Original- Solicitors from Hell . Reg. Feb 2003
Gen Sir Michael Willcocks
In the first instance I must make it clear I asked only for a 'correction' to an article published incorrectly by the Guardian, I had followed the rules of the article 'correction' requests believing that this would be done expediently but for six weeks and twelve emails I was ignored which forced me into making a complaint to the PCC where I would quickly, in the eyes of the Guardian and the PCC, became a villain, it may be because what the Guardian had published about me and the name of my website I was discriminated against by the Commission. Surely readers of the Guardian should expect the system for corrections requests of articles should be operational at all times, as per their 'Code of Conduct', and should not have to enter into a battle where the PCC simply say; "It accepted the newspaper's explanation that a genuine human error had resulted in an oversight and remained satisfied that the action - taken on the day the complaint was received via the PCC- represented a sufficient remedy to the complaint under clause 1 (ii)"
The Commission said "on the day the complaint was received via the PCC" which was the 9th May is in fact a distortion of the truth because the 30th March, six weeks previous, was the day the Guardian received a request from me for a correction to an article and repeated fifteen days later which automated replies showed that they were received. I will repeat a few words from Codes of Practice "honesty", "accuracy", "fairness", "errors" and just hope someone amongst the Commission has some vague idea of their meaning, although of course we do know they understand 'human error' that was put forward as an excuse by the Guardian.
As most people know 'human errors' in one form or another are the reasons for most complaints being made, so if the defence is "that a genuine human error had resulted in an oversight" for whatever the complaints is/was about then no 'complaint' would ever succeed and there is no need for a 'rule' book.
true pattern of events leading from a request to a complaint.
No problem here, the Journalist must know the rules of the paper he writes for, also if the Guardian had misprinted the domain address it should have been spotted by the Journalist and corrected because the rule states "Journalists should read both daily and weekly column".
I was confident my emails to the Journalist and his company (3) also cc'd to the Guardian(3) on the 30th March would be dealt with promptly for their rules stated "It is the Guardian's policy to correct significant errors as soon as possible". I received their automated reply that stated "...the automated response: we use it so that you have confirmation that the office of the Guardian readers' editor has received your email" so didn't expect any problems least of all when I repeated the process fifteen days later sending two of the six emails direct to the Guardian, bearing in mind I had only asked for a correction and a simple apology.
From Saturday 16th April I was away from home and returned on Tuesday 3rd May and found, to my horror, that the article had spread worldwide, the Search Engines were full of it and I'm branded by the Guardian and followed by others, the "Website that has become the scourge of all lawyers, good and bad".
On the 4th May I found a complaint could be made to the Press Complaints Commission, which I duly did the same day. The Commission informed the Guardian on the 9th May which now prompted them into action, this is what I had expected and should have been done 40 days previously on 30th March when I had expected and believed the Guardian would have honoured their own code of conduct.
the 'Codes' of practice I note several words to which importance is
and "It is essential that an agreed code
be honoured not only to the letter but in the full spirit".
the 15th April the first two of the second six
emails were sent direct to the Guardian and one cc'd to the sister paper
still just seeking a correction to a publication by the Guardian;
The PCC received three emails from the Guardian, one from the Readers Editor and two from Elisabeth Ribbans, Managing Editor. If you read the various reasons and/or excuses given, some of which are hard to believe, the fact is the rules were not complied with and clearly, by not following the rules, the real reasons simply amount to 'negligence' and 'incompetence' of a failure to comply and honour their code of practice(s).
me quote from the Commission's decision; "It
accepted the newspaper's explanation that genuine human error had resulted
in an oversight..." I have looked through every rule
I can find and there is not one rule called 'human error', it's not
mentioned, listed, referred to, there is no appendix which relates to
it, it just isn't there. The nearest I get is from Elisabeth Ribbans,
Guardian's Managing Editor, in her
email to the PCC on the 18th May "this
was simply human error" (which is a nice way of saying
they had been 'negligent and incompetent') and from this the Commission
have inserted this new 'rule' (human error) into the present set of
rules and from now on 'human error' will be "honoured
not only to the letter but in the full spirit". Out
the window goes THE EDITORS' CODE of PRACTICE because the new
'one size fits all' rule will, from now on, mean any Editor who claims
"this was simply human error"
is a good enough excuse for the Guardian
and others to be exonerated from whatever is thrown at them in the future.
have enclosed copies of two letters
from my ex-solicitors who are wagging their tails so hard their arses
are falling off. They have become so confused by the Guardian's
hash-up of just what website is what anymore and they now believe my
.com website belongs to Mr Kordowski who is going to be sued,
on behalf of some 950+ law firms that are listed on Mr Kordowski's website,
by the Law Society. Very confusing but then again when a supposedly
intelligent firm of solicitors has become confused by the Guardian's
erroneous publication that was allowed to get out of hand I suppose
most other readers of the internet news media will have also. I have
written and tried to explain but they are adamant the .com website
is going to be prosecuted allowing them to hide their anonymity behind
others, what a shock they are heading for.
Internet is still profusely littered with traces of the allegations
the Guardian made and so let me
quote what Judge Jones said to Mr Kordowski
"But traces of the allegations remained on search engines after"
his attempts to remove all of the offending article(s). If the Guardian
had acted expediently to my first email on the 30 March any damage would
have been limited, even the emails fifteen days later would still have
curtailed the damage but by six weeks it had run out of control and
these 'traces' will remain there for years.
I'm driving at 60mph through a 30mph zone busily chatting and sending
texts on my phone and I accidently jump a red traffic light causing
a serious accident, when I go to Court I explain my actions to the Judge
and say I didn't think I was speeding and I thought the red light was
actually green as I was busy on my phone which "was
simply due to the high volume of" texts etc. "during
that period" and "this
was simply human error and in no way a conscious decision to ignore"
a red light. The Judge; yes I can see you were extremely
busy at the time of the accident causing you to ignore all the rules
but you had in fact made a "genuine human
error" so I will exonerate you from all blame and I
find the other party to the accident guilty of wrong doing for obeying
the road traffic acts and making outrageous allegations against you
I also award all costs in your favour. I wonder if anyone would be surprised
if I rushed up and kissed the Judge or would anyone be anymore surprised
if the Judge and the 'Red-light Jumper' belonged to the same 'Lodge'?
Brian R GrayPS I have no problem with the Guardian or any other media writing an article about my website but I would expect them to bear in mind these words; "fairness", "transparency", "honesty", "accuracy" which fall within the Codes of Practice also they should note there is no list of law firms on my website as described by the Guardian and never has been.
Tonia Milton sends me Mick's reply 10 weeks after Mick supposedly wrote it because Mick wasn't sure I had received it It's back to Mick's "genuine human error" lol . Where do they think 'em-up?
And what does Mick say in his letter below "Turning to the decision itself, as I have explained, I have no locus here... You may disagree, but it does seem to explain the "human error" aspect more convincingly...It does not of course lessen the damage that was done...". The PCC Code of Practice now has a new 'rule' "human error" added.