Leech Ken Livingstone rides on Venezuela's misery
By Aleksander Boyd
Caracas 01.10.06 | The sudden decision to come to my country has taken a toll on my ongoing legal battle with London's Mayor Ken Livingstone. As readers of this site may remember Livingstone, a man without a modicum of decency, had the responsible and brilliant idea of accusing me of being a supporter of terrorism against his patron's democracy, Hugo's that is. He took advantage of something called qualified privilege to utter all sorts of baseless accusations against me. His action came in the aftermath of Hugo's disastrous visit to London, where he was deliberately ignored by the political establishment. Little did I know then that according to UK's defamation laws a person slandering another does not have to prove with hard cold evidence in a court of law the basis of slanderous remarks. Livingstone's rather expensive lawyers argued that based on articles of mine he fairly concluded that I was indeed a supporter of terrorism. Perhaps they did not realise that I could use the very same line of reasoning and affirm that Livingstone, who for instance took pride in inviting and entertaining Al-Qaradawi, is closer to a definition of being a supporter of terrorism. However that's not the point but to explain what has happened thus far.
On 7 June 2006 I issued a claim for defamation against Ken Livingstone in the High Court of Justice [ref. HQ06X01639]. In the particulars of claim I stated that Mr. Livingstone remarks had damaged my reputation. Notice was served by the Court on Mr. Livingstone on 9 June 2006.
On 14 June 2006 I received letter from Berrymans Lace Mawer whereby it was relayed to me that they had been instructed by the defendant in relation to the matter. The defence was to be served on 6 July 2006 according to the letter.
On 15 June 2006 the defence sent another communication requesting further information, which prompted me to reply on 23 June 2006.
On 3 July 2006 at 5:07PM I received a phone call on my mobile phone from Andre Walker, Acting Senior Press Officer of the Conservative group at the London Assembly. Mr Walker called at the request of Mr. Livingstone who, allegedly, had walked into Mr. Walker’s office that day to ask him to relay a message to me. The message was an offer from Mr. Livingstone who purportedly wanted me to discontinue my claim for defamation due to rising legal costs in which he had already incurred. A positive reaction on my part would mean that Mr. Livingstone would seek not to recover his legal costs from me.
On 4 July 2006 I received an email from Tim Smith of Berrymans Lace Mawer, acting as Mr. Livingstone legal representative. Attached to the email there was a PDF document containing the basis upon which Mr. Livingstone defence would be presented and reiterating the offer relayed the previous day by Mr. Walker. The offer of not seeking to recover legal costs from me should I had discontinued my claim by close of business on Friday 7 2006 was explicitly stated for the first time by the defence.
On 5 July 2006 I sent reply to Mr. Smith. In it I promised to discontinue the claim by the required date and respectfully requested Mr. Livingstone to change his initial allegation, both in the webcast and in the transcript hosted in the Greater London Authority servers, to one more attuned to the evidence available, i.e. that in my opinion, dictatorial rulers exercising unchecked power can only be dealt with by violent means for democratic solutions, such as elections, are out of the question. Also on 5 July 2006 Mr. Smith sent his client’s defence, apparently drafted by Mr Adam Wolanski, by way of service.
On 6 July 2006 I discontinued the claim in the action department of the Queens Bench Division. At 12:06 PM I called Mr. Smith from my mobile to inform him that I had done so, so that he could relay the information to his client.
On 7 July 2006 at 2:10Pm Mr. Smith forwarded me an email containing a press release draft that Mr. Smith in turn had received from John Jackson. Mr. Jackson was seeking Mr. Smith comments on its contents. The draft repeated again the defamatory remarks made initially by Mr. Livingstone on 17 May 2006. The draft also contains remarks such as “Mr Boyd has also described the writer Tariq Ali as ‘that Paki journalist’” which are unsubstantiated allegations that seek to portray me as a racist, in addition to the terrorist claim. At around 2:15 PM Mr. Smith called me at my home telephone and asked me to delete the email that mistakenly he had forwarded me. He stated that the email was confidential and therefore I could not make any or all parts of it public. I relayed to Mr. Smith that he had not called me in advance to agree with me on the confidentiality of communications received from him. Given the fact that I had acted in good faith the previous day by discontinuing my claim I asked Mr. Smith to dissuade Mr. Livingstone on not to publish again the defamatory remarks, to which he said he would try. I relayed to Mr. Smith that the contents of the draft were far from being the reaction of a party supposed to be seeking to settle amicably just 3 days before, and more tellingly, it demonstrated that Mr. Livingstone acted with malice rather than reasonably or in good faith, as misleadingly alleged by his defence. At 2:58 PM I replied Mr. Smith’s forward with the following message:
Dear Mr. Smith,
As discussed in telephone conversation I will not disclose this information until further notice. However let me absolutely clear that such language demonstrates clearly that the Mayor did not act in good faith and that it would be easy for me to demonstrate how unreasonable his reaction was.
If the Mayor publishes again that I am a supporter of terrorism, based on previous cordial communications that I had with you as his legal representative and the contents of the received draft, I will present again the claim and shall not withdraw it under any circumstance.
I remain hopeful that you will be able to dissuade Mr Livingstone to act in responsible fashion.
Cordially, Aleksander Boyd
At 7:31 PM I received a Google News alert in my inbox with the headline of an article entitled “Venezuelan terrorist Aleksander Boyd forced to face the inevitable truth” that had been published in a website called Vheadline.com. The article referred to a press release published in the Greater London Authority website and contained the entire draft without any editions.
The press release published in the Greater London Authority website can be seen following this link.
At 20:09 PM that day I sent Mr. Smith, with copy to Messrs. Jackson and Livingstone, the following email message:
Dear Mr Smith,
It seems that you could not prevent Mayor Ken Livingstone from releasing the draft that you, allegedly, sent me by mistake. As promised I did not act upon it until further notice, hopeful as I was that Mr. Livingstone would act in reasonable fashion given the fact that I withdrew the claim yesterday, as agreed with you. However as the link shows, the draft is already in the public domain.
Such being the case I hereby inform you, in keeping with the pre-action protocol for defamation, that Mayor Livingstone shall be receiving shortly a Letter of Claim which will be followed by initiation of legal proceedings.
Cordially, Aleksander Boyd
So on 6 August 2006 in keeping with the pre-action protocol for defamation, which I didn't follow in the first instance according to Livingstone's defence, I sent a Letter of Claim laying out the basis of a new claim. This was but the only reaction I could have contemplated for Livingstone was not only accusing me of a crime punishable by law but did so maliciously, contravening his alleged good intention of settling amicably outside court.
It is worth bearing in mind that by this time Livingstone had publicly accepted to chair the Venezuela Information Centre, which is a propaganda organ of the Chavez regime that functions in London City Hall with who knows what source of funding, and his lieutenants were already in conversations with Venezuelan Ambassador to the UK Alfredo Toro Hardy to implement an oil for propaganda programme to favour Chavez's image through an aggressive campaign to be plastered in London's bus fleet.
Things got interesting. Firstly Tim Smith's and that of his firm's professionalism is in my view laughable for here one has mister top gun from posh law firm sending by mistake a confidential email to the party suing his client. Secondly he disregarded the pre-action protocol for defamation that he so readily mentioned in the first instance by failing to inform me in due time (14 days) the position of his client with respect to the Letter of Claim sent on 6 August 2006. He even had the chutzpah of arguing that my attempt to inquire about Livingstone's reaction to the Letter of Claim was "entirely inappropriate" (sic). To which I replied on 25 August 2006:
Dear Mr. Smith,
Many thanks for your kind reply.
You have written:
"It is, with respect, entirely inappropriate for you to seek to explore the nature of any communications between ourselves and our clients in this matter."
And I would like to ask you: is it appropriate that your client utterly disregards the Pre-action Protocol for Defamation? How was I suppose to know that he was going to send reply hadn't I contacted you the moment the 14-day period expired?
As Ken Livingstone's defense you should have sent this message before the 23 August 2006 and not as a reply to yesterday's email of mine. Hence it is a bit rich of you to speak about what is appropriate, given the manner in which you have dealt with this case.
Cordially, Aleksander Boyd
Livingstone and his lawyers had some problems in replying to my Letter of Claim for they sent two communications stating that more time was needed to prepare response given that the parties involved were "on leave" (sic). Finally on 26 September they sent reply in which Livingstone's defence basically argue that I have no basis for my claim. In this time Livingstone has had a great time writing pieces for the communist paper Morning Star where he continues with his attacks against me. He recently criticised the fact that The Evening Standard quoted me as an expert in Venezuelan issues, something which I am not in Livingstone's view.
As I travel around my country and see abject poverty and the infrahuman misery in which most of my fellow countrymen live my anger at heartless parasites such as Livingstone grows. It may be the case that for now they have the upper hand, but that situation won't last forever. Sooner or later justice will be made.
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