Friday, 19 September 2008

Otis Ferry in a spot of bother

This hasn't been a good week for Otis Ferry, son of rock star Bryan Ferry and joint master of the South Shropshire Hunt, who famously stormed the House of Commons in 2004 to protest at the Hunting Act.

First he was up in court charged with robbery and assault, over an incident which may or may not have involved hunt "monitors" (ie protesters) Susan Grima and Helen Ghalmi and a video camera at a meet of the Heythrop in Gloucestershire on 21 November.

Now he has been accused of trying to nobble a witness in that trial. The allegation is that he phoned David Hodgkiss, one of the hunt staff, on 8 September and "instructed him not to provide the police with certain evidence in relation to an allegation of robbery".

Otis recently wrote to Sporting Shooter to complain about the levels to which fox shooting is taken nowadays. "Let's face it," he wrote, "trickery and technology can hardly be passed as sport."

Ironically, "trickery and technology" may well have played a large part in the problems Otis now faces.


David Gerard said...

I think the bail refusal was less over the original charges as the (alleged) suborning of a witness, i.e. acting like an arrogant untouchable young twat.

Anonymous said...

"I think the bail refusal was less over the original charges as the (alleged) suborning of a witness, i.e. acting like an arrogant untouchable young twat."

Be advised that if Mr Ferry is found not guilty on both charges then he would be in a good position to sue Sporting Shooter for libel regarding the above comment.

James Marchington said...

Anonymous: wrong. Do your homework, and get some balls instead of hiding behind anonymity.

David Gerard said...

He tried leaving the same comment on my blog. I suspect a friend of Mr Ferry's.

Anonymous said...

"Allegedly" acting like an arrogant etc. would probably be safer. As it is phrased at the moment, the remark on your page could be regarded as defamatory.

And why enable people to post anonymously on your site if you're going to complain about it when they do?

Yer learned friend.

James Marchington said...

You can call someone all kinds of twat without fear of libel; that's just 'fair comment'. And even if it wasn't, neither Sporting Shooter nor I nor Blogger would be in the firing line. See here. So don't come here, anonymously or otherwise, trying to intimidate folks pretending to know the law. You arrogant twat.

Anonymous said...

"acting" like a twat implies that he has done what he is alleged to have done. oh never mind. more to the point it tends to be 100 % the case that when somebody calls somebody else a twat, or such like, it is because they can see the twat in themself. safer not to judge people, eh?

and "fair comment"? well, "arrogant twat" is a bit hard on someone who's been banged up for several months on some extremely thin evidence. well, actually no evidence at all yet except for one person's word against another. where are those phone records the police keep saying they are going to produce? no sign of 'em yet.

i was certainly never trying to intimidate you. and I don't class myself as a particular chum of Mr Ferry. More someone who is keen to see justice done. I bet you wouldn't like to have spent Christmas behind bars on charges based on the evidence facing Mr Ferry.

whether you think he's an arrogant twat or worse, one would hope that as a journalist you might at least have some sense of fair play.

Incidentally, a trawl thru the internet reveals that you and Gerard are about the only people who have seen fit to judge Mr Ferry and call him names before the case comes to court.

Anonymous said...

Fair comment
The defence of fair comment on a matter of public interest is designed to preserve the fundamental rights of freedom of speech and expression. In a democratic society everyone is entitled to express genuinely held opinions on matters of public interest however strong or prejudiced those views may be.

The defendant must overcome four hurdles to establish this defence:
the statement must be comment (ie opinion) and not a statement of fact;
the comment must have a sufficient factual basis (that is the comment must be based on facts which are themselves true);
the comment must be one that a "fair minded" man could honestly hold;
the subject matter of the comment must be a matter of public interest.

James Marchington said...

If you re-read the original post and comments, you'll see that I haven't offered any opinion about Mr Ferry's guilt or otherwise, or whether or not he is any variety of twat.

My issue with you was all about sticking up for Mr Gerard's right to express an opinion, regardless of whether or not you or I agree with it, without hollow threats of libel (the use of libel laws to suppress free speech is something I find particularly offensive, especially since it skews justice in favour of those with the most money).

Your (mis)quoting of the law notwithstanding, you know as well as I do that a libel action based on the above comment wouldn't stand a snowball's chance in hell, and would simply serve to make Mr Ferry look stupid. I'm sure he has bigger things on his mind.

David Gerard said...

Anonymous didn't like this one either.

Anonymous said...

No, you're right, Mr Ferry wouldn't be bothered with you because who reads your blog anyway? One man and a ferret? I only stumbled on it following a search on Google. And, despite taking quite an interest in shooting, I have to confess that this is the first time I have ever heard of Sporting Shooter Magazine.

Anonymous said...

As for Gerard's last comment, I never even saw that one! Would anyone other than a loony bother to waste their time wading through his pages?