Friday, 25 November 2011

Das Urteil (The Judgement)

Well it took a few weeks to get here (received last Thursday through the post) and the contents were not quite what I'd asked Farmer Christmas for last year. The judgement has arrived and I'd like to say I was thoroughly disappointed but I can't as it would be something akin to a fib. Yes, the University of Salford (the Respondent) have won their case at the Employment Tribunal against a certain chap of some liking for beards. For those with a keen eye to matters Employment Tribunal related, you can access the entire reserved judgement here. Why was I not disappointed? Well the result wasn't entirely unexpected.

Apologies first

Firstly I am duty bound to make an apology in not having informed readers and posted this decision sooner. This was not an active policy or as some might take the view, an attempt  to sweeten the piquancy of the bitter gall of defeat. It was a matter of priorities. Priority # une was to prepare for a Case Management Hearing which was scheduled for Monday this week (21st November) and a raft of other matters related to the ongoing libel claim initiated against me last year ostensibly by Vice Chancellor Martin Hall, and his deputy Adrian Graves who, according to the Claimant's Particulars of Claim, are deemed to be the University and 'therefore the claimant'. Moreover, as I'm sure readers can imagine, writing these blogs takes up a great deal of time for all the obvious reasons. As such, any analysis is going to take a little time and should manifest itself over the next week or so.

Sour grapes or sweet vinegar?

When I say the decision was not entirely unexpected, this is not to infer that I believed our case was weak - on the contrary - I believe we put forward a strong and compelling case backed by a lashings of hard evidence. The tribunal panel simply didn't quite see our case in the same way or give as much weight to our arguments. I'm also of the opinion that the panel gave hardly any weight to the evidence we supplied, or considered in any real depth the submissions made by us on the final day. I've had a hard time finding any substantive reference to them in the decision. You may concur when you compare the two.

A youthful looking 'The author' before initiating proceedings
at the Employment Tribunal 

When I say that the result wasn't entirely unexpected, I should elaborate. I'm not at all a cynical type. But I'm more often than not inclined towards a healthy scepticism when it comes to matters of law, especially when there is an obvious inequality of resources between the two sides. From the outset the great bells of alarm were chiming almost in unison their sombre laments whilst we attempted to scale an extraordinarily steep hill. Request after request to the Tribunal for disclosure of documents and witness orders was refused. I was thus almost entirely dependant on the machinery of Data Protection legislation to provide the bulk of the documentary evidence I was to rely upon for my case. I am also and will remain eternally grateful to those anonymous supporters who provided me some interesting documentary evidence. Most of these documents were ruled out as not relevant by the Tribunal when we asked for their inclusion into evidence.

Moreover, it's taken two years and one month to reach this point which by any measure is a long time. The hearing itself was split with a delay of almost six months between the first two days in March and the final three days in August. Did this impact upon our case? It is difficult to say. I don't think it enhanced our chances.

A not so youthful looking 'The author' today on
re-reading the Tribunal's decision

The appeal of the warm afterglow and a rough shag

But over the last two days, I've had the chance to fire up a well shaped briar or two and absorb the decision in its entirety. Nor has my phone ceased ringing with astonished commentators. Much valuable advice has been imparted. And I concur with those who feel that the decision of the Tribunal leaves many vital questions raised by us within the Tribunal unanswered. So important are they that I have decided to appeal the decision at the Employment Appeal Tribunal and will be submitting my appeal over the next few weeks. I shall endeavour to complete this task in between gathering witness statements, compiling a list of documents I wish to be disclosed prior to the libel trial in the New Year, in line with directions from the Court, as well as keeping adherents to this blog regularly updated.

Acknowledgement and indebtedness

I cannot close without extending a most heartfelt thank you to all those near and far who have helped me in so many different ways over the last two and a half years. Without your advice, assistance and support, this battle would have been far lonelier and far less rewarding despite the outcome. Along the way I have made a great many friends.

I also owe a great deal of gratitude and an unpayable debt to my friend and lay representative the gallant Suffolkian Eric Longley who has provided me with sackfuls of sound advice and unstinting support throughout the proceedings and over the years.

La Lutte Continue!

Usual disclaimer: This work is the opinion of the author and is produced in order to report current events that are of public interest and public concern. The reproduction and use of any documents herein is to provide accuracy in order to avoid civil litigation and claims of misquoting. In reporting current events they are used within the context of Fair Dealing. The author is happy to provide further acknowledgement if requested. To make any such request press here.

The author also suggests that before embarking upon expensive civil actions for libel, contact the author. We have reams of documentary evidence which we are happy to provide. A right of reply also operates. We are also happy to make corrections and if necessary provide an apology. So, to save £££sss please avail yourself of this opportunity if you really feel it necessary, which you can do by clicking here.

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