Search This Blog

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

MP Galloway launches court action against Willie Frazer

George Galloway launched legal action on Tuesday against victims’ campaigner Willie Frazer and internet giant Google over allegations made at a loyalist protest outside the Ulster Hall.

Lawyers for the Respect MP went to the High Court in Belfast to seek an injunction as part of a wider claim that comments broadcast on YouTube were defamatory and put his life in danger.

Mr Galloway claims sectarian and false remarks about him during last month’s picket constituted hate speech which significantly heightened tensions at the venue where he was taking part in a public speaking event.

A judge was also told Mr Frazer was at the scene operating a camera to post an online video while the MP for Bradford West was inside the hall.

An application for a court order to stop any further material being published was adjourned to allow checks on whether Google has been put on notice.

Mr Frazer, who arrived in court without legal representation, has also been given time to decide whether he wants to instruct a lawyer.

Protests outside the event on August 23, billed as Saturday Night with George Galloway, centred on his earlier reference to Bradford being an Israeli free area.

In an affidavit lodged as part of his case, the MP claimed Mr Frazer used the opportunity to slander his name with a series of “vitriolic, abusive, sectarian and wholly untrue speeches”, both directly to camera and by megaphone to gathered demonstrators.

He listed a series of allegations made about him, categorically denying them all.

They included claims of being scum/a scumbag, that he is a tramp, that he is anti-Protestant and supports those who behead British and American citizens.

Mr Galloway insisted in his statement: “I have been for many years Britain’s foremost opponent of Islamic extremism.”

He added that he has specifically denounced Muslim jihadists ISIS, and declared the grouping’s filmed decapitation of US journalist James Foley “an evil and disgusting act”.

Despite stressing his support for freedom of speech and peaceful protest, the MP claimed Mr Frazer’s comments made him fell threatened, harassed and degraded.

Less than a week later he was attacked in London, he noted.

The material allegedly broadcast by Mr Frazer on YouTube, which is owned by Google, was said to have been viewed more than 17,000 times.

The MP was not in court as his application for an interim injunction came before Mr Justice Stephens.

But after the judge raised a point about what constitutes political debate, counsel for Mr Galloway argued that the alleged conduct did not qualify.

Frank O’Donogue QC said: “This is Mr Frazer who has his own YouTube site standing outside the Ulster Hall while Mr Galloway is inside having a meeting.

“Mr Frazer is speaking to a camera and then he goes and posts this on a website.

“This is not political debate in the form of an exchange between two gentlemen or in a meeting.”

Following brief submissions the application was adjourned until next week.

Outside court the MP’s solicitor, Kevin Winters of KRW Law, said: “This application was lodged as soon as Mr Galloway became aware that material was on the internet which was both defamatory of him and his reputation and, secondly, put his life at risk.

“Sadly and unfortunately within days of this appearing he was attacked in London.”

No comments:

Post a Comment