Keighley town councillor Sam Fletcher, well known for #FletcherGate and frankly talking about his ideas on sex, has decided to threaten to sue #ThingsElliottSays for Libel. However, he is a very foolish person because he doesn't fully realise the consequences of what he has done. He could be sued instead.
Recently #ThingsElliottSays published a story about Cllr Sam Fletcher on more of his odd ideas about sex. Gareth Shanks, someone who is an acquittance of Fletcher but certainly not his friend, had publish on Twitter a print screen of a conversion he had had with Sam Fletcher. This is the tweet:
UKIP's very own Councillor Sam Fletcher strikes again pic.twitter.com/5Pkc2adR25
— Bladshevik (@WeAreTheClash) July 27, 2014
#ThingsElliottSays saw Cllr Fletcher's comments in this conversation and thought them very amusing considering his past history of public sexual comments he made during #FletcherGate. I think there is a public interest for the people, especially Cllr Fletcher's constituents, to know that he is firstly continuing to make these sexual comments and secondly for people to think whether he is fit to be a councillor. The hilariousness of Sam Fletcher's comments are funny because he is a councillor and should not be doing these sort of things.
However, Cllr Fletcher has not taken this article well. He has posted on my blog two comments about the article (you can read them in full here). Importantly Cllr Fletcher says that the print-screened comments were "not a public Facebook status, Twitter or blog post or whatever. It is in fact a screenshot of a private message between myself and an acquaintance." The message was put up on Twitter, which is regarded legally speaking as completely public, #ThingsElliottSays thus has every right to publish the comments.
Cllr Fletcher persisted to makes these comments again and said "this was a PRIVATE Facebook message and yet you are claiming it was a public post. Face it, you have no legitimacy on this one as it was truly a private conversation with a Facebook friend. It's not on my Facebook profile. You are picking up where the News Of The World left off in terms of disreputable journalism and methods of obtaining information."
#ThingsElliottSays repeats what he has said above about Twitter being public. If Cllr Fletcher did not want these comments to be made public he should have not said them or not said them to his friend. #ThingsElliottSays was perfectly entitled to post this story and did not break any laws. #ThingsElliottSays is a respectable and responsible Blogger.
But Cllr Fletcher would not stop. He then posted this publicly on Facebook.
#ThingsElliottSays has no idea how Cllr Fletcher believes my article was libellous. They were his comments!
Furthermore, as somewhat of a finale to Cllr Fletcher's actions, #ThingsElliottSays has heard from a number of reliable sources that Sam Fletcher has been hinting heavily to them that he and YI will threaten to sue #ThingsElliottSays over his recent article. I do hope this is not the case although #ThingsElliottSays has no reason to doubt his sources.
#ThingsElliottSays thinks Cllr Fletcher has been very foolish. #ThingsElliottSays believes that Cllr Fletcher should not have strongly inferred this blog is using illegal and disreputable practices by saying "You are picking up where the News Of The World left off in terms of disreputable journalism and methods of obtaining information." #ThingsElliottSays has proven his blogging is totally correct and legitimate. #ThingsElliottSays also believes that Fletcher should not have strongly inferred that his blog is libellous when saying " 'ThingsElliotSays' is heading the same way as a certain other Tory blog I can think of - getting done for libel." #ThingsElliottSays thinks this is what is really libellous.
In McAlpine v Bercow, Lord McAlpine won damages against Sally Bercow for inferring he was a child abuser publicly on Twitter by tweeting "Why is Lord McAlpine trending? *innocent face*". This land mark ruling amongst other things set a precedent in the law for social media and strongly inferring libellous statements. In #ThingsElliottSays' opinion Cllr Fletcher is likely to have been libellous against him.
#ThingsElliottSays could go straight to his solicitor to gauge what to do next. There could be quite a strong case and he knows some very good lawyers. There is certainly a strong case to report Cllr Fletcher to his standards board and also to UKIP central office. This is regardless of Fletcher's own legal threats but based on what he has publicly said.