Groucho Club vs Tyrone D Murphy

August 28th, 2009 § 6 comments

After a few days of trying to find out anything concrete from an independent source, it is here, by Judith Townend

The Groucho Club is to take libel action against an author of a book not yet published to prevent publication of allegations about the famous media haunt, Index on Censorship and can report.

In October, a case management conference will take place at the Queen’s Bench division of the UK High Court to decide future progress of the case, Kapital Ventures and the Groucho Club London v Tyrone D Murphy and Classic Media Entertainment. The claimants expect to recover in excess of £15,000, it is stated in the claim form.

Previous to this, and the same on Index on Censorship, all that turned up in searches were comments almost exactly like the one left on my blog, press releases on free-press-release websites and a small blog by the author of the comments. Nothing authoritative or independent. Matt Wardman, who also had a comment left on his blog, tried contacting the Groucho Club directly, but they didn’t feel too chatty.

As Matt points out in his more comprehensive post on the matter, there is a precedent for this, Where solicitors Schillings acting on behalf of mercenary Colonel Tim Spicer tried to get an injunction on one of Craig Murrays’ books.

I was wary about this when brought to my attention as the manner of it looked like either a scam (that I hadn’t worked out the hook) or a ham-fisted attempt at promoting a book by an internet naive PR company. There may be an element of the latter, but it doesn’t seem that way now. At least not a scam anyway.

It seems, once again, that thanks to our archaic libel laws mean free speech is going to be either suppressed without proper chance of being proved correct or come at an enormous price, where the lawyers win.

We await more details.

For more information see:



  1. I don’t doubt that this libel case is real, not for a minute, but there are a couple of things that play on my mind:

    The author. On it states…

    The authors are currently seeking information to include in the book

    but then further down lists Tyrone D Murphy as the sole author. That’s a pretty basic mistake that isn’t just a spelling mistake but makes the statement inaccurate.
    In a post on his blog EF Orwell states that he is the author. Although he doesn’t mention the book or club by name, it is obvious that that is what he is talking about with the other information that we know. That’s not the usual thing to do is it? Would that get more help?

  2. has the registrant recorded as ‘g-book’. The registrant of a domain has to be a proper, real person. Who is this site really registered to? Why have they obscured themselves? What have they to hide?
  3. Who’s the anonymous Wikipedia editor

Some answers are needed, even if only to clear things up.

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§ 6 Responses to Groucho Club vs Tyrone D Murphy"

  • Hi
    I am the author, Tyrone D Murphy, you did write to me asking for court documents, sorry I could not oblige as the documents contain information central to the libel case. However Judith Townsend got the documents from the court directly

    E F Orwell is not the author of the Groucho Gate Affair and certainly does not have my permission to use my name anywhere

    The domain name is registered to me.

    The wiki listing is mine

    I have been trying to gain support for this case and not to promote the book. This is free speech issue and an uphill struggle. I am litigant in person by circumstances and not by choice as the claimants costs are now in excess of £80,000. This case will run in millions, millions I cannot afford to pay.

    My e mail is, just drop me a line if you need any further information and I will be glad to help

    Tyrone D Murphy

  • Matt Wardman says:

    The link you mention is to one of the “self-publish PR sites”. In Wikipedia terms that is not an acceptable source, and to create a press release and link to it yourself would be unethical. But we don’t know who did the Wiki edits.

    However, If you trace the Wikipedia angle a bit further:

    You’ll see that the same IP address has also added edits to Wikipedia promoting a previous Tryone D Murphy film about Frankie Fraser, and also a cackhanded edit (which forgot to include a link) about an alleged Human Rights newsletter “Article 10” which appears on Mr Murphy’s cv but seems to be quite a recent appearance. There’s a small blog about that around somewhere too.

    I think that most of this is a relatively cack-handed PR campaign, which – as you say – does not detract from a Libel case which clearly exists and a possible attempt to establish a new precedent in Law, but we are clearly right to want hard evidence for everything.

    And it suggests that somebody in here somewhere is a bit of a PR wide-boy !

  • Perhaps it should be made clear to anyone who wishes to learn more about this case how difficult it can be in trying to raise the profile for this case. The Groucho Club is a very powerful media club who are owned by a billion pound corporation. Such a company using the UK draconian libel laws can keep any story out of the headlines with the threat of costs indefinitely. In the Groucho V Murphy case the Groucho Club claim that their costs to date are over £80,000. The case has not had a hearing yet

    The Groucho V Murphy libel case has been around for quite some time. Many of the most respected journalists in the country have been contacted directly about this case, yet no one is interested in running the story. Does this mean that the Groucho Club have influence over the media or perhaps the media are not in the slightest bit concerned about a case where action is being taken against a writer for what could be written? Perhaps this is the ultimate Orwellian experience and a sign of things to come.

    Let me give a clear example by including some of the information from one of the chapters in the book, The Groucho Gate Affair.

    In February 2007 it was alleged that a vicious rape took place in an upstairs hallway in the Groucho Club. Now the bloggers who fancy themselves as sleuths should try finding any substantial information or articles about this rape, there is a couple. Perhaps one can then understand how hard it is to gain any support whatsoever or raise the profile for a libel case where the odds are not only stacked immeasurably against the writer, but the claimants in the case have considerable influence over some of the media, many of whom are their clientele.

    I hope you are now getting to grips with this case and what it means to be subject to such a draconian libel action. In view of this are the efforts made to date an attempt at raising the profile of a case where the writer is bound to loose or in the words of a blogger, a PR wide-boy conducting a cack-handed PR campaign?

    What other options could be open to a writer, perhaps you have a better idea

  • Matt Wardman says:

    Just to make it clear, my previous comment here was made in response to the article not the Tyrone D Murphy comment.

    Tyrone – I’m not hostile to your case, and I definitely agree that pre-publication Attempted Injunctions are BAD.

    I’ve had extensive correspondence with E F Orwell about how to raise the case. Essentially, ask blogger via contact forms rather than via comments on not-directly-related articles.

    I’d certainly listen to you and treat the case itself as a story (as I have done now that I have found enough hard information to report).

    The problem is that comments and links on wikipedia are standard techniques for edgy PR campaigns trying to puff anything and manipulate us, and they make us very annoyed – which means you have started with a sceptical not sympathetic audience.

    I’ve pointed out an approximate precedent, including reproducing the relevant C&D letter.

    My piece lnked by Simo is currently 4th on Google for a search on “Groucho Club”, so – yes – I am doing my best.

    This should now get slow but steady coverage.


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  • leanne Newman says:

    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.

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