Letter to Mr Justice Stephens- Re: LAD, McKenzie friend & other issues- Galloway V Frazer

20/11/2014
FAO Mr Justice Stephens
Queen’s Bench division
Royal Courts of Justice
Chichester Street
Belfast

Dear Mr Justice Stephens

RE: Jamie Bryson
Galloway V Frazer

It is a matter of grave concern to me that senior counsel instructed by Mr George Galloway are continually making what is in my view false and erroneous allegations against me, both within their Skelton arguments and indeed in open court.

Counsel for Mr Galloway is, in my view, abusing the fact that they have rights of audience whilst I do not. This effectively allows them to make any allegation they want against me or to twist my words into a context that suits them and I am denied the right to respond or clarify my point.

I would ask that I be granted permission to address the court on any specific allegations made about me as I feel it is wholly unfair that counsel for Mr Galloway can repeatedly misrepresent comments made by me and make allegations against me without me having any recourse to address these falsehoods.

It is lawfully within the courts power to grant me permission to address the bench on this specific issue and given the entirety of today’s hearing pertains to me, I believe this falls within the category of exceptional circumstances whereby a McKenzie friend would be granted permission to address the court directly. I seek only permission to address the bench on allegations relating to myself. I believe granting me this limited right is clearly in the interests of justice.

If the court is not minded to permit me to address the bench on the specific points concerning myself, then may I respectfully request you to direct me in regards to how I can challenge the issues being raised pertaining to myself?

Firstly, I feel obliged to deal with the matter raised before you today. Counsel for the plaintiff has made allegations against me alleging a breach of confidentiality and contempt of court. I wish to address these most serious matters at the outset.

The ‘evidence’ before the court today has been taken from an online website called LAD (Loyalists against Democracy). LAD has been extremely excited, along with their fellow trolls, believing they have uncovered a ‘contempt of court’ by myself. I believe they are living in fantasy land. For the sake of clarity I will outline who LAD is and what they do.

LAD is a faceless online website (which also comprises social media accounts) which regularly spew sectarian hatred towards the Protestant community and who seek to stoke up political and sectarian tension. The account has harassed, abused and sought to intimidate me personally for a period of 24 months. This relentless campaign against me others has been raised with the PSNI and political representatives and is likely to be the subject of court proceedings to bring the perpetrators before the court in due course.
I should also make clear that rather dubious English plain clothes ‘PSNI’ officers have visited me at my home to politely warn me off exposing those behind LAD. I covertly recorded this conversation and have it stored away for later, separate, matters.

Counsel for Mr Galloway has come here today and presented before this court, as third party evidence, a screenshot of a post that was put up by the LAD site.

I submit that third party evidence, obtained from a faceless and extremely sectarian website, should not be accepted by the court. It is of grave concern to me that it appears that LAD are now setting the agenda for Mr Galloway’s legal team. Perhaps counsel for Mr Galloway could clarify why they have chosen to use screenshots obtained from this website. I feel that should Mr Galloway’s legal team wish to use this particular piece of ‘evidence’, which has clearly been screenshot and tampered with by LAD administrators, then they should produce the administrators of this website before this court under oath.

The argument put forward in open court by counsel for Mr Galloway sought to exclude me from the role of a Mckenzie friend.
I submit that the said argument, raised in open court, does not, in any way, meet any of the criteria for refusal as laid out in the Lord Chief Justice’s guidance notes.
Counsel for Mr Galloway alleged that I have an ‘interest’ in the case. I dispute their widening out of the term ‘interest’. I believe the desired legislative meaning of ‘interest’ relates to whether someone stands to personally gain or suffer loss by the outcome of the case. Perhaps a good example of an ‘interest’ would be a co-accused being a Mckenzie friend.

I believe the objections citing my ‘interest’ is a cynical manipulation of a somewhat grey area. In your own words my Lord you have said that “in law, context is everything”. I submit that right throughout the submissions on behalf of the plaintiff, quotes, comments and the desired meaning of words have been manipulated to suit the plaintiffs own agenda.

The Plaintiffs submissions make reference to me having an ‘interest’ in the case. They claim this ‘interest’ is political. This, in my respectful submission, is not only a play on words but it is the height of absurdity. If we were to follow this argument through to its logical conclusion then every single practicing solicitor would have to declare their political viewpoints prior to representing any client. It would mean that if a solicitor agreed with a particular ‘cause’ which was also identified with their client , then they would be unable to represent them. That would leave some solicitors, and legal firms, without any work!

It is illogical, impractical and quite frankly it is clutching at straws. On this point I submit that there are no grounds whatsoever to restrict me from acting as Mr Frazer’s McKenzie friend.

Further to this the plaintiff has made reference to the fact that I am before the magistrate’s court on other matters. This is quite true, and if the court feels it would be beneficial I am more than happy to disclose the comical and farcical nature of these matters in open court. I will do this upon the instruction of the court, not because counsel for Mr Galloway asks me to.

I must state however that it is completely irrelevant as there is no lawful precedent or reference in the guidance notes (which have no legal status) to excluding a person from acting as a McKenzie friend because of other- irrelevant – criminal convictions or pending cases. I believe the only time a separate criminal conviction would be relevant was if there was a conviction for a dishonesty offence or an offence directly related to the civil proceedings. None of this is applicable in this instance.

The only grounds for excluding a person in relation to ongoing proceedings are as follows:

“The McKenzie friend is subject to an order such as a civil proceedings order or a civil restraint order or has been declared to be a vexatious litigant; by a court in Northern Ireland or another part of the United Kingdom.”

In light of the above submissions I submit that there are no grounds for restricting me as a McKenzie friend due to ongoing criminal proceedings.

Counsel for Mr Galloway, and an online ‘campaign’ by faceless trolls such as ‘LAD’ have raised the issue which I addressed at the very beginning of this submission and alleged that I have breached confidentiality and am in contempt of court.

To support this allegation the plaintiff has submitted quotes and extracts that have been isolated from entire paragraphs, and presented them as standalone statements. This is a malicious manipulating of my words and I strongly object to this continued myth making by counsel for Mr Galloway.

Further to this, if the court does decide to take onboard the third party evidence, obtained from a faceless website with no visible accountability, then I am more than happy to explain the circumstances surrounding this issue.

I do not feel the issue counsel for Mr Galloway is attempting to raise constitutes a breach of confidentiality, especially as the issues related solely to me and not Mr Frazer or Mr Galloway.

I do feel that this issue, which may arise based upon whether the court chooses to accept the legitimacy of the third party evidence from a faceless trolling website, has many complex legal issues at play. I am of the belief that I am entitled to speak about issues pertaining to myself because this is an entirely different matter than discussing or publishing confidential information related to the case itself or any of the litigants.
As a reasonable man I believe it is entirely reasonable for me to believe that I have the right to publish whatever information I chose on issues that relate solely to myself and do not involve any other person. If this is not the case then I would respectfully request that the court makes this clear to me.

I do not believe that there is any rule which makes skeleton arguments confidential, private or privileged in any way. In essence skeleton arguments are merely an overview of what the litigant intends to argue in open court. The logical trajectory of claiming that skeleton arguments are private would effectively create a situation whereby they are ‘embargoed’ until they are read out in open court. I am unable to find any legislation that designates skeleton arguments privileged or embargoed and therefore I find it hard to see how I could in any way be in contempt of court.

However, if the court does find that I have breached confidentiality then this in itself still does not constitute automatic grounds to restrict me from acting as a McKenzie friend. The guidance notes provided by the Lord Chief Justice states that:

“The court should also consider whether a firm and unequivocal warning to the litigant and/or MF might suffice in the first instance.”

Counsel for Mr Galloway has also repeatedly claimed that I would use my public profile to influence public opinion, by expressing my personal views on this litigation. Once again My Lord I believe that this is entirely illogical and if it were to be followed through to its logical conclusion it would then restrict free speech and even journalistic coverage of open court proceedings. It seems ironic to me that Mr Galloway, who claims to be a champion of free speech, is going to such lengths to suppress this very right.

Whether I am sat at the back of the court, or at the front assisting Mr Frazer, there is nothing within the law which restricts me campaigning or expressing my own personal viewpoints on the case which is being heard in open court. The logical conclusion of the argument put forward by the plaintiff would be to ban every journalist from the courtroom, lest they express a view on the litigation that is not to Mr Galloway’s liking. This is not open and transparent justice and would in my view been in breach of the European Convention of Human Rights.

I believe that if Mr Galloway wishes to restrict my right to comment or publish opinion pieces in relation to open court proceedings then he should instruct his legal team to initiate injunction proceedings against me. These most recent attempts are in my view the plaintiff seeking to gain an effective injunction against me via the back door.

I am assisting William Frazer for a number of reasons. Firstly because he is my friend and I believe he needs assistance, secondly because I believe in the cause of free speech and am supportive of William Frazer’s viewpoint and thirdly because I have spent considerable personal time building up a basic knowledge of criminal and civil law and therefore am able to assist William in elements of his case.

I have a keen interest in criminal and civil law and have spent considerable time writing opinion pieces on legal matters and the use of legislation. I have previously acted as a lay representative for Kare Kabs taxi company, (High Street, Bangor) in employment tribunals and have also represented individuals in disciplinary hearings etc within their workplace.

I would be grateful if you would consider my submission and the points I have raised. I have written this by my own hand. I have been somewhat annoyed to hear counsel for Mr Galloway claim that in previous hearings we have had some kind of outside legal assistance in writing affidavits etc, this is simply not true. I will quite happily swear under oath to the fact that I have received no outside help whatsoever in writing this submission to the court.
I hope the above goes someway to clarifying some of the issues that come before you today.

Yours faithfully

Jamie Bryson

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s