I’ve just had this comment left that, after checking with Tyrone about it’s accuracy, deserves a post of it’s own…
Groucho –V- Murphy
The Groucho –V- Murphy case is now at an end as the Groucho Club pulled out at the very last minute. The Club issued a discontinuance notice on the 3rd November 2009.
This move came just 5 days after a manager from the Groucho Club came forward and made a statement to support Mr Murphy’s case. The lengthy and revealing statement with attached exhibits that included internal e mails and CCTV footage from the club was immediately lodged with the Courts. The manager’s damming statement totally refuted the Groucho Clubs statement of case. Murphy is now chasing the Groucho Club for his costs.
Another interesting development in this case is that the Groucho Club have issued a Bankruptcy petition against Murphy for costs of £5000 on the very same day they issued the discontinuance notice for the failed libel action which will allow Murphy to claim his costs which are over £50,000.
This raises some very serious questions about the Groucho Club’s tactics and overall conduct throughout the duration of this case. The Groucho Club would of course have know that Murphy is entitled to claim his costs (£50k) so why would they then would they make such a dubious move and issue a bankruptcy petition for a much lower amount of £5k . Was this nothing more than an underhanded tactic that was merely done to avoid paying Murphy’s costs in the failed libel action? If so, is this an abuse of the legal process? If not, what other possible reason or motive could the Groucho Club have to make such a dubious move?
There is yet another episode to this dark and lengthy saga – Murphy who at all times has represented himself as a litigant in person (LIP) had taken an action against the Groucho Club in a Wales County Court This was a Data Protection Act case, Murphy’s statement of case was that the Groucho Club had not complied with the Data Protection Act and failed to supply him with CCTV he requested from the evening of the 12th June 2008 . Murphy’s case also stated that the Groucho Club had more than 2 CCTV cameras at the Club on the evening and he was seeking the additional footage from these cameras
The Groucho Clubs position in the case was that they did supply Murphy with all of the footage he requested and that the club had only ever had 2 CCTV cameras, 1 camera in Dean Street and 1 camera in the reception. The Groucho Club stated they had complied with and adhered to the Data Protection Act and provided Murphy with footage in response to 2 separate subject access requests under the Data Protection Act.
Murphy also stated that the Groucho Club CCTV system was not registered with the Information Commissioners Office until a year later 25th June 2009 and any footage that was recorded before this time would have been recorded illegally. Murphy also stated that the CCTV system had no signage in place or a trained or licensed CCTV operator
The footage supplied by the Groucho to Murphy was alleged by the Groucho Club to be from the 2 CCTV cameras in the club, (1) Dean Street and (2) the main reception of the club. This was the Groucho Clubs official position for over a year and the same line was also stated by the Groucho Club in their statements before that were put before the Courts.
The Groucho Clubs Defence to particulars of Claim also stated clearly that the Groucho Club had only 2 CCTV cameras (1) Dean Street and (2) the main reception of the club and that they had supplied Murphy with the footage from those 2 CCTV cameras. In addition a solicitor within the firm of Devonshires, who represented the Groucho Club also stated to Murphy over and over again when he inspected the footage at the firms London offices, “this is the camera from (1) Dean Street and this is the camera (2) the main reception of the club”.
During the case Murphy lodged evidence with the courts that suggested that the footage supplied to him by Groucho club was not at all from the main Reception CCTV camera of the Groucho club but was footage from an obscure doorway at no 42 Dean Street, the other end of the building.
This is where the Groucho Club story changes; they put forward a new version of events that totally contradicted their earlier version. This new and different version that came very late in the case had now stated that the Groucho club did indeed have more cameras than the 2 CCTV cameras as Murphy had asserted, but they said that the 3rd camera was not working on the evening of the 12th June 2008, the footage from the night that Murphy had been seeking.
Murphy maintained throughout that he viewed himself on the CCTV monitor in the main reception of the Groucho Club on the 12th June 2008 and sought an explanation from the Groucho Club as to why he was supplied with footage from a CCTV camera from an obscure doorway at no 42 Dean Street instead of the footage from the CCTV camera in main reception. He did not get a satisfactory answer
Yet another twist in the case, Murphy had managed to procure the old CCTV system from the Groucho Club and he had brought it to the Court as evidence. This included the Video Recorder, Video tapes, a CCTV Switcher and the original CCTV cameras from the club. The CCTV system also included the CCTV camera from the main reception. This CCTV camera is still in good working order
Margaret Levin the managing director of the Groucho Club was in attendance in Newport along with a specialist barrister and a very expensive legal team. The court denied an application made by the Groucho legal team to dismiss Murphy’s case on the grounds it was totally without merit. Although Murphy did not succeed with his application he did however lodge crucial evidence with the Courts that will be used in another action that Murphy is planning against the Groucho Club
When the issue of costs was addressed the Groucho Club sought £21,000 in costs. In addition Margaret Levin the managing director was seeking first class rail tickets for her trip to sunny Newport, Murphy strongly objected to this and stated to the court that he, as a litigant in person and could not afford first class. It was during this stage of the proceedings that the managing director, Margaret Levin lost her temper and blew a fuse. She shouted to the Judge “Don’t be so bloody cheap”
Margaret Levin’s superior demeanour towards the Court and the proceedings was obvious to all who attended. Although they sought £21,000 in costs the Court answers was to award the Groucho the poultry sum of £220 in costs. This was a severe kick in the teeth for the Groucho Club as Margaret Levin’s haughtiness had now cost the Groucho Club dearly
I think what we all forget is that Murphy is one man, a litigant in person who has taken on a very powerful media club and its owner corporation, He has succeeded in the libel case where others have failed and has had he guts to see it through to the bitter end and never back off.