The Poor Had No Lawyers

Dr Paul O’Donoghue and his wife, Emily

A friend has drawn my attention to a spat concluding today (8-Nov-19) before Lord Clark in the Court of Session in Edinburgh.  Andrew Dearg Wightman, a Scottish Green Party Member, an MSP for the Lothian region and an old “fan” of Highland Titles, has been brought to justice over some malicious falsehoods he appears to have carelessly published about a fledgling good cause called Wildcat haven Enterprises.  Mr Wightman did the same sort of thing back in the day about Highland Titles, so I think you could fairly describe him as a serial liar. A shame, because he has done some good things. But when you become a troll, reason and truth fly out of the window.

As I write this I have no idea who will win – or perhaps nobody will.  But I wanted to draw attention to the problem of seeking redress through the courts when a malicious scoundrel sets out to cause reputational damage as appears to be the case here.  There are really only two options.  “Suck it up” or sue. Problem is that taking legal action is eye-wateringly expensive, especially when one must take action against a well-funded man such as Andy Wightman. I certainly did not want to take the high road and make lots of Edinburgh lawyers rich.

With a fighting fund approaching £200,000, Mr Wightman, a well paid MSP, appears to have gone for delay and prevarication, simply in order to increase costs for the Wildcats and perhaps force them to fold.  He hired top solicitors BKF & Co (“One of Scotland’s oldest and most expensive law firms”) and perhaps the best (and most expensive barrister) available – Roddy Dunlop QC.  Dr Paul O’Donoghue, meanwhile has begged and borrowed from relatives, read up the law and has had to represent himself in court without benefit of counsel. I believe he has had to mortgage his house and sell his car. Mr Wightman was probably unaware that he had defamed the most doggedly determined man in Britain.

This is truly David and Goliath. Or Paul and Goliath.  A passionate animal lover, prepared to fight to the death to preserve his reputation versus an egotistical politician with a track record of malicious and reckless smearing. Only one party can win here. I know who should win. I know that Paul’s dreams of saving the wildcat have been set back years, perhaps killed altogether, by a very nasty and spiteful individual.  One of them is likely to lose everything. Knuckle-biting stuff.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *