Exhibit 53

LEGAL CORRESPONDENCE – DG LIBEL ACTION AGAINST PETER RISDON

Peter Risdon
3 Townsend
Soham
Ely
Cambs
CB7 5DD                                                                          6 December 2007
                                                                                       Our ref: 1100.2

 

By Email TO:

prisdon@gmail.com & By Post

Dear Sirs

We have been instructed by Darius Guppy in connection with material published on your web site, http://freebornjohn.blogspot.com/.

We note that you have alleged that our client recently paid someone to pour paint stripper over your Land Rover and then telephoned to claim responsibility in an unconvincing Irish accent.

Our client has nothing to do with any damage that may have been caused to your car.   We invite to let us know upon the evidence upon which you rely to support such an allegation.

We also put you on notice that your blog contains a number of other false allegations including that our client paid “heavies” to intimidate you while you were a prosecution witness.  We accept that over 10 years ago our client wrote a book about the criminal trial in which he was critical of you.  However, that is not a license for you now to publish utterly false and defamatory allegations about his conduct at the time.

The same applies to your threat to publish various recordings of telephone conversations involving our client and others that you made at the time, which constitute an offence under the relevant telecommunications legislation. Furthermore, your contingent threat to publish such material, itself, amounts to a criminal act.  Please let us know your intentions in this regard.

We look forward to hearing from you within 14 days.  In the meantime our client’s rights are fully reserved.

In the meantime, please confirm that you will ensure that all documents which may be relevant to this matter will be kept safely.  These should include notes, recordings, research materials and all electronic records relating to your web site.

Yours faithfully

David Price Solicitors & Advocates

 

 

From: Peter Risdon [mailto:prisdon@gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, December 09, 2007 20:01
To: dprice@lawyers-media.com
Subject:
Re: Darius Guppy

Dear Mr Price,

I acknowledge receipt of your email and letter and will respond in due course.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Risdon.

 

 

From: Peter Risdon [mailto:prisdon@gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, December 18, 2007 11:19
To: dprice@lawyers-media.com
Subject:
Re: Darius Guppy

Dear Mr Price,

Ref: Darius Guppy

An illness has forced me to cancel an appointment with my lawyers today. I shall reschedule as soon as I am well and will respond properly to your letter as soon as that meeting has taken place. If that cannot happen before Christmas, I will reply in the first week of the New Year.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Risdon.

 

 

From: David Price [mailto:dprice@lawyers-media.com]
Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2007 11:32
To: 'Peter Risdon'
Subject:
RE: Darius Guppy

Dear Mr Risdon, I trust that I will receive a response by the end of the first week of the New Year, at the latest.  I note that the material remains on your site. Yours sincerely, David Price.

 

 

From: Peter Risdon [mailto:prisdon@gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2007 15:34
To: dprice@lawyers-media.com
Subject:
Re: Darius Guppy

Dear Mr Price,

Yes you will hear from me within that time frame. I will be discussing what steps to take with respect to the online material when I meet my lawyers but note for the present that your original letter did not request that it be taken down.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Risdon.

 

 

From: David Price [mailto:dprice@lawyers-media.com]
Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2007 16:52
To: 'Peter Risdon'
Subject:
RE: Darius Guppy

Dear Mr Risdon, I stated that my client's rights are reserved and I remind you that you are legally responsible for the continuing publication of these allegations.  Yours sincerely, David Price

 

Letter1

 

From: David Price [mailto:dprice@lawyers-media.com]
Sent: Tuesday, January 08, 2008 11:00
To: 'James Quartermaine'
Subject: RE: Darius Guppy
 
Dear James
 
My letter to your client asked for the evidence upon which your client
relied to allege (falsely) that my client had paid someone to pour paint
stripper on his car.  In your recent letter you merely state that your
client recognised my client's voice.
 
It is noteworthy that on his web site your client stated the following:-
"Anyway, despite being number-withheld and from a pay as you go mobile, the
call was successfully traced by BT's nuisance calls department, and the
police conducted an investigation. They didn't feel a case of criminal
damage warranted a trip to South Africa."
The clear inference is that the BT trace and the police investigation proved
that my client was behind the call.
 
Please provide details of the "successful trace" and the police
investigation including the number and location to which it was traced and
the name of the person dealing with the matter at BT and the investigating
police officer.

I note that you say that your client has no "present" intention of
publishing the recordings and you do not deny that the recordings were made
in breach of the relevant telecommunications legislation.  There can be no
basis on which your client can be entitled to publish the recordings at any
time in the future.  Please let me know whether he is prepared to give an
undertaking to this effect and if not, why not.
 
I look forward to hearing from you.  In the meantime, my clients rights
remain fully reserved. 
 
Regards
David
 

Letter2

 

From: David Price [mailto:dprice@lawyers-media.com]
Sent: 07 March 2008 13:13
To: 'James Quartermaine'
Subject: RE: Your message
 
James, I was calling to check whether you were still acting for Mr Risdon.
 
I now have instructions to commence proceedings unless your client agrees not to continue publishing the allegation that my client paid someone to pour paint stripper over your client's Land Rover and then telephoned to claim responsibility.  In addition, as a result of your client's recent obfuscation, a nominal donation to charity of my client's choice will also be required.
 
I am mystified by the suggestion that my client does not deny telephoning to accept responsibility. That is self-evident from my original letter. But for the avoidance of any doubt, my client denies having any responsibility for any damage caused to your client's car and also denies having claimed such responsibility.
 
This allegation is clearly an invention on the part of your client.  If it was not, we would have been provided with the evidence of the "successful call trace" and details of the police investigation.
 
The material that your client has published since my letter - see
http://freebornjohn.blogspot.com/2008/01/libel-news.html - simply digs him into a deeper hole.
 
Please let me know the position and whether you are instructed to accept service.
 
Regards
David
 

 

From: James Quartermaine [mailto:james.quartermaine@charlesrussell.co.uk]
Sent: 18 March 2008 13:25
To: David Price
Subject: RE: Your message
 
David,
 
I spoke to Mr Risdon yesterday and I can confirm that we have
instructions to act for him. I now expect to be in a position to provide
you with a substantive response to your e-mail shortly. Mr Risdon notes
that your client denies " having claimed responsibility" for the paint
stripper attack, but so that there is no room at all for any
misunderstanding is Mr Guppy also denying that he made a telephone call
to Mr Risdon on 6 March 2007? Hopefully you will be able to confirm this
by return of e-mail and I can then finalise my instructions.
 
Regards,  James   

From: David Price [mailto:dprice@lawyers-media.com]
Sent: 18 March 2008 14:22
To: 'James Quartermaine'
Subject: RE: Your message
 
James, I think you can presume this to be the case, but I will verify the position with my client and come back to you.  Regards, David

 

 

From: David Price [mailto:dprice@lawyers-media.com]
Sent: 19 March 2008 09:47
To: 'James Quartermaine'
Subject: RE: Your message
 
James, my client did not make a telephone call to your client on 6 March 2007.  I look forward to hearing from you.  Regards, David.

 

 

There follows a letter from Peter Risdon’s lawyers dated 20th March which cannot be published because it was written ‘without prejudice’. Its contents can be inferred by DG’s solicitors’ letters which all remain open.

Effectively, Risdon has climbed down very quickly.

 

 

From: David Price [mailto:dprice@lawyers-media.com]
Sent: 01 April 2008 14:41
To: 'James Quartermaine'
Subject: RE: Darius Guppy
 
James, I have been away for the past 2 weeks, so have not been able to
respond sooner.  I meant what I said in my open email.  If your client wants
to resolve this he must undertake not to repeat the allegations complained
of and make a donation to a charity of my client's choice.
 
I do not understand what you mean about time and expense.  It would appear
from your client's postings that he already has the evidence to "prove" my
client made the call.
 
Please let me know within 7 days whether we have a deal failing which
proceedings will be issued.
 
Regards
David

 

 

From: James Quartermaine [mailto:james.quartermaine@charlesrussell.co.uk]
Sent: 04 April 2008 18:34
To: David Price
Subject: RE: Darius Guppy
 
David,
 
It has now been my turn to be away from my desk (off sick, alas, not on
holiday). I will take instructions and get back to you next week.
 
James

 

 

From: David Price [mailto:dprice@lawyers-media.com]
Sent: 07 April 2008 14:02
To: 'James Quartermaine'
Subject: RE: Darius Guppy
 
Ok, hope you are feeling better.  Look forward to hearing from you this
week.  A simple yes or no will suffice. D

 

 

There follows a letter from Peter Risdon’s lawyers dated 9th April which cannot be published because it was written ‘without prejudice’. DG’s solicitors’ letters all remain open.

At this point Risdon confirms his capitulation.

He:

Removes the offending postings
Undertakes not to repeat the allegations contained therein
Makes a donation to a cancer charity of DG’s choice.

He picked a fight and lost.

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COMMENTS ON LEGAL CORRESPONDENCE – DG LIBEL ACTION AGAINST PETER RISDON.

Reference should be made to Exhibit 52 towards the end, where Risdon first suggests that he had consulted lawyers about suing DG for libel upon the publication of his book ‘Roll the Dice.’

The relevant passage is as follows:
“…But when I (Peter Risdon) did chat with m'learned friend two obvious problems were pointed out.
First, in order to bring a defamation action I'd have to prove this is Guppy…
…Secondly, and more importantly in a way, since Guppy is known to have placed all his assets in his wife's name, there's no prospect even of recovering costs in the event of a successful action.
That does, of course, leave Blake Publishing. There's a limitation of seven years in libel cases (and no-win-no-fee libel arrangements weren't in place when the libels were originally made), so I immediately have problems.
Since making this comment, though, another problem has arisen. I've had to think through my attitude to libel actions and the internet because of two anti-libel-law campaigns I took part in (Usmanov and homoeopathy). I confess I'm now uncomfortable about the idea of initiating libel action.”
In short, classic Risdon hot air.
Below is the obvious riposte that was made:
 “…so strong was Risdon’s case against Blake Publishing that he waited over 10 years to seek legal advice only to discover that he’d missed the boat as far a libel claim was concerned!
…So here are some simple answers regarding Risdon’s latest excuses … to consider:

  • Blake Publishing will have had a team of lawyers scrutinising every allegation that DG made about Risdon in his book before allowing them to be published.
  • Having seen the evidence for themselves and having done their own due diligence they will have advised Blake’s that those allegations were truthful and that Risdon wouldn’t have a leg to stand on in the event of any action being brought by him.
  • Since Blake’s have strong relationships with many of the newspapers that Risdon sought to peddle his story to, their impression of Risdon will simply have been reinforced by what those newspapers had to say about him.
  • The real reason, therefore, that Risdon didn’t sue Blake’s was not because of his cunning plan to delay consulting a solicitor until over 10 years after the event by which time it would be too late, but because he knew the allegations were true.
  • Finally, he also knew that any action brought by him would only open up a whole can of worms about his shady past.

So, here’s another challenge for him which we suspect he’ll avoid as with all the other challenges that have been put to him.
He writes that he sought and obtained legal advice. Good. In that case there will be some evidence of this. Either email correspondence, solicitors’ letters, an opinion from Counsel and so on. So let’s see this evidence.” (End of quotation from
Exhibit 52)

Needless to say, and as always with Peter Risdon, when he is challenged to come up with evidence to support his ludicrous suggestions, we are met with silence.
Notice the contrast with DG.
So angry had Peter Risdon become because of his increasing exposure as a petty criminal and grass on the internet that he fell into the trap of making allegations against DG so ludicrous and so easily provable as lies that he opened himself up beautifully for a libel action against him.
In this way he created a page on his Freeborn John website entitled ‘Darius Guppy.’
On that page he made a number of self-evidently ridiculous assertions. These included, inter alia that:
-he had a photograph of DG emerging from his house on the morning of his arrest wearing sunglasses, despite the fact that the arrest had occurred in the early hours of the morning when it was dark and that there was no record of these sunglasses in the custody records. (And indeed, if such an allegation had been true it could only have been the result of being tipped off about the timing and location by the police in advance of DG’s arrest, while still a suspect himself. Needless to say, this would lend substantial credence to DG and BM’s defence team’s argument that the relationship between the officers of the South East Regional Crime Squad and their informer was entirely inappropriate).
-he had either tape recordings or notes of conversations between DG and BM made when they were talking to each other between their cells in French. Again, the claim is absurd because it is inconceivable that the police would allow suspects in a case to confer at the time that they were being kept in custody for questioning and, as one would expect, the record shows that they were kept separate at all times during their interrogation. (Again, if such an allegation had been true then it would add yet further credence to the argument about the police and their informer having a worryingly cosy relationship).
-he had further tape recordings of DG taken at the time that he had bugged his premises of a personal nature that would be embarrassing to DG. Indeed, Risdon threatened to publish these recordings if he became sufficiently “irritated” – ie. unless revelations concerning his past were stemmed.
Needless to say, when his bluff was called and he was challenged to produce either the photograph in question or the police’s notes of the supposed conversations between DG and BM or the transcripts of the personal telephone conversations that he had claimed to have obtained, Risdon produced the square root of nothing.
However, the most serious and easily actionable allegation made by Peter Risdon on the said web page was his claim that DG had hired heavies to trash his car with paint stripper and that DG had then called Risdon in person, though using an Irish accent, to claim responsibility.
Above all, he had the evidence to prove his claims in the form of a police investigation that had taken place and a British Telecom Nuisance Calls Department investigation that had “successfully traced” the purported phone call to DG.
There was no hot air on DG’s part, however.
He simply commenced libel proceedings and the relevant legal correspondence is produced in
Exhibit 53.
At first Peter Risdon assumed that other people would be like him – fantasists and bluffers.
To this end he posted a further page, this time entitled “libel news.”
In this page he repeated the original allegation, simply digging himself further into a hole and added a few more ridiculous assertions for good measure, notably that DG had even bugged the Prosecution’s rooms during his trial, a claim which, coming from him of all people, simply proves his capacity for hypocrisy and his detachment from reality.
In particular, however, he remained defiant.
Libel action or not, the allegations stand! He thundered.
The legal correspondence shows a somewhat less combative reality, however.
In short, in that correspondence Risdon is asked to provide the evidence he claimed to have against DG and, lacking such evidence and having been caught out lying yet again, Peter Risdon quickly capitulates.
He removes the offending webpages, undertakes not to repeat the allegations contained therein and pays a sum to a charity of DG’s choice.
One of the more interesting aspects concerning Risdon’s allegations against DG is the context in which he first makes them.
At the time, more and more facts about Peter Risdon’s less than heroic past are being revealed on the internet and the Prophet of Free Speech wants those he considers to be responsible silencing.
In his desperation he comes up with the paint stripper allegation.
Three possibilities strike one as most probable here. Either:
-the episode was completely fabricated by him
-the episode in question was in fact another ill-conceived attempt at an insurance fraud on his part and he decided to kill two birds with one stone by throwing in the allegation against DG
-the episode in question did indeed occur but the culprits were in fact the youths he originally claimed them to be (or others) and he simply saw in the occasion a good opportunity to put the blame on DG in an attempt to stem further revelations about his past, revelations he considered as emanating from DG.
Whatever the scenario, what is for certain is that he lied about possessing evidence that proved DG’s guilt, otherwise he would never have capitulated. He would have gone to court and produced the evidence in his defence. At the very least, the man who is hardly shy about posting things on the internet would have published the evidence on his own site.
Risdon’s comments at the time on the blog in question are revealing:
“And every one of these incidents, online and offline, is being logged as a complaint with the police.” (See
Exhibit 52)
Not surprisingly, Risdon’s instinctive, knee-jerk, automatic response is to run to the police. He is after all, used to such behaviour.
However, when we bear in mind that the episode in question or at least the blaming of it on DG, together with the ‘evidence’ against DG which Risdon claimed to possess, were in fact invented, then it becomes clear that Peter Risdon runs to the police not when he has a genuine reason to do so but as a device to make people who are simply telling the truth about him shut up.
It would appear that Freeborn John, the defender of the people’s right to freedom of expression, in fact has a big problem with freedom of expression if it involves telling the truth about him and is the first to run to Big Brother to prevent such expression.

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