So this morning I found myself sitting on the Tube once again, this time in the rush
hour surrounded by fellow commuters, with a repeat performance of the previous day’s
encounter highly unlikely. For one thing,
the carriage was packed, leaving no room for self-defence demonstrations, and in any
case, I reckoned that Mr Rastaman probably didn’t keep office hours.
A shame really, it would have brightened up the journey. So
many people heading for another dull day at the office or the shop counter. At
least the Rastaman didn’t have that to worry about. The
daily grind has probably killed more people than machete wielding assassins from
, though I’d take my chances with the former rather than the latter any day. Hats
off to you, Mr Rastaman. I would have
required a change of underwear rather than a change of bandages.
And so, having pondered on the implications of what had happened to Mr Rastaman, and
his alternative fate if he had not been prepared to literally fight for his life,
my mental idling has turned to a ‘meaning of life’ sort of question that I posed to
I consider that I have been very lucky. Up
against Renault, a giant multi-national corporation, and its fancy lawyers, barrister Andrew
Bruce of Serle Court Chambers and solicitor Paul Kite of
IBB Law. Yet in the fight of my life I have won, or at least I have won on a
‘first-past-the-post’ basis, though if there is a Stewards’ Enquiry I might see the
whole thing overturned and someone else heading into the Winner’s Enclosure. I
don’t know why I’m thinking of it as a horse-racing analogy, but I guess it works.
But I wonder what I would do at today’s Judgement Hearing if I was in the position
of Renault employees Toby Johnstone, Carolyn
Sample or Steve Wilson? Facing
up to a High Court Judge who has pretty much decimated their evidence and perhaps
even induced terminal career blight for each of them will be excruciating. OK, my
outlook isn’t exactly rosy, but at least no one has put my evidence through the wringer
in the way that theirs has been, with the consequent implications for their personal
But the more I think about it, the more I conclude that all they have been doing is
what I had been doing when I sold the cars.
Just earning a living, making my way in the world. And
so, with that in mind, what should I say to His Lordship when I am called to speak
on the subject of costs, as I will have to, appearing in person at the Hearing?
Despite the sardine can scenario on the Tube this morning, with a bit of juggling
I can probably reach down to my briefcase and fish out the notebook that I used for
my scribblings at the Trial.
Let’s see what I can come up with as my piece on the affair. I started to write.
This case was founded on greed and mischief. The
Claimant could have walked away from this entire matter 18 months ago, banked the
profits it undoubtedly made selling each car and moved on. Instead
it tried to recoup its stake and make an example of me. It
chose to pursue a vindictive and unnecessary Claim to protect the careers of the people
Doubtless right now the Claimant will be looking at the ramifications of the Judgement
for the people involved. I would ask
them to do so sympathetically. They were
just people doing a job. Earning a living
and paying their way.
Two individuals have already had their careers blighted by this matter at the Claimants
and 3 others have had their judgement placed under the microscope in this case.
I’ve lost my house, my business and my professional reputation. But
I still wouldn’t want any one of the Claimant’s employees to go through what I have.
As far as my costs go, I have incurred a few train tickets and bus fares and that’s
it. The rest of the costs have been incurred
by my company and Counsel for FleetPro will deal with them. So
for my own part I do not seek any costs from the Claimant. Let
that be an end to the matter.
Thank you, Your Lordship.’
That should be enough, I think, to convey that I believe we should draw a line under
the proceedings and move on. No need
to forgive, just to forget. I wonder
what Toby Johnstone, Carolyn
Sample and Steve Wilson will make of that,
not to mention Renault's in-house lawyer and Company Secretary Simon Tippet? Ah
well, the Underground train is pulling into
station, my stop for the High Court. Time
to head for the Court and the morning’s main event.
The Judgement Hearing will be held in an entirely different Courtroom to the Trial,
on completely the other side of the Royal Courts of Justice. After
clearing security I’ve headed off in the direction of the Courtroom, but somehow I’ve
walked round in a complete circle, following what I thought were the signs for Court
62, but which have mysteriously led me back to exactly where I had started. But
now I can see Nick Taylor, my solicitor, and as two heads are better than one, hopefully
we can find our way to the Courtroom.
As so, as we wait for the Clerk of the Court to let us in to Court 62 I wonder what
the Renault team are going through. Each
one of them knows that the Hearing will be my vindication and not theirs, completely
the opposite of what they had expected, I’m sure, and not the outcome upon which they
had been prepared to squander their integrity.
And then, as we file into the Courtroom, there is something seriously wrong. Our
team is there in full strength, my superb barrister Laura John, backed up by stalwart
solicitor Nick Taylor and his assistant Karina Leckman. But
Renault's barrister Andrew Bruce of Serle Court Chambers
has walked in with only solicitor Paul Kite from IB Law;
there’s no Toby Johnstone, no Carolyn
Sample, no Steve Wilson. Not even a
show by Simon Tippet, who presumably masterminded the legal proceedings
from within Renault. There's actually no
one from Renault at all.
But now it’s dawned on me. Presumably
they thought that by not turning up they would avoid any further direct personal criticism
from His Lordship and perform a final act of defiance by denying me the opportunity
to gloat, when gloating is in fact the last thing on my mind.
Grrrrrrrr. What pathetic, miserable,
contemptible cowardice. Just exactly
what kind of mealy-mouthed, weasel-worded message do they think they are sending to
me by not attending? Those thoughts I
had about them on the Tube? The words
that I had written? The plea to Renault? Sod
it all and sod them.
Where’s that bloody notebook? Time to edit my
speech. I’m going to delete my plea to Renault to spare the miserable
hides of Toby Johnstone, Carolyn
Sample and Steve Wilson. Instead,
I’m just going to savour the Hearing and listen to His Lordship deliver the Judgement,
though on that front things are starting innocently enough - each side has acknowledged
the Judgement and now barrister Andrew Bruce is up
as it’s his turn to launch Renault’s application for an Appeal against the decision.
Whoa! Andrew Bruce has clearly never
heard of 'The Spade Rule'. Remember The
Spade Rule? When you are in a hole, stop
digging! Well, despite being on the losing
side, and therefore somewhat beholding to His Lordship for the next stage of events,
Mr Bruce is going like a human JCB, calling into question His Lordship’s ability to
interpret the facts of the case, to understand the law on damages flowing from fraudulent
misrepresentation and to keep himself up with the emerging application of an ‘account
of profits’ as a form of remedy in the field of damages.
Bloody hell, Mr Bruce, you couldn’t be less diplomatic in pleading your case if you
had impugned the honour of His Lordship’s mother. Not
only that, but Andrew Bruce appears to be the
only one in the Courtroom who looks surprised now that His Lordship has just denied
his client leave to appeal.
But undeterred, Andrew Bruce is trying again. His
client will go direct to the Court of Appeal since His Lordship won’t grant an appeal.
And by the way, can he please have some extra time to do it as he wants to obtain
a transcript of Carolyn Sample’s testimony on the
witness stand? Apparently it’s something
to do with her ‘state of mind’. For a
brief moment he seems to be suggesting that Carolyn Sample,
one of Renault's key witnesses, is a nutcase. Wait
a minute. Ah, I see, he reckons that,
rather than having turned a blind eye to what was going on, Carolyn was actually negligent
in not doing her job properly.
Bloody Hell! No wonder Carolyn
Sample hasn’t turned up. Would you
want to sit in a Courtroom and listen to your employer’s lawyer plead that you were
negligent in your job as an excuse for an appeal in a failed one million pound law
His Lordship wants to know if I have any objections to extending the time limit for
Renault to appeal direct to the Court of Appeal. Normally
it would be 21 days, but Mr Bruce has asked for another 14 days to allow for the time
to have Carolyn Sample’s testimony transcribed so
it can be scrutinised in detail for evidence of her ‘state of mind’. Boy,
Renault must be thinking of doing a real hatchet job on Carolyn if it wants all that
detail and extra time.
Well, under Court rules we will have to be provided with a copy of the transcript
and the Appeal document in which Renault will trash Carolyn’s Sample's personal reputation
and presumably deliver her up as an extremely negligent employee. So
I’m more than happy for Renault to take as long as it needs.
I have to say though, that if Renault is going to allege negligence on the part of
Carolyn then it will have to be prepared to do a really nasty hatchet job. Leaving
aside the quirks of the BALPA Affair, Carolyn has always struck me as a very competent
‘belt and braces’ type who wouldn’t make mistakes through negligence, even if she
had deliberately turned a blind eye to the BALPA shenanigans.