Archive | July 2017

Message on Behalf of Roy Larner – the ‘Hero of London Bridge’

On 3rd June 2017 Mr Roy Larner was a victim of the attack at London Bridge. He has been hailed a hero for his actions on that evening, but it should not be forgotten that he is also a victim who was quite seriously injured due to direct contact with an attacker. For the past five weeks Roy Larner has been involved in what can only be described as a media circus, as understandably the public wanted to hear his story of what happened on that evening.

Now that his account of that evening has been aired, it is time for Roy to take some time out and concentrate on his physical and mental health, as should everyone directly involved in an attack of such a horrific nature.

I ask that Roy is left to focus his attentions on making sure he is able to recover from the incident, and that he is not approached by any press, promotions or organisations with offers of interviews or assistance. All such approaches should be made through myself for the foreseeable future.

I also ask that members of the public respect his privacy, while he is very much a recognisable person due to the media attention, it should be remembered that he is a man who has suffered a very traumatic experience.

Any queries in relation to Roy Larner should be made to me on 07041 212357 or via email gurdena@btinternet.com.

Alison Gurden

Barrister

Mansfield 1 Gray’s Inn Square Chambers 0207 405 0001

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ADVICE FOR CELTIC FC FANS WHO HAVE BEEN SUSPENDED BY THE CLUB

 

This is a quick advice which is only in relation to the Celtic FC away matches as I need to obtain further documentation in relation to the suspension of season tickets at Celtic Park.

I am aware that a letter has been sent out to some season ticket holders informing them that their season tickets are under suspension and that they are also banned from attending away matches.. the exact wording is “..pending further investigation you are hereby suspended from attending (1) any Celtic FC or other matches at Celtic Park; (2)any matches involving Celtic FC at any other stadium in Scotland or elsewhere.” There is also mention of a refund for any fans who have purchased a ticket for the match against Rosenborg at Celtic Park.

There is a Celtic FC away match scheduled for 29th July at Sunderland AFC.  A football club cannot ban people from entering any stadium other than its own. Hence, while Celtic FC can ban any person from entering Celtic Park, it cannot ban someone from entering Sunderland’s Stadium of Light. However, if Sunderland AFC wishes to ban Celtic FC fans from entering the Stadium of Light (even if only on advice or recommendation of Celtic FC) it can do so. If Celtic FC fans have purchased their Stadium of Light tickets using their membership, it is possible that Celtic FC have provided these details to Sunderland AFC, and those Celtic FC fans who have been suspended may find they are refused access to the Stadium of Light due to this information. However, neither Celtic FC or Sunderland AFC have made any suggestion that there is a refund system in place for any Stadium of Light tickets and that indicates (although don’t take this as gospel) that the Stadium of Light will not refuse entry to those Celtic FC fans who have purchased tickets and who Celtic FC have suspended. If they do refuse entry due to the request of Celtic FC, a claim can be made against Celtic for the costs of the tickets as no offer has been made for refund or compensation for not being able to attend. In addition, if Celtic FC has provided the details of all the suspended fans to Sunderland FC, that in itself may amount to a data protection breach.

In Short, at the moment it seems as though Celtic FC fans travelling to Sunderland AFC are likely to be granted entry to the Stadium of Light. Obviously those who have not purchased through a membership scheme cannot be traced on their tickets by either Celtic FC or Sunderland AFC. However, keep an eye on Sunderland AFC website incase there are any announcements from Sunderland FC to the travelling Celtic FC fans.

Celtic FC has made a veiled threat in its letter that anyone who tries to evade the suspension will have their season ticket revoked. It is possible for Celtic FC to do this as the club has the ultimate right to deny access to the stadium to anyone as it is a private venue. However, if there is a mass of fans who have their season ticket revoked it is possible to make a complaint to the Football Ombudsman, and in addition anyone who has their season ticket revoked will be able to claim for the cost of the season ticket and also likely be able to claim a small amount of compensation for the aggravation of having the season ticket revoked. But the bottom line is that Celtic FC can ban whoever they want from Celtic Park, no matter how unreasonable.

‘She deserved it…’ ‘He embarrassed me so I decided to do the same to him”… Dealing with online harassment without Police involvement.

Many of us (including me) have been there….posted something on social media in anger, when feeling sad or depressed, or drunk or high.  There is then that ‘Oh Sh*t’ moment when you realise, delete the post or photo and hope that not too many people saw it. Some of these ‘Oh Sh*t’ moments may involve comments about or photos of others and will then involve a grovelling apology to anyone you have embarrassed or upset.

There is however, a growing trend of people posting things on social media, blogs, and forums with the intention of causing another person to feel anxiety or distress, or embarrassment, or alternatively knowing that it will.  The girlfriend/boyfriend who becomes an ex,  and posts what are referred to as ‘dick pics’.  The person who feels aggrieved at the actions of another and posts copies of their private messages in such a way that they could be identified by others.  The person who sends emails or posts online messages to  another’s employer in the hope it will cause them problems at work or even cause them to lose their job.  Or in some cases, someone who becomes fixated on another, who they have never met, but who they research on social media, putting together the pieces until they have identified friends and family, who they then use to get at the person whom they have become fixated.  These are all actions which will be classed as harassment.   In most cases a person knows who it is who is harassing them, or is able to work it out from the content of the harassment.

The law on harassment is clear, there is no defence of “s/he deserved it” or “I wanted to tell them how I feel and they blocked me on their phone so i had to do it this way” or  “well, you can’t identify who I’m talking about just from that post”.  If a person (on more than 1 occasion) intentionally posts things online which on their own, or with other posts could identify another, or sends messages to another’s employer or home, and that causes the other anxiety, or alternatively an ordinary person would say that it is likely to cause anxiety or distress, then it is harassment.

While the Police can deal with harassment complaints, it is often difficult for them to do so quickly.   The police have to investigate and in many cases will have to make contact with another police force as the harasser often lives or works in another area, meanwhile the harasser will often ramp up their harassment, particularly if they do not get a reaction from the person they are harassing.

Another way of dealing with the harassment is by sending a warning letter to the harasser (I have sent out 3 this week alone) warning them that their actions are harassing, and that if they do not stop, then a civil claim can be brought against them.  The benefit of a civil claim is that the police do not need to be involved, the burden of proof is much lower.  Whereas in criminal courts the magistrates or jury have to be satisfied so that they are sure that a person has carried out the action and that an ordinary person would deem it to be harassment, in civil cases, it is merely a question of is it more likely than not that the actions would have caused harassment? This is much easier to prove.  In many cases, just providing screenshots of the social media posts is enough evidence to prove a civil case.

In civil cases a restraining order can be applied for.  This will be aimed at preventing the harasser posting anything else online which could cause the person they were harassing any anxiety or distress, or making any contact with the person they were harassing.  A breach of a restraining order can result in a prison sentence.

In my experience, the warning letter is often enough, but if it doesn’t do the trick, it is very easy to bring a claim in the civil courts as the abused person is in control of the court action, they do not have to rely on the intervention of the police or Crown Prosecution Service.   So although for many people, their first thought is to ring the police, with police resources stretched to breaking point around the country, a much better chance of getting the harassment stopped may be taking things into your own hands and using the civil route.