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Davenport Lyons Solicitors: The FULL SDT Hearing published

October 11, 2011 2 comments

Well It has taken it’s time, some say OVERTIME, but it is finally here.

The FULL hearing into Davenport Lyons Lawyers Dave Gore and Brian Miller.

(On Page 7 at 18 the cryptic letters are as follows …

Tw = Topware Interactive

Cm = Codemaasters

RP = Reality Pump

T = Techland

A = Atari

Dp = Digiprotect

Ls = Logistep)

I realise they may be seeking anonymity, but NONE of them have apologised for the pain they caused, so I think they are fair game.

It has come to my attention that this PDF is NOT searchable, so here is one that is.  I must caution you however that this is an OCR Conversion and may contain grammatical innacuracies. 

I would urge you to use this one for it’s search capability and then compare the results with the original.  Unlike those engaged in Speculative Invoicing, I like to be accurate… I hope you understand.

Here is the SEARCHABLE version

Please post any observations or comments below.

To Download each version. Please click HERE for the original….

And Click HERE for the Searchable version.

Davenport Whinings: Dont appeal, just apologise

August 7, 2011 Leave a comment

As has been already reported this week, Davenport Lyons duo, Dave Gore and Brian Miller have been punished by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.  One would have thought that this would be an end to the saga, many thinking that they got off quite lightly with just a £20,000 fine and a suspension of a mere three Months.

 Not good enough for Davenport Lyons though, they plan to appeal…. After wreaking havoc for two years on the General public before introducing us to ACS:LAW and Andrew Crossley.  During their two year regime of Speculative Invoicing, they were featured on the BBC Watchdog Program incurred the wrath of Which Consumer Group and also Internet Forum Slyck and influential Blog TorrentFreak.

 Why did they garner such attention? Well apart from the accusations of Old Age Pensioners sharing games and others some quite vile Pornography films :2:, the people of Britain realised that this was NOT the “Piracy Crusade”, it was made out to be.

 The Solicitors Regulation Authority investigated, (some say to slowly), and they found there was a case to answer, the Davenport Duo were hauled before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal in a hearing that lasted a whole week and were found guilty on SIX counts of violating the Solicitors Code of Conduct.

 They have issued a response to the sanctions levelled at the two Solicitors involved: 

 ‘We consider the decision of the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal and sanctions imposed against David Gore and former partner, Brian Miller, are totally unjustified.

Well see how foolish the opening line is?  Unjustified? Davenport Lyons  are a Firm of Solicitors regulated by the Soliciors Regulation Authority(SRA), they were investigated by the SRA and found wanting, FULLY JUSTIFIED.

Davenport Lyons is a leading law firm with highly specialist intellectual property lawyers. We were instructed by the owners of intellectual property rights in music, film and games to help them curtail the significant losses they were suffering as a result of the unlawful file-sharing of their products.

As a “Leading law firm”, they should have known better.  Instructed by Owners of Intellectual property? Hmmm like maybe John Stagliano or maybe Digiprotect? .  Hmmm Confusing   I think as the SRA has stated,  ‘used their position as solicitors to take or attempt to take unfair advantage of other persons, being recipients of letters of claim, either for their own or for the benefit of their clients’ speaks for itself.

The steps we took on behalf of our clients were for the protection of their legitimate legal rights. We consider that we acted in our clients’ best interests at all times.

Well Digiprotect was one of your clients, and here goes: DigiProtect is acting on behalf of one of the biggest adult studios in the United States, Evil Angel, run by American porn mogul John Stagliano. When contacted, Mister Stagliano appeared to be unaware of the £500 DigiProtect is demanding from alleged file-sharers to settle out of court.

 “It’s not my understanding that they ask for anything near that. I think the amount was $50 (£34) or €50 (£43),” he said. “I would be very surprised and I wouldn’t be happy because it would mean it was completely misrepresented to me.” 

Now what is Digiprotects Corporate Motto again…? Ahh yes “turn piracy into profit”

‘We wholeheartedly support David and Brian’s intention to appeal both the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal’s original decision and the resulting suspension and fine.’

I am sure you do, but as Michael Coyle of Lawdit said of you in the beginning…

 “The cynical lawyer in me would say this is a money-making exercise.  “If you send out 10,000 letters and ask for £500 each time, you only have to get half to pay up and you’ve made a significant amount of money. “Because it is porn, the person who’s being accused won’t want to go to court and is more likely to pay up to make the matter go away even if they are completely innocent.”

 And more interestingly this is what Judge Birss said of those who followed you in this “Speculative Invoicing” ACS:LAW

 “Whether it was intended to or not, I cannot imagine a system better designed to create disincentives to test the issues in court,” said the Judge. “Why take cases to court and test the assertions when one can just write more letters and collect payments from a proportion of the recipients?”

Why don’t you just hold your hands up and say “We are sorry, we are sorry for the pain we have caused by our false accusations and the linking of innocent peoples name to such horrid vile pornography.”

I will leave the last word to Andrew Crossley the Solicitor who you (According to the SRA) helped to set up and carry on the “work” you started.

“Davenport Lyons were a little bit rubbish at doing this work” and adds “….to arrogant”

Davenport Lyons Two Suspended for “Intimidation” :UPDATE 1

August 2, 2011 4 comments

Dave Gore and Brian Miller have been suspended by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal for sending intimidating letters of claim to members of the general public that they accused of filesharing. *

Although Gore and Miller accused the people they sent letters to , they never gave them a chance to prove their innocence in Court, they relied on people not responding to their letters to get dubious “Default payments”

They had both been found in violation of SIX rules of the Solicitors Regualtion Authority

The Suspension willl be for three months and they will be fined £20,000.

The SDT said:

Their judgment became distorted and they pursued the scheme regardless of the impact on the people receiving the letters and even of their own clients.

In addition to the £20,000 fine, Miller and Gore were ordered to pay interim costs to the SRA of £150,000.

The SDT went on to say:

“Some of those affected were vulnerable members of the public. There was significant distress. We are pleased that this matter has been brought to a conclusion and hope that it serves as a warning to others.

“Solicitors have a duty to act with integrity, independence and in the best interests of their clients. Solicitors who breach those duties can expect to face action by the SRA.”

The order has been suspended for 21 days to allow for appeals.

ACS:BORE opinion

Although this is a welcome development, it no way goes to be an adequate punishment for the pain caused.  £20,000 fine would be easily miniscule to the profit that was made from people scared of legal letters and paying up to make the situation “Go away”, Davenport like their successor ACS:LAW aimed the letter of claim at a cynical price of £500 – £750, the same cost to employ a lawer to fight the claim.

A Three month supension will allow them to be back in work for the New Year.

We look forward to seeing what the SDT does with the ACS:LAW/Andrew Crossley hearing later in the year, but after this rather dissapointing ruling we dont expect much.

*(For more on the background of Davenport Lyons “Letter of Claim” see the excellent Torrentfreak that broke the news way back in 2007)

**Davenport Lyons has issued a response to the SDT Findings.

 “We were instructed by the owners of intellectual property rights in music, film and games to help them curtail the significant losses they were suffering as a result of the unlawful file-sharing of their products. 

“The steps we took on behalf of our clients were for the protection of their legitimate legal rights. We consider that we acted in our clients’ best interests at all times.

“We wholeheartedly support David and Brian’s intention to appeal both the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal’s original decision and the resulting suspension and fine.”

Just a thought Davenport Lyons, when you are in a hole, STOP digging, you have been found guilty in the Court of Public Opinion a long time ago, and that could be easy to dismiss, however NOW you have been found guilty by you own regulatory body and their disciplinary body. 

Accept you have done wrong and APOLOGISE for the pain you have caused.

You are going down the same road as Andrew Crossley and ACS:LAW by denying that you have done anything wrong.  Last time we looked that path was not good…

ACS:LAW: The charge sheet from the SDT

July 13, 2011 6 comments

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal has issued its “Charge Sheet” on ACS:LAW and it’s Supremo Andrew Crossley.

The hearing will take place on August 18th 2011  (The date of the hearing is yet to be set thanks to those eagle eyed readers who spotted the mistake.)

The allegations are or contain the following

1) Allowed his independence to be compromised

2) Acted contrary to the best interests of his clients

3) Acted in a way that was likely to diminish the trust the public places in him or in the legal profession

4) Entered into arrangements to receive contingency fees for work done in prosecuting or defending contentious proceedings before the Courts of England and Wales except as permitted by statute or the common law

5) Acted where there was a conflict of interest in circumstances not permitted, in particular because there was a conflict with those of his clients

6) Used his position as a Solicitor to take or attempt to take unfair advantage of other persons being recipients of letters of claim either for his own benefit or for the benefit of his clients.

7) Acted without integrity in that he provided false information in statements made to the Court.

We at ACS:BORE are pleased with these charges and think they largely cover what we and many others have been saying for the last two years.  We look forward to seeing the hearing in practice and feel sure that these allegation whilst unproven at the moment, will be thoroughly pursued with the full weight of the law.

This is not the first time that Andrew Crossley has appeared, this will be his THIRD time.  One has to ask how many times can a Solicitor be pulled in before the Disciplinary Tribunal and be allowed to continue.  We look forward to August and hope it will be a FULL vindication for all those innocent people affected by the actions of ACS:LAW and their cohorts.

Many of those who engaged with ACS:LAW in bringing this misery to the general public will NOT be tried, but for those who follow this Blog, we at least know who they are.

Back in March 2010 I wrote an open letter to Mr Crossley after he accused me of posting messages attacking him, he is yet to respond.  

Thanks to Enigmax!

Davenport Lyons Violated SIX rules of the Solicitors Code of Conduct

June 19, 2011 2 comments

This image created 01_04_10 BEFORE ACS were also referred

Davenport Lyons the originator of the odious “Speculative Invoicing” scheme, have been found guilty by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) of breaching SIX rules of the Solicitors Code of Conduct.

 They were referred to the SDT by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, after a complaint by Which? and protests from many many innocent people who had received letters. , after a campaing of “Bullying” against Members of the general public.

The SDT met for a week and has now found that the SIX allegations against the two members of Davenport Lyons are proven and upheld.   Brian Miller has since left the Law firm but Dave Gore is a Partner.

The SIX allegations of breaching the Solicitors Code of Conduct, now proven are as follows:

(1) Breach of rule 1.03 of the Solicitors Code of Conduct 2007: respondents allowed their independence to be compromised.

(2) Breach of rule 1.04: respondents did not act in the best interests of their clients.

(3) Breach of rule 1.06: respondents acted in a way that was likely to diminish the trust the public place in them or in the legal profession.

(4) Breach of rule 2.04(1): respondents entered into arrangements to receive contingency fees for work done in prosecuting or defending contentious proceedings before the courts of England and Wales except as permitted by statute or the common law.

(5) Breach of rule 3.01: respondents acted where there was a conflict of interest in circumstances not permitted under the rules, in particular because there was a conflict or significant risk that the respondents and/or their firm’s interests were in conflict with those of their clients.

(6) Breach of rule 10.01: respondents used their position as solicitors to take or attempt to take unfair advantage of other persons, being recipients of letters of claim either for their own benefit or for the benefit of their clients.

It remains to be seen what sanctions will be imposed on the two.

The Firm that took up the “Speculative Invoicing” baton ACS:LAW and their Principal Andrew Crossley has also been referred to the SDT and will appear this October.  Andrew Crossley has already slammed Davenport Lyons for being “rubbish” and “Arrogant” in the way they conducted their business.

The SRA said it “welcomes the decision of the SDT in this case brought for the protection of consumers”.

Updates will follow…..

ACS:LAWs Andrew Crossley declared BANKRUPT – Davenport Lyons SDT hearing – Update 1

June 8, 2011 3 comments

Andrew Crossley the Sole Trader of ACS:LAW has been declared bankrupt.  After a near two year campaign falsely accusing members of the general public and having been lambasted by the House of Lords, the Main Stream Media and the Courts, and after he as a last gasp to claw more money attempted to launch a satellite company GCB LTD, he has now faced his financial ruin…. Or has he?

Although he has been declared officially bankrupt it seems he has lost none of his trappings of status.  Of course as a bankrupt he can no longer practice as a Solicitor save with exception from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), that seems unlikely as he is also facing his THIRD appearance before the SRAs Disciplinary Tribunal

As can be seen from the official notice however,  the bankruptcy was petitioned for on the 22nd December 2010 by the HM Revenue & Customs.  The letter sent from ACS:LAW regarding the handover of cases to GCB LTD (Which turned out to be run by ACS:LAW Employees) was dated 13th December 2010, draw from the timing what you will….

As  write this I am awaiting the end of the Discliplinary Tribunal Hearing into Davenport  Lyons the forerunner of ACS:LAWs business model… I will update later

UPDATE 1: The rather excellent Dina Greek who attended the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) Hearing today has said that the SDT has upheld ALL allegations against the Davenport Two, Dave Gore and Brian Miller.  Their should be a write up in Computeractive Tomorrow.

The SRA had accused the two of “Knowingly targetted innocent web users without evidence” It remains to be seen however why the SRA took so long to take action against ACS:LAW who they knew were running an identical operation.

But for many of us, we have finally seen some sort of Justice done.

Davenport Lyons and ACS:LAW together at last (almost) at the Disciplinary Tribunal

June 4, 2011 3 comments

In a strange quirk of irony, the two biggest exponents of the “Speculative Invoicing” litigation, were in the same building, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, Davenport Lyons were their in the middle of their SEVEN days of hearings, and ACS:LAWs Andrew Crossley was there for a “Directions hearing”

It transpires that Andrew Crossley had requested a number of big asks of the Tribunal.  A post from Will Gilmour who spent the day there states

It transpires that the application for directions was actually brought by him (rather than the SRA – the porsecution). He had a number of requests which he wanted the court to order. They were:
  1. He wanted SRA to fund his costs (as he’s lacking finance and was afraid he’d suffer an ‘inequality of arms’ against the SRA’s budget for his prosecution apparently set at £85k)
  2. He wanted to exclude all expert evidence, again on the grounds of expense
  3. He wanted an order to prevent the SRA making any further requests for disclosure of documents from him
  4. He wanted copies of all of the files concerned with the current Davenport Lyons (Gore / Miller) tribunal and…
  5. …a delay on proceedings on his case at least until the DL tribunal is concluded.

Wills post continues

As to the outcomes of Crossley’s five applications for directions: every single one was refused. No SRA funding, no exclusion of expert testimony, the SRA are free to request disclosure of further documents from him, he can’t have the Gore/Miller documents and there can be no unwarranted delay just because the Gore/Miller case is ongoing.

I would urge all my readers to go and view his EXCELLENT post on this whole subject.  It covers concerns over the “Expert” Testimony of the defence and prosecution teams and casts a dim view over the ability of the SDT to actually regulate Solicitors.  I am sure those of you who read the post will be quite astonished at the naivity of these people.

Will Gilmours Twitter feed is @will_gilmour go join his feed, I am sure he will be there again Monday!

Fobbed off by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) – Incompetence abounds

May 29, 2011 4 comments

I sent the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) an email regarding their investigation into the ACS:LAW Data Leak.

The email contained a few simple questions.

1: Why is ACS:LAW/Andrew Crossley  still registered at 20 Hanover Sq London as a Data Controller.

2: Do you think it is appropriate to offer Mr Crossley a 20% for early payment of his fine?

3: Do you think that Mr Crossley may have been in a better position to pay his fine had the ICO not taken so long to conclude it’s investigation?

The reply I got from the ICO after 14 days was this.

 

An obvious template response, I even got the ICO’s ACS:LAW FACT SHEET. And (wait for it) How to get compensation from ACS:LAW!!! (See Below)

Well of course my thinking was that if the ICO thought that it was only worth under 20p for everyone who has had their details leaked then imagine the Compo I would get from ACS:LAW I mean I might even get a penny a WHOLE Penny.  Wow well it truly has got me thinking until of course I realised that even the cheapest postal stamp (36p) would be many times my compensation, and incidentally more than the ICO fined ACS:LAW per individual. 

There has been talk by Christopher Graham the head of the ICO that he would have liked to have fined ACS:LAW £200,000 but of course that was proven to be merely a dose of hot air. (See question 2)

Mr Graham in fact has been in the news a few times since regarding other “Data protection issues” and again appears to be a mighty knight roaring about the rights and wrongs of the issue and how people should protect data, but he wields a foam sword.1 2

Maybe it is not his fault, maybe the ICO is handcuffed by legislation as Mr Graham seems to believe.  One thing is sure, I and many others have been through too much disruption in our lives to leave this alone now, we have invested the most precious of commodities know to humans, that of TIME, we did not ask Mr Crossley and his ACS:LAW “clown asses” to invade our lives with their preposterous allegations. 

A investigation into ACS:LAW by PCPRO this week was revealing and showed how Andrew Crossley had shown the ICO to be mugs.  An ICO spokesperson had told ZDNET “The £1,000 reflects his financial condition. He did drive a Bentley at one point, but he doesn’t now.” Well guess what PCPRO saw when they turned up at Crossley house? The Bentley still on his drive.

We are now over two years into this now and those accused by Davenport Lyons into their third year.  This whole situation has been a travesty of Justice, where the bad guys have been allowed to accuse thousands, leak their details and remain in a good position when they should be skulking back to the rock they crawled from.

There is still light though, on Tuesday this week (31st May) Dave Gore and Brian Miller the two Solicitors accused by the Solicitors Regulation Authority(SRA) will stand before their Disciplinary board (SDT) to answer for their actions in pursuing people they KNEW to be innocent.  Andrew Crossleys date is also coming soon.  There is real hope that partial justice may be done to these people.

It remains to be seen wether the SRA will act in a proper way and not in the way that the ICO has acted like a “Toothless  Tiger”

 

ACS:LAW and Andrew Crossley face HUGE costs for being “Chaotic and Lamentable”

April 19, 2011 5 comments

Yesterday at the Patents Court Judge Birss gave ACS:LAW/Andrew Crossley such a kick up his ample backside that the ripples will be felt throughout the Legal Profession.

In one of the final hearings into the Court Cases that ACS:LAW were due to bring against 27 alleged infringers (Read Innocent people) the Judge has turned his attention to Wasted Costs, ie ACS:LAW/Andrew Crossley wasting everyone’s time with his ridiculous Business Plan of targeting innocent people for alleged filesharing

I have covered the previous parts of this case on my Blog and it has also been reported rather nicely on the Torrent Freak Website.

Some stand out moments from yesterday include, comments from Judge Birss

Agreements between ACS:LAW and Media C.A.T) In my judgment there is an apparently strong prima facie case that the Basic Agreements are improper and champertous

Assuming Mr Crossley has indeed made a loss so far (and I am not satisfied I have the whole picture relating to the finances of this exercise in any event) it does not alter the fact that the Basic Agreements are improper and unreasonable.

Mr Tritton (Ralli Barrister) submitted that the Basic Agreements were negligently drafted by ACS:Law and the negligence was not merely an unintended act of incompetence but was done for ACS:Law’s benefit

In my judgment the drafting of operative clause 1.1.1 in the Basic Agreements was prima facie negligent. Mr Parker(ACS:LAW Barrister) did not advance a case to deny that, he submitted there was no evidence Mr Crossley was responsible for the drafting of the Basic Agreements. I have already dealt with that above. Mr Crossley was plainly responsible.

 (NPO Applications)This is yet another example of conduct by ACS:Law which, at best, can be described as amateurish and slipshod.

(On reports that SHOULD have been sent to ISPs) I will hear counsel as to whether I should direct ACS:Law and/or Media CAT to provide the report to the court and the defendants’ solicitors or explain why there is no report to provide.

In summary, consideration of the Norwich Pharmacal orders in this case reveals, prima facie, a series of errors and questionable conduct by ACS:Law….

 (On the letter of claim) In my judgment the letter is plainly negligent and may well be improper.

 (Negligent Correspondance) ACS:Law’s conduct was chaotic and lamentable. Documents which plainly should have been provided were not provided. This was not the behaviour of a solicitor advancing a normal piece of litigation.

( GCB Debacle) I have already found the GCB episode shows that ACS:Law knew perfectly well that Media CAT intended the letter writing campaign to be pressed ahead with despite the court being told that the Notices of Discontinuance were being used in order for the claimant to give the matter further consideration. That finding provides further support for my finding that there is a prima facie case of unreasonable conduct by ACS:Law in relation to the Notices.

In my judgment the combination of Mr Crossley’s revenue sharing arrangements and his service of the Notices of Discontinuance serves to illustrate the dangers of such a revenue sharing arrangement and has, prima facie, brought the legal profession into disrepute

 (Crossley 3rd Witness Statement) In his third witness statement Mr Crossley set out draft accounts and in paragraph 7 he summarised his position. He stated that the business model has been neither profitable nor rewarding for him in any way at all, and that neither himself nor ACS:Law solicitors have funded these proceedings and have not benefited from them. He said the control which ACS:Law has had over these proceedings is only to the extent that any litigation solicitor would have over his litigation client’s affairs and no more. He continued “By contrast both the claimant and the various copyright owners that it was representing received considerable income from the business model without any cost to them.”

There is a good arguable case that ACS:Law / Mr Crossley will be liable for the costs of this case and I will add ACS:Law / Mr Crossley as a party to this action for that purpose.

Barrister Guy Tritton is already on record describing the ACS Law case as the “most appalling case” he’d seen in his career, stressing it was a unique incident.

The FULL hearing can be viewed here.  Same rules apply do NOT consume a hot drink while reading.

The Court hearing will be reconvened on the 17th June just two weeks AFTER the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal meets to decide what THEY are going to do with Andrew Crossley

In Crossleys own words “Exciting times”

ACS:LAW – A Brief History of Speculative Invoicing

February 13, 2011 6 comments

The hearing regarding ACS:LAW and Media C.A.T has now been well covered.  My own personal favourite moments from Judge Birss  are at the foot of this article.

The reason for this post though is that it seems we have forgotten those OTHER people involved with all this over the last THREE years now.

I would like to show those who are only just reading up about all this, the bigger picture.

Davenport Lyons were the original Law firm (2007), who gave over a lot of their material and clients, to ACS:LAW (May 2009) including a number of the paralegals,  amongst them Terence Tsang.  Davenport Lyons were investigated by the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) and referred  to the SDT (Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal) [2] [3]

ACS:LAW represented Games, Music and Pornographic films, and started sending letters out  “en masse”

Tilly Bailey Irvine were up next (January 2010) and for a few months sent out letters defending Pornographic films, Although the films were legal in the sense they were certificated, the actual names of these films were VERY provocative and one could only imagine the distress caused to the Wife or indeed Husband who opened one of those letters.

Tilly Bailey Irvine withdrew citing “Adverse publicity” (April 2010) [2] not before being condemned in the House of Lords as “Latest entrants to the hall of infamy” and “An embarrassment to the creative industries” and also being accused by Wikipedia of “Vandalising” their entry.

In a wider attack by the Lords during the Digital Economy Bill, the actions of these “Piracy Chasers” was condemned as “Blackmail and a Scam”

Gallant Macmillan entered the fray defending The Ministry of Sound in July 2010With the online community outraged at yet another “Speculative invoice” entering the scene, letters started being sent to the Chief Master who issued the NPO’s that forced ISP’s to hand over details of their subscribers.

The “Anonymous DDos attacks on ACS:LAW brought down their website in September 2010 and then ACS:LAW accidently released a HUGE email archive online which was quickly snatched and posted to torrent sites, The contents of the emails were explosive.

The huge data leak gave added impetus to the Courts handing out the NPOs and a hearing was adjourned [2].  When it was reconvened BT/Plusnet refused to hand over their subscribers data and then it was learnt that BT had destroyed the records it held for Gallant Macmillan.  Gallant Macmilan were subject to DDos attacks.

Gallant Macmillan withdrew after BT destroyed the data they requested after a delay in obtaining a “norwich pharmacal” order, they deemed they could not make enough money out of the scheme to make it worth their while.

ACS:LAW just kept ploughing on though, using Logistep first as a “Data monitor” then Digiprotect, and then an obscure firm called NG3Systems.

After the DDos attack that destroyed their web presence it was thought that that would be the end of them.  They continued issuing letters however with  Media C.A.T who represented Pornographers Sheptonhurst amongst others.  ACS:LAW were investigated by the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) and referred  to the SDT (Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal)

Forced into a corner of ”put up or shut up” after claims he would never take a case to court, Crossley attempted a Court hearing against some recipients who had NOT responded, what is known as a “Default Judgement” It failed on an epic scale.

Some of those accused actually sent in a response and a defence and the hearing ended in disarray as the Judge ordered a search for all other cases on the Court system. He found 27 of them and arranged for a Court hearing to work out what direction should be taken.

With the Community totally focused against them and watching every move they made, it became clear that  ACS:LAW/Media C.A.T were desperate, to drop all the cases. The Judge refused adjourned the hearing and set a new date for January 2011 [2]

A new letter went out from a company called GCB Ltd, the community smelt a rat and rightly so. According to the Judge it was an attempt by Crossley and Bowden to get the last bits of money they could.

For the rest read the judgment online.  My favourite parts are below, and show what we knew all along, it was a Scam of epic proportions.

Media CAT and ACS:Law have a very real interest in avoiding public scrutiny of the cause of action because in parallel to the 26 court cases, a wholesale letter writing campaign is being conducted from which revenues are being generated. This letter writing exercise is founded on the threat of legal proceedings such as the claims before this court.

The information annexed to Mr Batstone’s letter refers to ACS:Law having “recovered” £1 Million. Whether that was right and even if so whether it was solely in relation to Media CAT or other file sharing cases I do not know. Simple arithmetic shows that the sums involved in the Media CAT exercise must be considerable. 10,000 letters for Media CAT claiming £495 each would still generate about £1 Million if 80% of the recipients refused to pay and only the 20% remainder did so. Note that ACS:Law’s interest is specifically mentioned in the previous paragraph because of course they receive 65% of the revenues from the letter writing exercise. In fact Media CAT’s financial interest is actually much less than that of ACS:Law. Whether it was intended to or not, I cannot imagine a system better designed to create disincentives to test the issues in court. Why take cases to court and test the assertions when one can just write more letters and collect payments from a proportion of the recipients?

Friday 09 April 2010 by Andrew J Crossley (My clients are pleased with the service I provide. I have conducted file sharing-related work for 11 months; to date I have recovered close to £1m for my clients.)

The GCB episode is damning in my judgment. This shows that Media CAT is a party who, while coming to court to discontinue, is at the very same time trying to ram home claims formulated on exactly the same basis away from the gaze of the court. That will not do. I find that these notices of discontinuance are indeed an abuse of the court’s process. The advantage of discontinuing as opposed to applying to amend is unwarranted in that it avoids judicial scrutiny of the underlying basis for wider campaign orchestrated by Media CAT and ACS:Law to generate revenue under the various agreements such as the Sheptonhurst agreement.

 One might think a claimant (and their legal adviser) who was giving their claim serious further consideration before perhaps starting it afresh in a different form or dropping it altogether, would certainly not assert the very same claim against other people not (yet) before the court. The GCB episode shows that Mr Crossley’s client had every intention of doing precisely that and that ACS:Law were perfectly well aware of it. It is very difficult not to draw the inference that this was nothing more than a last ditch attempt to make some money from the letter writing exercise.

And maybe the most damning part with implications for the Digital Economy Bill,  that an IP address alone; “cannot and does not purport to identify the individual who actually did anything.”

Just listened to the “BBC RADIO 5 Investigates” Program Good effort on their part. 30 minutes dedicated to this issue.

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