Wightman Wildcat Haven hearing transcript 2018_03_30_10_31_27
Since my last post on the subject of my peremptory summons to help Mr Wightman with his legal troubles, I have received a copy of the court’s transcript of the event which I now share with everyone.
I have to admit that I had rather forgotten about the whole defamation thing. Highland Titles is in a particularly good place just now – 2017 was our tenth year of growth with our highest turnover and profit ever. This provides us with an income that we can use to do much much more than we ever imagined when we hung out our shingle in 2006. The lucky 100 who are booked to attend the 2018 gathering will hear about our plans first. Those on our mailing list will hear next. It does keep me busy, but that is certainly a very good thing.
But Mr Wightman was brought to my attention again last week when I received an email from a friend alerting me to a tweet (below). It appears that Mr Wightman will be dusting off his begging bowl again.
What a difference a year makes! Eleven months ago the news of his crowdfunder appeal for a modest £10,000 electrified Twitter. 318 hearts and 592 retweets. Wow. This year the request for an additional extraordinary £120,000 created a massive social media yawn. One heart and a comment from Cathy. Hopefully she will be donating the full £120,000 because nobody else appears to be interested.
The crowdfunder for my defamation case is now live. Thanks to all who have offered support so far. Donate here https://t.co/6d5USWf85N
— Andy Wightman MSP (@andywightman) April 19, 2017
One possibility is that people realise that trying to defend the indefensible is an expensive and futile ambition. Surely it would be better to apologise and try to set the matter straight?
To spend so much money on lawyers which could be better spent on a million diverse good causes is arguably the behaviour of a man who knows with unwavering confidence even beyond conceit that he’s benefitting everyone around him. He must be saved at all costs no matter what damage he may have caused to the little people. He cannot be seen to have erred.
His statement on his website that the court date “may well be a year or more away”, taken in context with his previous delaying tactics, suggest that his strategy might be to try and make the other side (a small wildlife non-profit) run out of money as their legal fees steadily increase. He states “The estimated duration of the hearing is 8 days”. Quite frankly this is ridiculous. The case is a simple open and shut case which I am advised could be concluded in two or three days. His desire for an 8 day hearing would result in increased costs and massive delay.
If he had wanted to get his day in court, I cannot but wonder why he turned down the offer(s) of free legal help that he received. Rather than represent himself, accept free help or turn to any number of well-intentioned “legal” friends who would surely have been pleased to represent him for a modest fee, Mr Wightman, possibly sensing the truly impossible job of making black look white, turned to one of the more expensive advocates at the Edinburgh bar, Roderick W. Dunlop Q.C.
As I have made very clear under oath to the court (see transcript above), my only connection to Wildcat Haven (and Wildcat Haven Enterprises), is that a company that I represent as a director, Highland Titles Limited, has been funding it since WH was formed in 2015. Before that we funded the Scottish Wildcat Association. Highland Titles have poured well over £100,000 into wildcat conservation and I do not begrudge a penny of it. We plan to donate considerably more as do other organisations.
But nobody gives away money without making checks that hard earned cash will not be misused. We met with the principals of both organisations before funding them and undertook due diligence. We are well aware therefore that Mr Wightman has got many of his facts wrong as indeed he has done for Highland Titles. The court will eventually determine whether these factual inaccuracies amount to defamation and if so what damages are due to Wildcat Haven Enterprises.
This leads me to observe that Mr Wightman, in his latest blog update on his website, has been just a teensy bit mendacious – it is called lying by omission – in his description of the case against him – perhaps unintentionally done. He states:
Wildcat Haven Enterprises CIC claims that statements that I made in the two blogs are defamatory. I do not accept that they are.
Yet my personal opinion is that his tweets have been far more defamatory than his blogs and he fails to mention that they are also part of the case against him. Mr Wightman has elsewhere drawn attention to his difficulty in responding to the six pages of his tweets (as well he might).
Pleadings & defences due to close 20 Dec in Wildcat Haven Enterprises CIC vs Andy Wightman. This weekend researching & responding to 6 new pages (25% increase) in pursuers pleadings incl many tweets from 2015 with 4 days to go. pic.twitter.com/2ks4fNSyv9
— Andy Wightman MSP (@andywightman) December 16, 2017
I note that AW has deleted his blogs. He does not appear to have deleted his tweets. Time will tell whether that was a schoolboy error. Hopefully not a very, very, very long time.