Peter Reynolds took me to court for libel, and Peter Reynolds has lost

December 2, 2013

in Drug Policy, Featured Articles, Personal

PR avatar resized 264x300 Peter Reynolds took me to court for libel, and Peter Reynolds has lostAs some of you may know, Peter Reynolds opened defamation lawsuits in the High Court against myself, Chris Bovey, Greg de Hoedt, and Alun Buffry in February of this year. I have been unable to comment on this for legal reasons for some time, except to briefly counter some nonsense from Peter Reynolds who takes advantage of all such enforced silences to rewrite reality in his favour. This morning, I received a letter stating that I have been awarded  judgement and costs against Peter Reynolds:

 

judgement letter 712x1024 Peter Reynolds took me to court for libel, and Peter Reynolds has lost

*whistles innocently*

Today is a good day.

Let me back up a bit and explain what happened, now I can. In January, I blogged about Peter Reynolds trying to find out information about my personal details by pretending to be a journalist. Following this story, Peter Reynolds emailed me, and published to Facebook, a copy of the receipt for the High Court lawsuit he had filed against me. Brilliantly, he’d sent the actual documents to an address in Manchester that I hadn’t lived at for two years and had no way of getting to. When I told him to send me a copy to my workplace, he only sent the statement of claim (his allegations of my supposed defamation), and not copies of his evidence, so to this day I have no idea what it was he actually filed with the court. Not that it actually mattered.

The claim accused me of falsely claiming he is a sexist, homophobic, transphobic racist who has reported medical cannabis users to the police. As I have received judgement in my favour without ever seeing the inside of a courtroom, I like to think that is partly because Peter Reynolds *is* a sexist, homophobic, transphobic racist who has reported medical cannabis users to the police, and partly because legally he didn’t appear to know his arse from his elbow.

Three other people were sued along with myself, Chris, Greg and Alun. Chris’s case is ongoing in the same direction as my own. He hasn’t managed to find Greg yet. Alun chose to settle. Although I can’t say I approve, I have to admit that the settlement he reached legally gave Peter Reynolds nothing to show for his £2100, so kudos. Including application fees, Peter Reynolds has spent over £9,000 suing us – I shall leave you to imagine how you could have spent such a sum if you were a cannabis activist with that kind of money to throw around.

alun buffry peter reynolds settlement Peter Reynolds took me to court for libel, and Peter Reynolds has lost

AFAIK this basically means Alun can’t call him an alcoholic anymore.

To judge from his original emails, which you will get to see for yourselves, Peter Reynolds apparently thought that we would all crumple as soon as he filed the lawsuits, and was quite put out by the fact that I submitted a 30 page defence noting that everything I have said about him is quite true and providing substantive evidence of such. So put out, he tried to claim that he’d never been sent a copy:

Peter Reynolds 11th March 2013 1024x625 Peter Reynolds took me to court for libel, and Peter Reynolds has lost

 

“I didn’t receive it personally” isn’t a compelling or relevant argument to the court, incidentally, even if someone residing at the same address coincidentally called P. Reynolds with an identical signature hadn’t signed for the package and Royal Mail hadn’t sent me a copy:

peter reynolds electronic signature for defence Peter Reynolds took me to court for libel, and Peter Reynolds has lost

This is the level of bullshit with which I have had to deal. What has transpired in the last ten months has been largely moody letter-swapping, as Peter Reynolds repeatedly tried to get out of actually going to court by ordering, demanding and finally begging me to give up immediately. The letter in which he politely asked me if I would “please” consent to an interim costs order (requiring me to give him £2000) is definitely my favourite letter ever.

 

Peter Reynolds 15th April 2013 1 2 Peter Reynolds took me to court for libel, and Peter Reynolds has lost

“Pretty please with a cherry on top would you mind just giving me money so I can afford to file more spurious lawsuits against your friends?”

In the end, Peter Reynolds managed to get a court date put off by asking me for a stay of proceedings, which I agreed to because I would have had to have taken a day off from my work placement, and then never informed the court that he intended to continue suing me otherwise, so they struck out the entire case in August. The same thing happened with Chris, as Peter Reynolds Watch has reported. Peter Reynolds reopened the case against Chris after the post was published, but strangely, took no action against me. I left it a few months to see what would happen.

Then, after I wrote this article about his medical cannabis claims, Peter Reynolds sent an email about me to Dutch activist Peter Lunk  in which he stated that he had taken legal action against me (past tense) and claimed that my defence was that I have “mental health conditions” (this was not my defence). I therefore wrote to the court with a copy of this and asked for judgement in my favour. Seeing as Peter Reynolds appeared to have checked out of his own lawsuit, Master Eastman, it seems, agreed.

And now, I have won. Ha. Lol. LMAO. ROFLcopter. etc. etc.

celebration of striking out Peter Reynolds took me to court for libel, and Peter Reynolds has lost

Thanks to Ste for allowing me to buy him lunch and Prosecco. :P

What Happens Now?

As promised, I will be publishing all court documentation and correspondence for your perusal, so that everyone, especially those who have also received legal threats from Peter Reynolds, can see the dumbassery I have been subjected to in full. This will happen in the next few days, as I need to upload it all, add comments etc. I did warn Peter Reynolds that I would be publishing his letters quite early on, and it’s remarkable how polite he became in contrast to his previous rantings, such as:

you believe that you can repeatedly abuse, harass and defame me with impunity but as soon as I take any steps to defend myself you seek to portray yourself as some sort of victim.  This is a delusional state of mind.  Your defamatory articles and conduct are the cause of this action and I suggest that you face up to this and deal with it.

There were also threats

  • that he was going have my defence struck out (he didn’t);
  • that I was going to be slapped with an order to pay his costs in advance of trial because of the overwhelming evidence of my guilt (I wasn’t);
  • that he was going to sue me for reporting him to the police for harassment (he did not);
  • and that he was going to apply for summary judgement because a trial wasn’t necessary (if he did, the Court threw it out and I never heard about it).

On a more serious note, both myself and the other defendants have been bothered online for months by CLEAR peons boasting about how our time was coming and we were going to regret “smearing” Peter Reynolds and “undermining” the cannabis campaign, I presume because that’s what Peter Reynolds was predicting was going to happen to them. But the idea that we were going to lose was just never on the cards. Literally everyone I spoke to with any kind of legal experience said his case was completely mad. The question was when, not if.

I’d like to thank all of the many people who have written to express support for me, in particular Jeff Ditchfield who kindly took on Power of Attorney to deal with Peter Reynolds’ emails. Being emailed nearly every day while I was at work started to wear on me and that gave me the space to deal with Peter Reynolds’ verbosity on my terms rather than his. Cheers to Chris for all his support and I hope he has his own happy announcement soon. Thank you to those who gave me advice, support and leeway on deadlines while I was dealing with letters and court documents.

I would like to say that this is the end. I fell into this entirely by accident and I have other things to do with my life. I’m studying for an MSc in Occupational Therapy and I’m eight months away from ordination as an interfaith minister. But as long as Peter Reynolds attacks me, my friends or groups I am associated with, I will defend them.

How much did you win in costs?

Sadly, I don’t know right now. There remains some legal manoeuvrings to determine this that I can’t go into. As you can see in the order at the top, I didn’t actually send in receipts for my costs and apparently the hours I applied for were unusually high as well (something I find quite ironic given I based my costs schedule on Peter Reynolds’). So I will have to prepare a load more stuff for the court, and that will take a little while. The final costs won’t be an insignificant amount, but it has never been about the money.

Whatever the final bill, on top of the £2145 Peter Reynolds dropped on suing me in the first place that he won’t be getting back,  this has been an extremely expensive exercise in intimidation.

Was it worth it?

Asked to me by a cop the second time I reported Peter Reynolds for harassment, and echoed by the people who are too lazy to stand up for what they believe it, I’d have to say that I would rather not have been sued. It has been a stressful time and the number of hours I officially submitted in my costs estimations was dwarfed by the amount of time I spent talking about it, thinking about it, researching etc. But I was sued, and sometimes you have to take the lemons that life deals you and prove to a forensic standard that those lemons are racist.

Peter Reynolds Watch broke the news of the strike-outs in August, and predictably, people have been complaining that by giving him attention, we strengthen both him and CLEAR where they would otherwise has faded into obscurity. I hope that the CNN documentary has disabused them of that notion, and in any case, being sued is a bit more of a deal than writing a Facebook status. You can’t ignore someone who has literally spent thousands of pounds trying to find you and ruin you offline. I have been legally silenced for the last ten months, but now I would really like to address this point. The fact is that as a consequence of some dedicated efforts of individuals in the cannabis movement, Peter Reynolds has been denied credibility as a representative of cannabis users, with most journalists writing stories about them contacting me or PRW for further information. And he has to a large extent stopped posting bigoted comments on his blog and on the CLEAR Facebook page, which was really what I wanted in the first place.

You know, you should write a book about this.

I am writing a book. I have always wanted to write a book, and they say you should write about what you know. And after two years and a lawsuit, I know this subject very, very well. I am 20,000 words in, and intend to finish it over the Christmas period, with a tentative release date of February 2014. Provisionally entitled “Cannabis and Conmen”, it is a memoir looking at how I first found myself involved in the cannabis community and Peter Reynolds’ effort to silence and sue, people who disagree with him on basic things like the rights of gay people to not be slandered, cannabis smokers to gather together in parks, and heads of state to not be assassinated because Peter Reynolds doesn’t approve of them. The book contains new and bonus material beyond what has been previously published by myself and PRW, including:

  • The stories that led up to each article that I’ve published to date.
  • All the details of how the lawsuit played out behind the scenes.
  •  New and exciting ways in which Peter Reynolds has sought to express his particular brand of malevolence towards everyone in the world, including previously unseen emails and screenshots. Things like: peter reynolda alison smith2 Peter Reynolds took me to court for libel, and Peter Reynolds has lost
  •  How Peter Reynolds has been continually trying to spy on my social media accounts (did you think I didn’t notice that?).
  •  More extensive coverage of the antics of Derek, Maharg and other members of Castle CLEAR that I have not previously blogged about. Derek in particular likes to post things that aren’t worthy of attention in their own right but are fun to bring up. Like this:these wankers deserve it Peter Reynolds took me to court for libel, and Peter Reynolds has lost
  •  A 3,000 word MiSTing I wrote on CLEAR Executive member Joel’s bizarre legal document in response to being caught accepting cocaine on the internet. I never published it because I went out to attend synagogue and when I came back, Joel had already been fired, and it seemed unsporting to kick a man when he had been put down. I have fewer qualms about putting it into print where it won’t follow him around online.

You can therefore sign up to this mailing list below to be notified of its release. I need hardly say that any further attempts to harass me will simply be documented and included in another chapter.

What lesson should I take from this?

Don’t fucking sue me.

Finally: peter reynolds promises to leave clear Peter Reynolds took me to court for libel, and Peter Reynolds has lost

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{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

Emiel De'Trovske December 2, 2013 at 5:53 pm

As a person who ha know you for quiet some time I have to say good on you, I’m glad you stuck it out even with the stress

Would there be any grounds for you to counter sue for harassment, emotional distress and the bigoted language used towards you?

And if any of his group are able to read these comments I am available at all hours for harassment, after all I lobe a good argument don’t I Sarah lol

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Doktorb December 2, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Bravo. And if you permit me bra-fecking-vo at that.

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NR23Derek December 2, 2013 at 6:29 pm

What I don’t get with people like her and the other small group of people who constantly snipe is why they are so utterly obsessed with trying to attack PR, attacking him is the most important thing in their lives it seems. How they can be so obsessed with anything is frankly beyond me – and you’re not that much better given your enthusiasm to spread this rubbish.

In my world, I have many many issues, I don’t have time to dig loads of crap about individuals. Not only don’t I have time, I don’t have the motivation to do so, I’m just not that petty, I’m just not obsessive. Indeed I don’t hold grudges against people, I move on and if need be, ignore them.

What do I think about it? I think it’s petty at best, at worst a deliberate attempt to undermine a cannabis law reform campaign – and that I do object to.

Handbags at dawn indeed. Pathetic, and somewhat sad.

I’ll say one more thing though, which I do find worrying and here I’m quite serious. One of the effects of cannabis prohibition supporters are often keen to promote is, they claim, that cannabis produces just this sort of obsession, rigid thinking if you like. I have always dismissed that as just another prohib claim, but from what I’ve seen over the past year I’m not so sure now and I do find that depressing.

PR and CLEAR are sure as hell not your enemy. Put you time and effort into fighting the people who really are out to get you.

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emiel December 2, 2013 at 7:00 pm

if you look above you will find it is them that were fighting Sarah!

i assume you are one ft the arsholes involved based on your reaction and the constant barrage of comments and harassment that has not stopped towards Sarah since before this started

also you state ‘they are not your enemy’
usualy people and organisations who are not the enemy do not start a war against people for speaking the truth

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Dumbderek December 2, 2013 at 7:23 pm

Err, Derek, wasn’t it Peter Reynolds himself that actually tried to sue people here? Surely that makes HIM the obsessive one, no? ~smh~

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sarah December 2, 2013 at 7:28 pm

Before everyone gets too into the defence of my honour (for which I thank you!), I must point out that this message from Derek was likely not posted by him and is an in-joke among those who were around for the Great Meltdown of January 2013: http://www.sarahmcculloch.com/opinion/2013/peter-reynolds-investigative-journalist/#comment-189547

Some thing happened here: http://www.thctalk.com/cannabis-forum/showthread.php?94030-Senior-activist-says-hi

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Darryl Bickler December 2, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Nobody could have posted that drivel other than Derek.

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tedsays December 2, 2013 at 7:29 pm

You are a desperately delusional man. A man in love, most likely. The poor thing.

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stevester December 2, 2013 at 9:34 pm

I wouldnt be surprised if that was PR that posted that comment pretending to be Derek .Thank god he didnt post a photo of his knob by accident . Well dont Sarah .

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Glyn Williams December 13, 2013 at 3:16 pm

The same old guff Derwick….. Over and over again you prove that your grasp on reality is tenuous at best .I reckon ye run the risk of forever being known as “Delusional Del” or some such….

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Lefty December 2, 2013 at 6:48 pm

Excellent read and congratulations on your victory.

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Wee shug December 2, 2013 at 7:17 pm

Yes yes yes ..good on you

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Darryl Bickler December 2, 2013 at 7:48 pm

With the “what lessons should I take from this”? bit I add two points for all concerned:

3. There was never any excuse to discuss personalities given the purpose of thse groups was to effect law reform.
4. Do not invite the authorities into policing others unless absolutely unavoidable.

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Chris December 3, 2013 at 3:37 am

So are you saying Darryl that one must ignore homophobia, antiSemitism, sexism and racism, as long as they support some form of drug law reform?

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Darryl Bickler December 3, 2013 at 9:32 am

There is a key distinction between those prejudices and the issue we are ostensibly fighting for Chris. There is a massive amount of state apparatus already in place banning hate speech of these kinds, whilst on the ground there is still much prejudice in society, any aggrieved person can call the police or get intervention and be courted as a victim, as there is formal equality legislation in place. The complete opposite scenario exists for people with respect to their own bodies and what they put in them, they have no freedom at all – this is why we must fight for that right, and not let ourselves be distracted. If one believes in freedom of expression as a key right, then one would positively have to argue for the right of people to express their racist/sexist and other prejudices in almost every situation. That is not to say we agree with it or should stay silent – but its much better to criticise content in precise terms. Rather than call the police of lawyers or even label things as an ism/-ist as some sort of short-cut to end an argument, I certainly would advise restraint as the bigger problem than bigoted members of the public is the law then criminalises expression. Whislt I feel sympathy for Sarah being harassed, she doesn’t need state protection as a victim I would have thought as with her supporters and her own obvious qualities she can defend herself. We need other ways of dealing with shit, and I think dialogue is best and in this case, refusing to be drawn into any distractions just because someone starts name calling, tell them where to go and why, that has to be enough time wasted in the day of a person who is really seeking freedom. Laugh at them and leave it.

I got tired of all this ‘he’s a this that and the other’ as labels are too easily bandied about, if someone wants to write some polemic about why they hate multiculturalism that is their damn right, in one sense we should be more tolerant of the reality of ignorance – what I mean is we all likely go through a learning curve where we recognise the follies of our ideas of yesterday, we should try and educate bigots rather than ban them, yet for with people and drugs, bigotry abides.

Virtually the entire so-called cannabis reform movement has become embroiled in this garbage. If I post something about freedom for drug users I might get a few hits, if I start a thread mischievously about Reynolds, then there is huge excitement and activity, and yet he should never be given the oxygen of publicity so I even fall into the trap myself. No don’t ignore prejudice, but the more issues we insist that supporters adhere to as right-thinking, the more the distraction and division. I guess many people might bear the legacy of a homophobic education, or concerned about immigration, and yet still be valuable supporters for the cause of freedom and they can be nudged towards understanding wider tolerance. I don’t consider PR to be a suitable character to lead the ‘cannabis lobby’ because he is one of these dinosaurs and a control freak, and he has no idea about human rights, and even attacks people for using cannabis there is plenty to go at on that.

Instead of sensible people pulling Clear’s policies to pieces, its the collateral crap that he posts that has become the focus, partially because most of the rest of the drug reform movement works in the same paradigm as Clear, ie talking on and on about cannabis which I always say is a red herring.

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Stuart Wyatt December 3, 2013 at 10:55 am

You were quite happy to work with Reynolds until he also turned on you. In fact, you seemed to be quite pally with him during the time that he instigated legal proceedings against other activists, and it is long suspected that you were ‘advising’ him on how to navigate the civil court procedures.

While you Darryl might be ok to ignore someone who is a dictatorial bully, a liar, a fraudster and who regularly exhibits outbursts of homophobic, sexist, racist and thatcher-loving bile, thankfully most other people in the community have higher standards than yourself.

Thank you for reminding me why you are still on my block list on facebook.

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Darryl Bickler December 3, 2013 at 11:48 am

If someone wants to fight a legal case for human rights then I would probably offer them some advice even if I don’t like them, its more about getting the issue right so they don’t mess it up for us all. I have not helped Reynolds with his cases at all, I am opposed to the whole principle behind these actions, so I prefer the term ‘reasonable suspicion’ as opposed to your supposition based upon my chastisement of many for focussing on Reynolds’ irritating musings upon the world . I didn’t say ignore them, I am saying that the use of libel law as one defendant sought to initiate first, or the complaining to the police about harassment as also happened, isn’t the right approach either.

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Darryl Bickler December 3, 2013 at 11:50 am

To be clear, I have not helped him with these libel actions, I did offer to help them with Home Office license applications and appeals.

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Stuart Wyatt December 3, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Weren’t you privy to confidential information that could only have been gleaned via Reynolds or one of the people who he was suing? I know that none of the people who Reynolds was suing shared such information with you, so how did you come to possess it?

You and Reynolds must have had quite a pally relationship for him to share such information with you. He must have been getting something out of those conversations, so what did you offer in return? Considering you are a trained solicitor, my guess would be legal advice. Or maybe it was just pure blind encouragement?…

Either way, you’ve long made your bed Darryl.

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Chris December 3, 2013 at 1:34 pm

Well done Stuart, you actually read all of Darryl’s comment. I couldn’t even manage to get to half way through the first paragraph and yes good point, he too has reminded me why he’s on my Facebook block list.

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Darryl Bickler December 3, 2013 at 1:50 pm

What is the good point? Oh about HIM again and not the issue of free speech. Its more crap, picking on personalities in preference for anything substantial.

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Darryl Bickler December 3, 2013 at 1:53 pm

You asked me a direct question and I gave you a full answer, but at least anyone else reading this will, if they can be arsed to read, have the chance to see my point.

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Chris December 3, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Well unfortunately, when one is issued with a libel writ, you have to deal with it, even if the libel writ is complete nonsense and has been issued by a looney acting as a litigant in person.

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Stuart Wyatt December 3, 2013 at 6:37 pm

Actually, I just read one or two sentences. It’s his same old ‘sitting on the fence while stirring’ bullshit, diluted with paragraphs of meaningless waffle.

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Lem December 3, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Darryl,

A few questions if I may:

Do CLEAR actually have any policies?

Do you really believe it’s possible for any ‘sensible’ person to engage in dialogue with anybody in the CLEAR leadership?

Do you think Peter Reynolds is a violent bully? If you don’t; why? If you do; why do you think Sarah doesn’t need protection from him, by the people who hold the monopoly on violence?

Can you explain what paradigm you think should replace the current state monopoly on violence?

I hope the ‘cannabis reform movement’ can start to move on from this mess, that the money gained from (hopefully) bankrupting Peter Reynolds again and publishing a book about his escapades can be put to good use. If that happens, then he and his ‘collateral crap’, will have at least served some useful purpose.

I laugh at PR and all the other clowns in the CLEAR circus every time I read an article by, or about, them. The amusement I gain from their boundless ineptitude and arrogance is priceless. PR is ineducable – he is the embodiment of the Dunning-Kruger effect – you can’t educate somebody who is incapable of acknowledging that they require education: all you can do is call them a bellend.

I can leave it at that, because PR doesn’t know who I am and has therefore never been able to sue me for expressing my opinions about his views. As far as I’m aware, Sarah has consistently “criticise(d) content in precise terms” (as already noted, I prefer to call him a bellend and laugh at him) and was sued for defamation by PR for doing so. I’m not sure your advice really holds any merit for anybody being sued for defamation.

As the claimant PR was unable to prove that the words written about him were defamatory or damaging, technicalities or no. I would assume that makes him racist, homophobic, sexist and transphobic. I don’t see what’s so wrong with labels: If the crown fits, wear it. Not that he should be prosecuted, or in any way silenced by law, for being any of those things, but he should definitely be called a bellend on a regular basis.

On that note: Peter – we all know you’re reading this article, your ego wouldn’t allow otherwise – you are a massive bellend.

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Darryl Bickler December 3, 2013 at 9:05 pm

Lem

1. I’m not a member of Clear, clearly they have policies, but IMO they are, like all canna-centric initiatives, fundamentally flawed.

2. Dialogue with Clear – not really, it’s a fait accompli, but that isn’t a unique experience – virtually the whole reform movement is seized in the same grip.

3. Violent? You mean fisticuffs? I have no evidence to make such an accusation.

4. Well I am not an anarchist, but we need some form of revolution to rescue human agency; all violence has to be justified from whatever source. If the state misuse their powers then that should be addressed – what’s this got to do with Sarah?

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Lem December 3, 2013 at 9:50 pm

1. I think that calling them policies is overly generous. We’ll have to agree to disagree.

2. If you believe that dialogue with CLEAR is ‘not really’ possible why do you think it’s the ‘best’ option? How would somebody who has had a writ for defamation served against them ‘refus(e) to be drawn into any distractions’ ? Ignore the writ?

3. He had an assault charge against him dropped on a ‘technicality’ I think it’s highly likely he is a physically violent person; I don’t think he would be able to claim that you had defamed or damaged his character if you called him that. However, violence and bullying aren’t limited to physical action. So the original question remains.

4. Nothing whatsoever to do with Sarah. You’re the one suggesting a paradigm shift in the discussion, I obliged.

To me, freedom from the fear of violence and harrassment are more important than an individual’s right to free speech. If the law surrounding the (mis)use of drugs was changed, I would be as free from that fear as I’m ever likely to be.

Being as you are advocating a revolution and suggesting that people don’t need state protection from being harrassed, I was just wondering if you’d thought through what comes next: it would seem that you haven’t.

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Darryl Bickler December 4, 2013 at 9:13 am

1. ‘incoherent policies’
2. It’s not possible to have a dialogue with any person if they entrench their position to the point of not really being able to think freely, I think that is the key, free to be flexible and to understand ideas with the benefit of pre-existing frameworks, but without being blinded by those structures. I am the eternal optimist when it comes to believing in personal transformation – rather than believe in evil, it is more the case that there people who are being evil, doing evil things, but rehabilitation is nearly always possible.

I am not suggesting ignorring court papers, I am saying that they exist because however the rightious the stance against prejudice may be, this movement has become subsumed by turf wars fought between personalities on the battlefields of politically regressive state orchestrated inter-personal policing.

3. So the libel case ended on a ‘technicality’ as far as I can understnad this blog and yet people conclude that the court agrees that PR is a racist etc. So every person questionned by the police and released is now guilty? No smoke without fire – actually this is quite offensive, you know, due process and all that.

Be very wary of extending the definition of violence to words; this was how the law was undermined by feminist jurisprudence and we ended up with harassment/stalking laws. Let me say to you that these laws are not for your protection, on one hand you refer to the state monopoly on violence and on the other want the state to police the verbal interactions between people. Your political compass is spinning all over the place. It was much better when a conviction for GBH carrying up to 5 years in prison required intentional violence causing some significant injury, as opposed to it now being matched with another offence defined by subjective distress that can be caused without intent such as by unwanted gifts or even a silent phone call. That law is being used to control activists and even for police to claim alarm and distress by someone shouting and swearing.

I find your last two paragraphs absurd, political democracy and the potential for reform require free speech as a fundamental precept, protection from the words of others is the complete opposite. Are you also supporting libel law as a necessary tool of equity?

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Lem December 4, 2013 at 9:44 am

As I don’t seem to able to respond to Darryl’s latest post directly….

Where have I suggested that a state monopoly on violence is a bad thing? I’m all for a state monopoly on violence, as long as that monopoly is subject to proper scrutiny. I can’t think of a better way of doing things, you’re the one calling for revolution therefore it’s incumbent upon you to explain what it gets replaced with. You haven’t even tried to address the question.

If somebody was standing outside my door abusing and threatening me, I’d be quite glad for someone to take them away. If you think their right to stand outside my door and threaten and abuse me is more important to democracy and the potential for reform than my right to live a life free from the threat of violence and harassment, you’re more bonkers than I first thought.

The police and the courts aren’t the same thing. I thought somebody who occupied the position you do would understand that, Darryl.

Your statement that laws against harassment are being used by the police to claim alarm, distress or harassment is disingenuous. As far as I’m aware, Mr Justice Bean has set a precedent regarding the likelihood of a police officer being alarmed, distressed or harassed by swearing and shouting: they aren’t likely to be.

I’m not wary of extending the definition of violence to words at all. Tom Daley would have been unlikely to make the video he made last week, in the climate even just 20 years ago. I think that’s a step in the right direction. As long as we keep taking more steps in the right direction than the wrong direction, we’ll eventually get to where we want to go.

If you want to change the world for the better and you know how, why don’t you start doing it; instead of telling everybody else how wrong they are? You never know, if you seem to be doing a good job other people might even join in.

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Darryl Bickler December 4, 2013 at 10:17 am

I can’t respond to the post below so put it here: “As I don’t seem to able to respond to Darryl’s latest post directly….

Where have I suggested that a state monopoly on violence is a bad thing? I’m all for a state monopoly on violence, as long as that monopoly is subject to proper scrutiny. I can’t think of a better way of doing things, you’re the one calling for revolution therefore it’s incumbent upon you to explain what it gets replaced with. You haven’t even tried to address the question.

If somebody was standing outside my door abusing and threatening me, I’d be quite glad for someone to take them away. If you think their right to stand outside my door and threaten and abuse me is more important to democracy and the potential for reform than my right to live a life free from the threat of violence and harassment, you’re more bonkers than I first thought.

The police and the courts aren’t the same thing. I thought somebody who occupied the position you do would understand that, Darryl.

Your statement that laws against harassment are being used by the police to claim alarm, distress or harassment is disingenuous. As far as I’m aware, Mr Justice Bean has set a precedent regarding the likelihood of a police officer being alarmed, distressed or harassed by swearing and shouting: they aren’t likely to be.

I’m not wary of extending the definition of violence to words at all. Tom Daley would have been unlikely to make the video he made last week, in the climate even just 20 years ago. I think that’s a step in the right direction. As long as we keep taking more steps in the right direction than the wrong direction, we’ll eventually get to where we want to go.

If you want to change the world for the better and you know how, why don’t you start doing it; instead of telling everybody else how wrong they are? You never know, if you seem to be doing a good job other people might even join in.”

Well people feel that the relationship between state and individual has become corrupted and self-serving, so in order to remedy that we do need civil rights. I have been active in rform for a number of years fighting test cases etc – yes I know the courts are supposed to be independent of gov and police, yet without real rights to point to, the courts end up imposing gov policy as irrefutable. The police are always using the newly defined vulnerability criteria for their own purposes, curiously claiming injury in tort from such activities as seizing cannabis plants and effectively causing the Hillsborough disaster, but yes you are right, in terms of public order law, they are expected to have reasonable fortitude. What they do often is to say that bystanders witnessing something are likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress.

I think if someone is standing outside your door and you feel intimidated, close the door and inform the neighbours – I really disagree with the idea that we should define our fragility to the point that an obnoxious post or comment has caused harm requirring intervention. You cannot have a ‘right’ to be free from those things, rights are better understood in terms of what the state and their agencies can and cannot do to you.

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Lem December 4, 2013 at 11:42 am

If somebody is standing outside my door, shouting at and threatening me I should basically just ignore them. Okay. Whatever.

I don’t believe that people should be allowed to harass and threaten other people.
Threatening and harassing other people is a type of personal freedom.
Therefore, I don’t believe people should be allowed personal freedom.

That’s pretty much what you are saying and I really shouldn’t have to explain why it is wrong.

When you say ‘people think that…’ are you speaking for the entire population of the planet, or do you actually just mean, ‘some people think that…’? Do you have evidence to back up your claim? I’m not saying it’s wrong I’m just wondering why you think you have the ability to speak on the behalf of ‘people’.

I’m well aware of what human rights are and understand perfectly well the manner in which I used the term, but thanks for patronising me anyway. I can’t see why you feel that freedom from violence and harassment is any less of a key right than the right to free speech.

I’m quite perfectly sure that PR’s campaign against Sarah was far more than an obnoxious comment or post which caused offence. It was a concerted campaign to destroy her reputation and smear her character, based on his manipulation of facts. But fair play to you for defending his right to do so and thinking that Sarah doesn’t need protection in law from such. She should have just shut the door, eh?

Lately, I find most of what you write absurd.

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Danny boy December 2, 2013 at 7:56 pm

I met this Peter fellow at an event in Cardiff. He struck me as a thug. A profiteering thug with two weapon dogs at his heel.

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ken December 2, 2013 at 8:12 pm

just found this article and well done for standing up for your rights and the rights of other activists, keep up the good work

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Stuart Wyatt December 2, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Congratulations Sarah for sticking out against this pathological liar, charlatan, fraudster, alcoholic, racist, sexist, misogynist piece of shit.

I look forward to reading the full correspondence once you make them available online. I believe it will show everyone CLEARly what a nasty vile man Peter Reynolds is… more so…

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Stuart Wyatt December 2, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Ooops, I missed out homophobic and anti-Semitic too. There are probably many other adjectives that I’ve missed out too.

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Jeff Ditchfield December 2, 2013 at 8:29 pm

“The claim accused me of falsely claiming he is a sexist, homophobic, transphobic racist”

Well done Reynolds, you managed to get a Court to rule that you are racist and homophobic lol plus you had to pay them to do it! When are the bailiffs going in Sarah? I’m sure they’ll video it if you ask them

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Darryl Bickler December 2, 2013 at 9:14 pm

So I still don’t get why he didn’t keep it going like he did with Chris Bovey. It seems like Chris’s first sight of victory (a court Order as well) was short lived as Reynolds surprisingly managed to overturn that court order – so if that was possible why would he not do the same with your case? The court hasn’t of course agreed that PR is a racist or hompohobe or any of these things if this has ended on a technicality. Let’s hope this spells the end of this episode as its wasted personality-based crap, I recently had the pleasure of being insulted by Reynolds and my response it to wear it as a badge of pride and posted it on my wall, he seems to be going into meltdown and having a hissy fit for being quoted verabtim by me. He said that it would be better for a thousand stoners to be locked up than one medicinal user denied medicine, I asked if people agreed and he comes back with “You are a disgrace to your profession, to your claim to seek any sort of justice. You are two faced, insincere and worthless. Just another playground bully. I want nothing more to do with you”.

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Maharg Thims December 10, 2013 at 9:08 pm

Darryl, do you think that Peter is funding this himself, or using CLEAR’s money?

I strongly suspect the latter as he’s referred to the “defamation” of CLEAR several times in his blog.

Surely this would amount to a misappropriation of funds by Peter and possibly result in another couple of months in the Scrubs…

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Darryl Bickler December 11, 2013 at 9:27 am

How the hell should I know – do I have crystal bollocks? There are plenty of people here who will say anything without evidence, BTW the court has not ruled that Reynolds is any of the things claimed on this thread at all.

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Maharg Thims December 11, 2013 at 7:45 pm

Darryl, I asked you for your opinion. There’s no law against that. I thought you were pretending to be a lawyer.

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Darryl December 11, 2013 at 8:23 pm

My opinion is my opinion and I simply have no reason or fact to make the accusation or rebuttal you want me to make. Sarah has said the man is discredited by his previous conduct, I agree that all this is about personalities here so what’s the rub? For me the fact that I don’t know people as if someone were mentally deficient in reading character, I can only say what fence I will sit at? Well I won’t sit with anyone who castigates ‘stoners’, this is a people movement. I’d rather argue right now about why we are celebrating progress in one faraway country on cannabis policy, we see people sentenced to be hung in others, something is very wrong.

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Sarah McCulloch December 12, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Your previous conduct does not, I think, reflect badly on your present as long as you face up to it and repudiate it. Peter Reynolds does not just stand by his comments about women, black people, gay people and the disabled, he’s actively suing people for calling him out on it.

Additionally, setting aside his public bigotry towards minorities, the way he keeps declaring every six months or so that cannabis is legal in some form is seriously problematic. He’s misleading sick people, and we’ve seen that George Hutchings went to Southampton airport with the intention of getting his medicine and was hugely surprised that he was busted for breaking the law. He’s pivoted well, but the reason it happened was because Peter Reynolds told him he would make it through fine. He’s putting people at risk while keeping himself and his friends well out of harm’s way. That’s not about personalities or past politics, that happened last month.

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Maharg Thims December 13, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Well said Sarah. Darryl, I’m surprised at your reluctance to express an opinion given your propensity for long winded posts and generally talking up your legal qualifications. In general terms, if somebody is potentially guilty of fraud by virtue of their having misappropriated funds from a political party, do you think that we, as public spirited citizens, should ignore that?

In the words of a well known barrister in the field of libel/defamation “He placed his head in the sand, thereby exposing his thinking parts.”

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Darryl Bickler December 13, 2013 at 2:05 pm

It seems like Sarah everyone wants to define what is acceptable and unacceptable speech. I think this has proved a distraction, yes the misinformation was a problem for George Hutchings, but as we know, you can’t believe everything you read online.

I can’t respond to Maharg’s post but I don’t go around boasting about qualifications at all. I think the Clear members or anyone concerned must examine their own organisation accounts or the public othrwise substantiate these claims, and if there is evidence of inpropriety, then make the appropriate representations to the authorities as they see fit if necessary.

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sarah December 13, 2013 at 5:46 pm

In February 2012, Darryl, you wrote this and with your permission, I posted it to my Home Affairs article, where it is still posted:

“Mr Reynolds has in my view demonstrated his unsuitability for public office through his anti-Jewish remarks when he conflated the actions of the state of Israel with those of the Nazis, and cursed the ‘evil Jews’ rather than address the legitimate concern correctly. I endured these remarks as perhaps a mistake in his terminology as I did with his homophobic remarks concerning gay fashion designers perverting normal heterosexual standards. However for me he has ultimately crossed the line with his response to Sarah’s critical investigative journalism (which in itself was doubtless spurned by anger at the article mentioned above in which he inferred that homosexuality was a perversion) by making personal comments that equate homosexuality with genetic ‘confusion’ as this sows the seeds of a very insidious politic, and is in my view entirely inconsistent with the possibility of enrolling the public into a more tolerant view about personal choice to use cannabis, or any claim to greater respect for the individual.

Whilst Peter has brought much energy and creativity into his work, I cannot allow the good points to balance the bad ones as the latter in my view fundamentally interfere with the credibility of Clear. One cannot be a spokesperson for a party or cannabis users whilst concurrently expressing such vehemently held views in my opinion. I have determined to end all communication with Mr Reynolds as a result of his demeanour, threats and offensive communication towards persons who ask critical questions or who find themselves opposed to his views.”

Did you not define in that comment what you consider to be acceptable and unacceptable speech? Did you not then believe it was acceptable to cease communication with someone because of the way they spoke to and about other people?

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Darryl Bickler December 14, 2013 at 5:50 pm

I never said that one must keep talking in conversations that offend, or are not enjoyable or useful. I was trying to say to Lem the same point that there is no need for people to feel victimised and run to the police or courts just because someone says a naughty word. What I meant about PR was, as a supposed campaigner fighting for our liberties, he has exposed why he is unsuitable for this office IMO. Attacking people for using cannabis is barely consistent with the job anyway, and if you hold bigotted views generally then it’s hardly likely you would ‘get’ what drug law reform is about. I wasn’t saying he is isn’t entitled to express his views, I don’t think its unacceptable as such to say what you think, the problem is squaring those views with his position. It’s about context – just like farting is possibly more acceptable at barbeques than dinner parties.

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Peter Lunk December 2, 2013 at 10:53 pm

Glad to hear you won !
Congrats Sarah :)

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Harry December 2, 2013 at 11:08 pm

Me and a mental health nurse, got sued by a Californian crack pot. It didn’t pan out for her. She now owes me more than $90,000. Details at my satirical site Shrink4Men.

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Kevin John Braid December 3, 2013 at 1:16 pm

all i can say is HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

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Darryl Bickler December 8, 2013 at 4:25 pm

I just read a blog post (not sure of the source) where PR says the judgment was obtained by deception and thus will be set aside.

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sarah December 10, 2013 at 10:41 am

Falsus in unum, falsus in omnibus.

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Stuart Wyatt December 12, 2013 at 8:41 pm

I read a blog somewhere where PR said that legal medicinal cannabis in the uk had been achieved, and another post where he said that cannabis had effectively been decriminalised. Peter Reynolds says and writes a lot of things that aren’t true Darryl. You of all people should know that. *sigh*….

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Kev December 14, 2013 at 9:57 pm

Good point Stuart, I read a blog where PR claimed he had won a defamation lawsuit against Dr Gary Potter and London Southbank University (he hadn’t) – he further implied Dr Potter and LSBU were involved in a campaign of blackmail and harassment against his children and elderly parents, all of course untrue and ironically in itself defamatory.

PR originally proudly posted a scan of the writs he paid £8,580 for on both his own Facebook page and the CLEAR Facebook page stating the fightback against hatred and abuse has begun.

Thus far, he got a meaningless agreement with Alun Buffry, apparently the writ against Greg de Hoedt struck out because it was not correctly served and a Court Order to pay Sarah an as of yet unspecified amount of money for wasting her time. With a track record like that, I can’t imagine the last remaining libel writ is likely to go far, I doubt Mr Bovey’s barristers and lawyers are shitting themselves wondering what to do, nor can I imagine their final bill will be cheap either. Remind me, who has to pay that if the claimant is unsuccessful?

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Darryl Bickler April 8, 2014 at 7:49 pm

I see the case has a hearing this Friday where P Reynolds claims it might be re-opened. On one hand we have you claiming costs and he claiming perjury. Any comment on this if you feel it is appropriate?

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Sarah McCulloch April 11, 2014 at 2:13 pm

The answer, Darryl, is that it wasn’t a “perjury” hearing, and costs proceedings don’t stop just because your opponent files an application.

However, the outcome was that the order was overturned, and the case has been reinstated. Every hour of my weekend has already been accounted for but I will update this article in due course.

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Darryl April 11, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Blimey I thought the court order was the end if it but again this has been shown to be a false assumption. Do the issues concerning pleadings that led to Chris having his case struck out not also apply here or is there a real possibility that both cases will proceed to trial?

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Chris April 11, 2014 at 7:31 pm

Today’s events have made no difference to the case PR brought against me and had struck out by Master Eastman. PR has launched an appeal against my judgement, which he served several weeks out of time, no doubt I’ll let you know the outcome of the appeal. In the mean time, following judgement in my favour and the order of the Court that PR do pay my costs, my legal team are busy preparing the costs documents for the Court . A lot of it is over my head, since I have no legal training, I just let them get on with it, they seem to know what they are doing.

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Just an observation April 10, 2014 at 8:32 pm

Darryl, for someone who repeatedly tells others to stop focussing on Peter Reynolds, you seem to spend an awful lot of time focussing on Peter Reynolds.

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Darryl Bickler April 11, 2014 at 12:26 pm

Thankfully it’s Just peripheral in my case; actually I was asking about the people affected by todays court hearing.

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