This is a guest post by Andy Erlam, one of the four Tower Hamlets election petitioners (along with Debbie Simone, Azmal Hussain and Angela Moffat). It’s a response to my blog post yesterday, here.
It is kind of Ted Jeory to give some more uninvited advice about how we best manage the Election Petition case. However, we are sure Commissioner Mawrey QC does not need his instructions interpreted by Ted.
The Commissioner has announced that he may allow statements to be included in the case without the names and addresses being revealed to Lutfur Rahman or John Williams or their legal teams. This is a significant development which we had a duty to inform the press and the public of.
There are some other inaccuracies in Ted’s account, which is not surprising as he did not attend the Press Conference.
Who did attend, we are told, was a spy for Lutfur Rahman, an uninvited solicitor, a trespasser in fact, so Ted may wish to check with him/her.
The comment made by Janet Digby-Baker OBE was slightly misquoted. The case she was referring to was another case and she made it to illustrate how nasty intimidation can become.
Of course, the intimidation and the threatening of witnesses is itself an extremely serious criminal offence, punishable by imprisonment on conviction.
This is the worst way to show contempt for the court and we will not shy away from reporting each and every reported incident to both the court and to the police and carefully monitor progress of any investigation. The police have not yet covered themselves in glory in this case, but we live in hope.
We will respect the court but we expect our opponents to respect the people.
The Scrutiny of the entire mayor election vote starts in the High Court on Monday morning November 3 and as it takes place in the Royal Court of Justice, we can expect that it will be a sedate affair with special care taken towards transparency and due process.
We leave it to your readers to decide whether this will be better than the Tower Hamlets election count of May 23-27.
Instead of sniping from the sidelines, Ted should get back to some quality investigative journalism:
Who is financing Lutfur’s hugely expensive legal team?
Are we certain the Tower Hamlets ratepayer isn’t somehow financing Lutfur’s legal team?
What does the PwC report show and recommend?
Surely a leak from PwC can be organised? I am reliably informed that LBTH has tried to “lean” on PwC which if true is surely another gross miscalculation.
Ted predicted wrongly that we would be laughed out of court at the initial High Court hearing in July.
In fact, the unwise attempt to have the case struck-out supported by 10 QCs and solicitors (yes 10 and some paid for by the tax payer) against our brilliant barrister, Francis Hoar, was thrown out of court.
A further High Court Challenge over the PwC report, also paid for by the Tower Hamlets taxpayer, was later rejected by another judge as “hopeless”.
That has not deterred the mayor from seeking another expensive oral hearing which will take place on November 14.
Ted may be impressed by famous QCs but we will not be intimidated. Taking on hugely expensive lawyers is not a sign of strength, but of weakness.
We are not frightened of anyone.
Comment by Ted Jeory: I’m a bit puzzled that a petitioner who is going to court over allegations of impropriety is urging someone in PwC to leak an official report. I think Andy is right to ask who is funding Lutfur’s legal team; maybe he should set down a marker and fully disclose who is funding his own team.
I maintain that the petitioners are brave…but they’d perhaps be wiser to do their talking in the courtroom (as I think Richard Mawrey QC would prefer).