I have been considering whether an allegation of Attempting to Pervert the Court of
Justice can be brought against Councillor Maxine Fothergill. Her signed Statement to Kent
Police clearly says that she is liable to prosecution if she willfully stated
anything known to be false. Would someone labelled a liar in the High Court remain
entirely truthful when making her Statement?
You will note that the police interviewed Fothergill eleven days after they interviewed me.
Fothergill told the police that Bexley-is-Bonkers is an “anti Bexley Council
website and as Councillors we are told not to view the website. It is blocked on
computers in the Bexley Council building”.
“The first time Malcom (sic) Knight posted personally about me was on 8th December 2015.” That is not true, Bexley Council did not reveal which Councillor had been interviewed by its Code of Conduct Committee until 23rd December and the news was featured on Bonkers the same day, not before.
Fothergill went on to say “a hearing took place and it was determined that I was found not guilty”. A blatant lie.
Not content with that Fothergill told the police that the Bonkers’ reports “read that I had done something wrong” and “they were all about my personal business and my family”. As you will know, the initial reports merely reflected what was on Bexley Council’s website. They were not all about her business and there was no mention of her family whatsoever; the obvious reason being that I knew nothing of her family.
Fothergill complains that I “implied she was syphoning money out my clients for myself’. The blog to which she refers said that a cheque for £244,507 had been paid to Fothergill’s business and that her clients claimed that “they didn’t see much for their money” and had reported her to the police who had done absolutely nothing about their concerns.
Fothergill was secretly audio recorded admitting that she had lost her clients’ money and that recording refers to “about £100,000, it’s high” and “dishonesty from a member of staff or former member of staff”. A police investigation concluded that none of Fothergill’s staff had taken anything. They continued to look away when asked to investigate where the money had actually gone.
Fothergill told the police that she was reviewing Bonkers daily and “there were lies appearing on this website most days. I would be constantly worrying what people would think and what was going to appear on the website next”.
Strange that someone who phoned me within hours of posting news of her lost libel case and followed it with a solicitor’s letter made no attempt to contact me over these ‘daily lies’ in 2015. The first email ever from Fothergill was sent to me on 19th September 2017, three days after we met and reached an agreement about those 40 blogs.
“As a result of the stress I became very unwell and in January 2016 was taken into hospital as I was not eating and drinking properly. My kidneys were not functioning properly and as a result of this I spent a week being treated in hospital.”
A further claim was that Bonkers caused “a perforated bowel directly linked to stress”.
Leaving aside the fact that by January 2016 few blogs did more than report what Bexley Council had made public, the lady who escorted Fothergill to her private hospital came forward and told me exactly why Fothergill’s health was poor. Her problems were ‘eating and drinking’ related but predated any report on Bonkers. Fothergill had an elective procedure which need not be detailed here but nowhere on the web suggests that a perforated bowel can be attributed to stress. The lady hospital escort offered to be a witness to Fothergill’s lie in Court.
Fothergill claimed to be “suicidal”. Once again one must ask why she, or maybe her husband, made no attempt to contact me.
Fothergill complained that I had headlined her lost libel case with the words ‘The price of lying’. She told the police the libel case over her use of “wrong wording in two letters”. Bonkers had “insinuated” that she had been lying! The High Court proceedings did rather more than insinuate.
She said I “threatened to publish personal information about myself” which would have been difficult as at the time I didn’t know of anything personal. I had also told Fothergill by email and publicly that I did not intend to go any further with the story, an olive branch that was rejected because it did not include removing earlier news reports.
Fothergill said that she was “again very distressed by the posts which had appeared on his website. Due to this I rang Malcom Knight on 13th November 2017 to discuss this and asked Malcom to take the post down.”. She did but on 13th November the only post on the subject was one repeating the Court listing exhibited on the High Court website. All her complaints to me, even after I had put a stop to the story were about taking the posts down, never about them being untruthful except when she accused me of fabricating an email from a police officer.
Fothergill then protested that I would not look at the “evidence that the information he was providing on his website was incorrect”. I rejected the offer as it would only extend the story and I had posted relevant Court documents without significant comment. The place for such evidence was the High Court but it had been rejected there. Why would I want to argue with the High Court?
Fothergill told the police about seeking legal advice to see if Bonkers could be silenced but she did not tell them that her solicitor found no reason to do so.
Apparently I was determined “not to stop posting derogatory and damaging comments about me.” The only time BiB went beyond letting the facts speak for themselves was when I said that committing libel is “silly” and knowingly making false allegations of theft against an innocent employee is “nasty”.
Fothergill objected to the publication of a Court exhibit that suggested that she was encouraging an employee to seek favours from contractors. “The post is a personal attack on me implying I am corrupt”. The commentary suggested it probably wasn’t a corrupt act but legal opinion has since said that interpretation wrong.
Fothergill said she felt “threatened and intimidated” when I said that getting me into Court might make the case “go viral”
The police summarised her statement as follows.
You will note that Fothergill had convinced the police that she was found not guilty of abusing her position as a Councillor while Bonkers had reported that she was. More importantly Bexley Council’s website confirms that the BiB report was correct.
It is true that more than 40 blogs over almost ten months referred to that abuse of her position in some way. Some were only very indirect references to Fothergill, some didn’t mention her at all.
In December 2015 and January 2016 there were six blogs based on attendance at the Code of Conduct hearings with extracts taken from Bexley Council’s website.
There were nine which merely referenced the 13 Freedom of Information Requests submitted by Michael Barnbrook and Elwyn Bryant.
There was one blog listing Fothergill’s business interests all of which were already freely available elsewhere on the web.
There was a picture of Fothergill’s house based on information she had placed on her company website.
There was a picture of a cheque which had been queried by her clients who did not believe Fothergill had provided good value for their money. Fothergill had admitted on tape that clients’ funds were missing.
By 28th January 2016 BiB began to doubt that Fothergill had committed any crime and did so again on 4th February 2016. Over the following eight months 20 more blogs described how that probable innocence was established culminating in a blog entitled ‘Maxine Fothergill is innocent OK?’
All 40 blogs were prefixed with a message confirming that innocence - but it’s harassment, right?