in the back
The last Slapp
Legal news , Issue 1612
OUTSPOKEN: Mohamed Amersi aired various grievances away from the courtroom
TORY donor and Slapp-happy serial litigator Mohamed Amersi was not present in person last Thursday to hear two appeal court judges roundly reject his application to continue his vindictive series of legal cases against former MP Charlotte Leslie (Eyes passim) into a fourth round. But he very much made his presence felt in the days before the brief hearing.

When, at the end of October, the Times ran an extract from veteran lawyer David Hooper's new book which referred to the case (see last Eye), Amersi tweeted that it "appears to be consistent with another ambush media initiative from Charlotte Leslie", adding for good measure a libellous suggestion about Hooper's previous employment record which he had to delete promptly.

A series of even more dementedly Trumpish tweets followed, warning readers to "Beware defunct CMEC [the Conservative Middle East Council, which is a co-defendant in the case] and its director Charlotte Leslie" and attacking the Tory party for being "spineless in disowning it. Something I have repeatedly called for. It's a disgrace!!"

Double trouble
When Leslie's legal team complained to the court about these attacks ahead of the appeal hearing, Amersi doubled down, bringing Financial Times journalist Tom Burgis (who has reported on Amersi's colourful business career) into his line of fire as well.

"The make up artists Charlattan Charly [sic] aka Leslie and the Biased Burgis now object to freedom of speech as suddenly it doesn't suit them," he tweeted the day before the court was due to convene. "They are 'crying' to the court for help after my last tweet. But when they maligned me, it was all about freedom of speech! My heart bleeds for them! Double standards at work and play again!"

But the tiny Trumpette was not done, returning to the fray that evening to shriek: "They now masquerade as victims, trying desperately to seek the court's sympathy. Another sob story has been filed. To both of them, I say, be manly for a change."

Unique tactics
It is, to say the least, a unique approach to protecting one's reputation. But Amersi's approach, and that of the various legal teams he has employed during the mammoth litigations, has been unusual throughout.

While claiming to have suffered enormous harm from a small number of memos written by Leslie and circulated among a handful of contacts in the Conservative party and intelligence and diplomatic communities, Amersi was forced to admit that he had circulated a copy of one of them to no fewer than 18 professional contacts himself.

In his high court judgment back in June, Mr Justice Nicklin also made it clear Amersi had "adopted an exorbitant approach" and had openly boasted that he intended to "take the defendant to the cleaners", launching successive claims in a manner which "can be a hallmark of abusive conduct".

Hugh's sorry now
At the appeal court last week, Amersi's latest barrister – the inevitable Hugh "Hacked Off" Tomlinson KC – expressed great sorrow at the way the judge's comments had been "picked up by the media and parliamentarians as saying this is a Slapp case" (strategic lawsuit against public participation).

As we now know from Tomlinson's membership of the Society of Media Lawyers (see last Eye), he believes "there is a complete absence of independent evidence" that any such thing exists at all.

The appeal court's Lord Justice Warby and Lord Justice Underhill were unimpressed with Tomlinson's arguments, taking just a few minutes to consult before returning to inform the court they were refusing Amersi permission to appeal – something Leslie described as "yet again, a vindication for free speech... for me, a three-year nightmare is over".

More top stories in the latest issue:

The UK government remains way off the pace in terms of production of batteries for electric vehicles, where it lags way behind other nations.

A French prosecution for tax evasion brings new interest in the financial affairs of Lycamobile, and there are questions too over company loans to its owners.

More than a decade after the Eye exposed sweetheart tax deals HMRC agreed with major tax avoiders, recent figures suggest some costly backsliding.

An NHS trust has been reprimanded after losing the details of hundreds of patients and leaving thousands more facing appointment delays.

Court documents show the ongoing links with Russia of the woman behind what is planned to be the largest solar farm in Europe.

The man who led a group of further education colleges into financial catastrophe has been effectively barred from working in education ever again.

The messaging of this year's Safer Gambling Week was so discredited that even a charity largely funded by gambling operators did not support it.

Having committed to "greater international collaboration", the College of Policing has run five training programmes in undemocratic Oman since April.

News in the King's Speech of new legislation to introduce a football regulator signalled a move that undermines the status of a historic institution.

The troubled Actors' Benevolent Fund has at last filed its accounts for 2022, and for the first time anyone can remember it has posted a deficit.

To read all these stories in full, please buy issue 1612 of Private Eye - you can subscribe here and have the magazine delivered to your home every fortnight.

Next issue on sale: 13th December 2023
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In This Issue
Supreme Court to be deported to Rwanda… Ironyometer blows up as UAE hosts COP28… ‘End of truce promise’ cheers weapons manufacturers… New fears for Stormont MPs as it is in danger of reconvening… Perfect legs article goes on and on… Lines on the cancellation of BBC TV’s Top Gear… Airship in ‘rapid unscheduled disassembly’ says Hindenburg boss… Michael Sheen criticises casting of Michael Sheen… Scientists solve mystery of why just one glass of red wine gives you a headache… This Morning with Sarah Ferguson, as told to Craig Brown

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Red for danger
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13th December 2023
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