My post ‘Dr Victoria Winckler Threatens To Sue Dr Sally Baker’ explained that on 27 Sept 2018 I received a letter from Harding Evans, solicitors acting for Dr Victoria Winckler, the Director of the Bevan Foundation, informing me that Victoria was going to sue me for damages because I had defamed her on this blog. The letter from Harding Evans was surprisingly unprofessional for a firm of solicitors who are demanding money. It contained some fundamental errors and allegations that I had made statements that I have never made; the letter broke the code of professional conduct to which solicitors are obliged to adhere in a number of ways; and more worryingly the letter was sent to the address of two friends of mine, an address at which I have never lived but only ever used as a postal address after I went into hiding on the first occasion. There is only one source from which anyone could have accessed that address and that is from the database of the Bevan Foundation, an organisation of which I was a member at the time. So data protection law was breached by someone.
I e mailed Harding Evans as soon as I received their letter, mentioned that they had attributed a number of statements to this blog which were not on the blog and never have been and asked them how they had accessed my friends’ address. I have never received a reply. I put up my post ‘Dr Victoria Winckler Threatens To Sue Dr Sally Baker’, telling Victoria Winckler that I would be happy to discuss with her at any time anything on the blog which she believes to be genuinely defamatory and of course I will amend it.
I have heard nothing from Harding Evans or Victoria, although I did e mail Harding Evans again asking them once more from where they acquired the address of my friends and reiterating that it is difficult to amend allegedly defamatory comments/phrases which I have not made.
Yesterday I received an e mail from the hoster of this blog. It was an e mail from their ‘misuse of the internet’ dept and attached to the e mail was a copy of a letter from Harding Evans. The letter was virtually identical to the original letter which Harding Evans sent me, alleging that I had defamed Victoria, that she would be seeking damages and again repeating my alleged defamatory phrases, some of which have never appeared on the blog. Harding Evans made no reference to my e mails to them or to my offer to amend the blog after discussion. The letter that Harding Evans sent my hoster has no contact details in terms of e mail address and phone number for Harding Evans. My hoster asked me to remove the passages of text from the blog which Harding Evans had identified as defamatory within 48 hours, explaining that if I didn’t do this, they would have to start an investigation which would result in my blog being taken offline.
I raised my concerns with my hoster that they are jumping when being told to jump in response to a communication from someone who has breached data protection law and who has failed to respond to my efforts to discuss the matters with which they are concerned, but told my hoster that I was happy to completely remove the paragraphs identified in order to keep my blog online, because I have more posts planned.
I have now deleted everything from this blog that was identified by Harding Evans as being ‘defamatory’. I have not replaced any of it with anything else, I have simply deleted it as Harding Evans requested. I cannot delete the comment that ‘Dr D.G.E. Wood is an active paedophile’ because I have never made that comment on this blog or indeed anywhere else.
Yesterday afternoon I e mailed my hoster telling them that I have deleted everything as requested and asked them to confirm that I have responded to the complaint and will not be taken offline. I am a little concerned because I have not received a response from my hoster and the process of taking a website down is an automatic one if a complaint is not addressed. I was given 48 hours to delete the paragraphs which have traumatised Victoria Winckler and that was yesterday morning. I will try again today to elicit a response from my hoster. If this blog disappears tomorrow morning, it will be related to this matter…
On the previous occasions that there has been a threat to this blog, readers have e mailed me and told me that they will save the contents to preserve the information that I have posted up. Can I ask anyone with the time, energy and inclination to do this please, just in case it all disappears tomorrow morning, because if it does it may take me a while to contact the (at the moment unresponsive) hoster and resurrect the content. People have also asked if I’m on twitter so that they can follow me if the blog disappears. Sorry, no I don’t do twitter, my blog is my only online presence; I write a blog because it is pretty much the same as writing a book or a series of academic articles of which I have plenty of experience. Taking to twitter and other platforms would not suit my purpose and would eat into valuable researching and writing time.
I do reply to all e mails though, so if readers cannot access the blog tomorrow, please do e mail me and I’ll keep you updated
Diolch yn fawr/thanks very much,