clear

Peter Reynolds campaigning in the Corby by-electionAs some of you may remember, I was sued for libel by Peter Reynolds, President (“irrevocable until death”) of CLEAR-Cannabis Law Reform, for posting a variety of things that he didn’t like on my blog, the long story of which you can read here. I defended myself as a litigant-in-person and me and Peter Reynolds battled our way across reams of paper and multiple trips to Court until eventually it turned out that he didn’t care anywhere near as much as I did about him being a homophobic racist (probably should have seen that one coming) and just wanted me to take down the one article that I had no principled attachment to.

So, we signed a settlement agreement in which I took down the article, Peter Reynolds withdrew his lawsuit and gave up any right to sue me for calling him a homophobic racist on the internet or to claim costs against me, and we both signed a gagging order for a year. That ran out in 2015.

Was one article worth the estimated £2500 Peter Reynolds spent on suing me?  

A question only he can answer, I guess.

*shrugs*

I never meant to fall into the campaign to legalise cannabis, I was happily working away on drug law reform when Peter Reynolds burst into my life and called me a “genetically confused half-werewolf half-woman” and the community rallied behind me (for which I remain grateful, thankyou). So after Peter Reynolds finally backed away from the cliff of his own making, although I met some good people in the cannabis movement, it wasn’t really my world, and I moved on to other things. I am a qualified mental health occupational therapist, I have a full-time job, I do stuff that is fulfilling, and interesting and cool. Peter Reynolds and that time he sued a 23 year old Theology graduate for allegedly libelling him has been nought but a killer dinner party story for years now. Many, many people have been entertained.

However, I was not the only person who got sued. In 2013, Peter Reynolds sued me, Chris Bovey, Alun Buffry and Greg De Hoedt, for which he had admitted that he had paid £1600 each to file writs against us.

Alun settled, at no cost to him and now that his gagging order has run out, with no consequences for his speech.

I settled, at no cost to me, and now that my gagging order has run out, with no consequences for my speech.

Greg did not respond to the lawsuit and paid £5,000 in court fees and other costs.

But what of Chris?

Well, Chris is of considerably greater means that either me or Alun and successfully had Peter Reynolds’ case thrown out. Pinder Reaux are one of the best libel lawfirms in the country and they made fairly short work of Peter Reynolds’ fairly wild allegations that it was libellous to call him a racist just because he published stuff like this:

State of our nation blogpost

Sadly “my oldest friend is a jet black Jamaican” entered our vocabulary just a little too early to take full advantage of the meme era.

Because you have to state exactly who saw the publication and in whose eyes your reputation has been lowered, Peter Reynolds also alleged that all 23 million UK users of Facebook should be considered to have seen the offending words and images that Chris had posted to his private Facebook feed. Chris certainly has friends, but he doesn’t have 23 million of them.

Unsurprisingly, with such stellar legal arguments as this, Peter Reynolds had his case thrown out by Master Eastman in the Royal Courts of Justice, and Chris was awarded £20,482.04 in costs. Then Peter Reynolds piled up some more costs trying to appeal, then some more trying to make an application alleging that Chris was harassing him. All were thrown out for one reason or another, and then suddenly the bill looked like this:

Final costs bill Peter Reynolds v Chris Bovey

That is… a big number.

That’s where the public accounting of this story ended, because suddenly Peter Reynolds, so enthusiastic a communicator that at one point I had to require him to contact me only via a third party to whom I had granted power of attorney to interact with him on my behalf to stop the tide of threats and whinging appearing in my inbox at all hours of the day, mysteriously vanished, despite continuing to tweet dozens of times a day. Faced with a £20k+ legal bill, he floated away on the ether, moving house, refusing to notify Chris’ lawyers as to where he had gone, and generally pretending that he hadn’t actually spent hundreds of hours of his time and ours claiming that he was going to win the greatest legal victory since Magna Carta.

It has a been a frustrating few years for Chris, trying to track down the most important man to hit the cannabis movement since the inventor of the bong, who mysteriously never attends public cannabis events, conferences, nor seemingly has any relationship with anyone at all in the movement.  He somehow managed to lose another entire Exec back in 2016 as well – even Derek joined them that time (Derek’s meltdown in the comments of my post on Peter Reynolds impersonating a fictional journalist, btw, is still something I read every six months or so, and I highly recommend if you want to be tickled).

Unfortunately for Peter Reynolds, his parents were real people, and in 2016 his mother passed away, leaving a will that we found in a public registry. A will which left him one fifth of a six figure sum, minus the money he had borrowed from his parents, presumably to pay court fees.

Peter Reynolds admits stealing from his mother.

Date unknown but pre-2013.

So Chris’ lawyers notified the solicitors holding some of the money that Chris had a legal right to claim what he was owed and they were prepared to make a legal application (with even more costs attached) to get it paid directly to him, and even then, Peter Reynolds still, initially, tried to refuse to pay it.

But eventually, finally, even Peter Reynolds, god-man, could run no longer. Likely faced with few (if any) options, and presumably on advice from qualified legal professionals, he gave in, gave up, and handed over to Chris’ lawyer the sum of £36,323,86.

Costs order paid

To quote Judge Tugenhat’s judgement: “pleading in defamation cases is a minefield for the amateur. I am afraid that Mr Reynolds has not got through the minefield”

 

The wheels of justice grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine.

 

Chris is pretty chuffed, obviously:

Chris Bovey Peter Reynolds Lawsuit

Chris with his costs order.

 

Chris also had this to say:

‘I always knew from day one I would win and I was prepared to fight the racist loony all the way. It did cause a me a huge amount of hassle, but at the end of the day I am not the one who ended up with a huge amount of egg on my face and despite him boasting that I stood ‘not a snowball’s chance in hell of getting a penny from him’, he’s now paid up almost double what he was originally ordered to pay.

To quote Master Eastman’s judgment in 2014, Peter Reynolds failed to traverse the minefield in the defamation case he brought against me. He has also failed to evade paying me the Court ordered monies he had been ordered to pay me since that time. It has taken a very long time to ensure that Peter Reynolds paid his dues, but duly paid they have been.

There may be more to be said on this story, as I am still not entirely satisfied with matters but that will be something I take up with ever attentive and brilliant legal team.”

Chris’ lawyer, John Spyrou of Pinder Reaux, himself subjected to one of Peter Reynolds’ polite, well-considered blogposts, was also fairly, if more conservatively, pleased:

“Having acted for Chris since early 2013 in this matter, I am extremely pleased that he has now recovered much of the funds that he spent defending a suite of proceedings which were dismissed by the Court at each substantive juncture.

 Orders of the Courts, in particular the High Court, have wide reaching powers and should never be ignored.”

 In total, Peter Reynolds spent over £50,000 on taking us all to court – was it worth it?

Did it benefit the cannabis consumer that he claims to so vigorously exert himself on behalf of?

Did it benefit himself, down a substantial chunk of his inheritance and alleging to have PTSD as consequence of his bombastic, self-aggrandising campaign against all who questioned him and their highly unimpressed response?

You be the judge.  The judges, though, have made themselves pretty clear (ahem) on the matter.

 

On the book

I promised a long time ago that I was planning book on this bizarre time in our lives, and it’s something that I very much want to do. I have been held back from doing for several reasons:

* There was a need for a technology to allow me to access some evidence stored digitally.

However, this technology has now been invented and exists.

* I had neither the time nor the inclination to wallow in the mind of Peter Reynolds any further when I had other far more interesting and pressing concerns. In the last three years, I finished my degree, was ordained as an interfaith minister, and spent a year abroad. I think it’s essential to recognise what is and is not important and writing a very niche book about my interactions with Peter Reynolds, while amusing, is not important, to anyone.

However, my career has been relatively lucrative, and I am approaching the point that I have the money to pay someone else to do the research that needs doing to make it accessible to people who weren’t there at the time, leaving me to write the fun and interesting bits.

* Thirdly, the story of Peter Reynolds’ involvement in the cannabis community didn’t have an ending – he’s still there, still President (“irrevocable until death”, remember) of CLEAR, though he’s now trying to strong-arm people into joining a new outfit, the Cannabis Trades Association, in the belief that when legalisation comes to the UK, his magic touch will see him finally recognised for the fore-sighted genius he believes himself to be.

However, the fact is that he has now lost a really quite mind-blowing amount of money (imagine what the cannabis movement could have done with £50,000). The fact is that he and CLEAR have been abandoned by even the fools like Derek and Roland willing to overlook appalling behaviour like reporting medical cannabis users to police to feel good about themselves. That and Peter Reynolds’s efforts to create and control a monopoly on CBD canna businesses by falling in with people who are sufficiently unhinged that they have actually been arrested for harassment, no small achievement in our experience – all this implies this story is slowly reaching its conclusion.

Let’s not forget that that happened.

In other, shorter words – the book is happening. I can’t tell you when, I can’t tell you what will be in it, I can’t say much other than, the book is happening, and if you want to know more about it when the time comes, you can sign up here:

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As many of you know, I had a court hearing to deal with an application filed by Peter Reynolds on the 11th April. The issue was whether Peter Reynolds had contacted the court on August 2013 when the case was originally struck out to get it reinstated. I turned up and within about five minutes Master Eastman said that he’d looked through the files and was satisfied that the original order had been made in error, so he was reinstating the case. Apparently it was the court admin’s fault. Annoying, but what can you do, really. And that was that. Nothing further has been ordered in terms of actually moving the lawsuit on because they’re going to await the outcome of Peter Reynolds appeal against Chris Bovey before determining directions.

Peter Reynolds naturally responded to this by publishing a blogpost making his usual fabulous interpretation of events. I meant to write up a reply to explain what actually happened, but, ah, I went to a party instead. And then I had a seminary training weekend. And then it was Passover, then 420 and now I have an essay due, so it didn’t happen because, really a blogpost that says “Court case is back on. Peter Reynolds made up some stuff. Nothing else new to report.” is the least important thing I’ve needed to do for the last two weeks. But he’s written another blogpost, so I guess I should get round to writing this one.

Funnily enough, though Peter Reynolds’ various emails, blogposts, and original application stated that I was a perjurer, Peter Reynolds singularly failed to mention this in his argument to the Court and the judge didn’t mention it.  And yet he’s gone back to claiming that I habitually make false statements to the court. Weird how he says that in public but not to the actual judge who could actually do something about it – if it were true.

Peter Reynolds also likes to make out that he’s somehow doing me a favour by repeatedly calling me mentally ill and trying to patronise me over the fact that I have a disability. I’d point out that this isn’t actually cool but I’ve already done that and he’s apparently has all of this compassion and concern and sympathy for my “mental health conditions” that doesn’t extend to not making out that I’m crazy and mentally unstable wherever possible. Stuff like this:

Sympathetic, isn't it?

Generous and conciliatory, isn’t it?

Just to briefly deal with this issue of the police and harrassment and service and things, as he complained about it at the hearing as well: I told Peter Reynolds to contact me by  a particular address. He’s been sending letters everywhere but there. It was stressing me out, so I told the police. They told him to knock it off. He’s been whinging about it ever since.

Anyway, the “five minute discussion” which followed the hearing was the most interesting bit. Master Eastman finished what he was saying with “and I notice you two have never actually gone to mediation – why don’t you just go out into the hallway right now and try to sort it out?” And  he said yes, and I said yes, so we both went outside and had a fascinating discussion in which it became obvious in about 90 seconds that the underlying issues that he sank all this time and money into suing me for aren’t really issues. So now I haven’t any real idea why he’s suing me. I realise that sounds bizarre and I don’t think it appropriate to go into any more detail than that right now, but  it has left me wondering why he couldn’t have had that 90 second conversation with me when I suggested mediation last year instead of having a temper tantrum and breaking off all communication. Which, you know, I was fine with, but it has dragged out this case for more than a year for seemingly no reason.

That conversation, incidentally, lasted five minutes because Peter Reynolds stomped off after that time. His version of events claimed I “shrieked” that he was a bigot after his retreating back, but that’s not quite what happened, was it Peter? I’ve never ‘shrieked’ at anyone on my life. I actually called you a bigot to your face, didn’t I, Peter? I was sitting chilling out on a bench talking to your son and when you said something along the lines that I knew my articles were lies, and I said “Well, I do think you’re a bigot”, didn’t I? And you went red, shouted “That’s just an insult!” and walked off. But who would let the truth get in the way of a good story. I bet his mates down the pub hear all kinds of tall tales about the women Peter’s made ‘shriek’.

By the way, Peter Reynolds also demanded I pay £4,000 in costs for the hearing, but when he brought this up Master Eastman politely told him to get lost. I point this out because Peter Reynolds appears to have forgotten it in his write-up, just in case you want to remind him.

Anyway, Peter’s son, Richard Reynolds, has now picked up the communication ball and appears to be a sane and rational human being, so I have been sent settlement terms that I’m going to respond to in due course. Now if you will excuse me, my essay beckons.

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

December 2, 2013

As 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 […]

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About CLEAR and that “Legal Medical Cannabis” claim…

October 17, 2013

So, CLEAR made a massive claim last month, that they had succeeded in opening a loophole by which UK residents could legally import Bedrocan, a branded form of herbal cannabis available in parts of Continental Europe. They put out a big headline: Their basis for this was a medical cannabis patient, codenamed Clarence, who had gone […]

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Can Cannabis Cure Peter Reynolds?

August 26, 2012

So last week, NORML UK published a testimonial from someone who had been using cannabis oil to treat his cancer, which had suddenly gone into remission. Our contributor had titled it “Cannabis Cures Cancer!”, which proved very controversial among our membership. To avoid confusion, the title was changed to “Cannabis Cured My Cancer”. That worked […]

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The Difference Between CLEAR and Zimbabwe…

April 25, 2012

…is very little, it would seem. The results of the Cannabis Law Reform Party Vote of Confidence are in, and Peter Reynolds gained 70% of the vote on a 42% turnout, 232 votes to 101. Seems reasonable, doesn’t it? Well, maybe. But check out the email that was sent out: Related Posts:Peter Reynolds and His […]

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Peter Reynolds – Denzil White Transcript

April 15, 2012

Audio available here. [Greetings, salutations, request for interview.] D: I’ve noticed there’s been a bit of an explosion. P: There has been, yes. Quite a furor. (laughs) D: I’ve spoken with people who claim to be the Executive Committee at the moment, without naming names. I’ve spoken to a couple of them and they all […]

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Peter Reynolds vs. Clear: Rolling updates

March 30, 2012

5th April, 22:42: Peter has called a vote of no confidence in him as leader: My leadership has come under sustained attack. There has been a vicious hate campaign of lies, abuse, forgeries and false allegations. Recently, those responsible have also turned on my colleagues, Derek Williams, Jan Wells and Mark Palmer. These brave individuals […]

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Peter Reynolds vs. Clear: Rolling updates 30th March – 2nd April

March 30, 2012

This is an archived version of the Rolling Updates, which you can find here. —————————————— —————————————— 00:57am: Tomorrow promises to be a fun-filled day of action, my friends, I shall see you then. :) 22:36pm: On Soundcloud, Peter Reynolds has already gotten in with the threat/complain/insult cycle, on someone even he has to admit he […]

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Everyone Vs. Peter Reynolds (Lol)

March 30, 2012

You know, when I see political scandals unfolding on a news cycle and people say, “I’m not resigning, I’m not resigning, ok, I’m resigning”, I’ve often wondered what made them turn around and realise the game was up. What would happen, I wondered, if they just stuck it out and refused to recognise the lack […]

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