill advised comment against his detractors, and there are many, Cllr. David Potts the independent former Conservative councillor for Cleadon Village and East Boldon makes some cogent and lucid observations on his Twitter account about Mr. John Robertson and the petition that he is to present to South Tyneside  Council objecting to the use of tax payer’s cash to legally investigate the alleged author(s) of the Mr. Monkey blog and other internet titles.

Although sadly not available to read online, in a recent Shields Gazette article the bankrupt Mr. Robertson makes more protestations about the affair and the cost so far to council tax payers, and to back up his claims he has produced a petition with hundreds of names of gullible poorly informed South Tyneside people which the council “will consider in due course”. How many of those people are aware of Mr. Robertson’s open and tangible distaste for anything linked to South Tyneside Council is open to question. As is their level of familiarity with his suspended jail sentence for causing £160000 worth of criminal damage to our assets in the course of his dispute with the council, damage which his insurer will have to cover and which will ensure that law abiding drivers will continue to be hit with high premiums! How much do they know of the legal costs expended on their behalf to seek reparations for the criminal behaviour of Mr. Robertson? One wonders also at the level of quality information that Mr. Robertson provided the petitioners about the type of vile, disgusting, personal, and potentially libellous comments published by the author(s) of the range of blogs still left lying around the internet for all to see. Would a petitioner be pleased to find out, for instance, that a relative of theirs may have been painted to be a predatory paedophile and a danger to children simply for photographing public events in the borough? Just one of the type of dangerous, demeaning, and damaging comments aimed at individuals in South Tyneside

As ever with all of those people interconnected with the South Tyneside Independent Alliance, and Mr. Robertson was NOT one of their candidates in last May’s elections, there is a veritable wall of silence regarding the aforementioned type of comments, – no condemnation, no refutations or rebuttals, simply “no comment”, – it is a familiar pattern. Mr. Robertson is another who can add his name to the roll of those with nothing to say on the vilifications. It gives the impression that they are in total denial, as though all of their supporters never flocked to those places, treating them like a semi-official party website.

Yet still we see Mr. Robertson having the brass neck and sheer gall to produce this petition, and to rub salt into the wounds of those personally damaged by the rogue anonymous bloggers he comments on a Shields Gazette article penning himself as “Mr. Monkey”

19 Mr Monkey Monday, July 4, 2011 at 07:42 PM

Thanks for all the positive and negative comments, as well as the personal consequences of this, the following organisations which we sponsored each year have also suffered & 20 employees—-St Clare’s hospice— 12 Junior football teams–South Tyneside Council summer festival—-South Tyneside Homes star awards—- The Mayor’s Charity—-Bilton Hall Boxing Club—Little Sisters of the Poor—-Mental Health in South Tyneside—-Regards John Robertson

Perhaps he is just deliberately trying to muddy the water with this unusual behaviour.

Regardless of the criminal court case and sentence, and regardless of his own bankruptcy Mr. Robertson reiterates his desire to become a South Tyneside councillor! Has anyone  informed him of the laws regarding legal qualification for candidates?

What gets under my skin most of all about his publicity stunt is that odd display of righteous indignation over the spending of public funds; what qualifies a man who cannot handle his own business finances and runs up debts of about £1.3m to judge and scrutinise spending on our behalf? What makes a man whose business acumen was so poor that it led to 20 people losing their jobs think he has the right characteristics to sit as a councillor in a borough crying out for economic regeneration?


At this point I think it right to call upon those remaining few Independent Alliance councillors in South Tyneside (Allen Branley, Jane Branley, Ahmed Khan, Gordon Finch, John Hodgson, and Geraldine White) to collectively and firmly condemn once and for all the author(s) of the offending blogs which have brought this borough into disrepute and tarnished the political debate.

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Written by curly

August 4, 2011 at 6:51 pm

Cllr. Ahmed Khan named as defendant!

with 12 comments

South Tyneside Independent Alliance councillor is Doe 1 in US court case!

Shields Gazette report today says of the anti-SLAPP  (Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation) motion:

It claims that Coun Khan is the target of their 2009 lawsuit – despite there being no named defendants

The San Mateo District Court files say (search for case number CIV482779):





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Written by curly

July 21, 2011 at 8:11 pm

North East council backs South Tyneside in Twitter row.

with 3 comments

Landmark decision – Cllr. Tom Fox

“I’ve followed this with great interest and I think it’s a landmark decision and a very important case.

“Too many people are prepared to beaver away anonymously using a pseudonym and hide behind that.

“People do have the right to say things, but they have to be right, otherwise it can be very damaging.

“Anyone who is spreading misinformation and sometimes deliberate lies needs to be brought to account.”

Cllr. Tom Fox, Leader Scarborough Borough Council

South Shields and South Tyneside people deserve to be shown in a better light, the vast majority of us are better people than those who wrote the offending blog, I call upon local and regional news organisations to similarly back our council’s decision to seek information which may unmask the Monkey and allow others to pursue litigation against the rogue blogger. There are two sides to every coin.
Full story here

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Written by curly

June 6, 2011 at 12:29 pm

The weekend entertainment

with 4 comments

Tears of a Clown – Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.

As South Shields councillor Ahmed Khan continues to stoke the fires of a self generated publicity campaign built around the dubious premise of privacy and confidentiality, we have to begin to wonder just how genuine his concerns are after making public so much information which ought to have remained within the confines of private organisations (but more of that later). His press campaign is now reaching fire storm proportions, and you have to grudgingly respect his ability to make best use of the press and media, especially as he has spent so much time attacking certain newspapers and individuals amongst them.

It is, of course, a classic reflex reaction of a politician caught in the glaring headlamps of publicity, bring out the mirror and deflect it all in the direction of your detractors, then use the age old ruse of answering a question with further questions. One can only hope two things (a) that all of this bravado is cheering him up, and (b) that the sunlight shines on him again and the public gain a deeper understanding of his real concerns about privacy and confidentiality.

The saddest part of this whole episode is tacitly acknowledged by Cllr, Khan in this Tweet, the negative publicity that he has generated could potentially put an end to many embryonic schemes to invest in South Tyneside and generate new jobs, just as those who may now have been driven to read the offending blog decide that there may be too much risk in dealing with South Tyneside Council or its members. This is the great tragedy, and not one that I would be willing to shoulder responsibility for.

The relatively small sum involved in tracking down and revealing the the name of the mystery blogger pales into insignificance compared to the value of potential jobs and investment lost, and that is something which we ought not to lose sight of. It is of far greater importance than clowning around creating a personal media makeover.

Further, as he revealed in yesterday’s Shields Gazette, South Tyneside Council has asked for a wide range of information from Twitter including personal computer records, e-mail addresses, subscriber and user names – telephone numbers, postal addresses, and even bank and credit card details – this suggests that they have someone working with or for them with a level of IT and technical expertise not hitherto available. We should remember that Twitter is doing nothing more than complying with its own Terms of Service within an area of jurisdiction covered by the 9th District Court of San Mateo California, terms which are available for all Twitter users to read, perhaps this is why Cllr. Khan decided not to contest the application (notwithstanding the costs involved.)

We have now seen a week of faux outrage, first of all over privacy and confidentiality, and secondly over the costs borne so far by the tax payer, without a hint in the media of the full back story of Cllr. Khan’s own privacy and confidentiality leaks and transgressions, or of his colourful record during his short term in office so far. The national and international media have shown no awareness of his ill judged protest against the Israeli incursion into Gaza when he arbitrarily encouraged  South Shields Muslims to remove their children from school to join him at the Town Hall, nor have we heard about the massive costs initially borne by South Tyneside council tax payers in his doomed legal quest to overturn an election defeat, and they failed to describe him as an “overbearing bully”, as a District Judge did here when clearing him of an assault allegation.

The media in the UK can be very fickle, they can build up a star and cruelly knock them down the following month, they only need a little encouragement.

There will be tears at the end, the question is, who will play the clown?

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Written by curly

June 4, 2011 at 12:09 pm