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England and Wales High Court (Queen's Bench Division) Decisions

You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> England and Wales High Court (Queen's Bench Division) Decisions >> London Borough Of Lambeth v Pead [2013] EWHC 212 (QB) (12 February 2013)
URL: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2013/212.html
Cite as: [2013] EWHC 212 (QB)

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Neutral Citation Number: [2013] EWHC 212 (QB)
Case No: HQ13X00439


Royal Courts of Justice
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

B e f o r e :



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And between :



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Caroline Addy (instructed by Pinsent Masons LLP) for the Claimant
On 31 January the Defendant did not appear and was not represented
On 7 February the Defendant appeared in person
Hearing dates: 31 January and 7 February 2013



Crown Copyright ©

    Mr Justice Tugendhat :

  1. On 30 January 2012 I heard two applications for interim injunctions, one in each of the above actions, which I granted until the return date of 7 February. On that date I continued these orders until trial or further order.
  2. The first was a non-disclosure order made on short notice on behalf of the applicant ("Lambeth"). The second application was to restrain the Defendant from harassing the officers, partners and employees of the First and Second Claimants, and the two personal Claimants in that action.
  3. On 30 January I made the orders after hearing submissions from Miss Addy in public, and following amendments made by her to the draft orders. She submitted these to me the following day, 31 January. Although the applications on both dates were heard in public, both orders included some provisions necessary to preserve the confidentiality of the information the subject of the injunction. These are the reasons why I made the orders on each occasion.
  4. The non-disclosure order prohibited the disclosure of any information or purported information concerning any pupil or former pupil of a unit operated by Lambeth and at which the Defendant was formerly employed, or otherwise unlawfully processing the data.
  5. The Defendant was formerly a senior employee of Lambeth with responsibility for children. He was dismissed in 2007. Proceedings brought by him in the Employment Tribunal were dismissed in 2008. He was later convicted twice: in December 2009 in the Southwark Crown Court of a sexual offence and in November 2011 in the Bexley Magistrates Court for an offence of harassment against family members.
  6. Since about August 2012 he has been engaged in a campaign to proclaim his innocence. He has used websites and a book ("the book") which was published in December. The book contains information relating to the children for whom Lambeth had had responsibilities, and statements which the Third and Fourth Claimants complain of as defamatory of them. There have also been a number of website postings relating to the Third and Fourth Claimants and their alleged role in his dismissal by Lambeth. Other employees have also complained of being threatened by the Defendant. These are under names which the Claimants submit are probably pseudonyms of the Defendant's
  7. The Second Claimant firm of solicitors, acting for Lambeth, sent to the Defendant, and to the publishers of the book, a letter dated 8 January pursuant to the pre-action protocol for defamation to complaints of a the contents of a book. The letter also complains of breaches of the Data Protection Act 1998. The letter was sent by e-mail to an address given on a website dedicated to the Defendant's protestations of innocence.
  8. On 11 January 2013 the solicitors received a response to that e-mail denying responsibility, but offering no explanation. On 24 January 2013 the solicitors received another e-mail complaining of harassment, which was copied to approximately 300 recipients within the solicitors' firm and to many other recipients besides. There was then published on the website a complaint that the Defendant was being harassed by the solicitors.
  9. On 30 January Miss Addy for Lambeth informed the court of the measures that they had taken to contact the Defendant to inform him that this application was to be made. These included a call to a telephone number given on the same website. The solicitors did not receive any response to their approaches, either by telephone that morning, or from the e-mail address which appears to have been used by or for the Defendant. I was satisfied that Lambeth had taken all practicable steps to notify the Defendant, as I was required to be by the Human Rights Act s.12(2)(a).
  10. On the information before me, I was satisfied that Lambeth was likely to establish at any trial that publication of the information the subject of the non-disclosure application should not be allowed (s.12(3)). Lambeth is likely to establish that the information is confidential, or that publication of the information is unlawful under the Data Protection Act 1998.
  11. The harassment proceedings relate to allegations made against all of the Claimants that appeared to me to be defamatory, although the application for an injunction was not made on the basis of libel. I invited Miss Addy to address me on that point.
  12. She submitted that by the time of the hearing on 30 January the Defendant had not put forward anything that might amount to a defence, whether in response to pre-action protocol letter before action, or in response to the notice that the solicitors have given to him (or attempted to give to him) of this application. To this day the Defendant has made no witness statement or other written statement setting out any credible defence that he might have.
  13. I was satisfied that the Claimants had not just a good arguable case on this claim for harassment, but also that they were likely to succeed at trial.
  14. On 7 February 2013 the Defendant attended at the hearing. He refused to give his name to the court officials, describing himself as the "personal representative of Brian Pead". He persisted in this for some time at the start of the hearing, when I asked him to give his name. He only gave his name when I made clear that I would not hear from him if he persisted in not giving his name.
  15. The evidence before the court on 7 February included, in addition to that previously before the court, a certificate of service of the claim form and Part 8 form in the two sets of proceedings, together with the orders that I had made and other documents. The other documents included a note of the hearing and the other documents submitted to the court on 31 January.
  16. According to the witness statement of the process server, he had attended on the Defendant on Saturday 2 February, but had not at first received any response to his knocking. He states that he posted the documents through the letter box. After that, at about 11.30, he states that the Defendant did come outside, obstructed his car, complained of harassment and called the police, but the police did not attend.
  17. At just after 2pm the solicitors sent to the documents to the e-mail address allaboutjustice@hushmail.com, saying that they did so by way of service.
  18. Shortly afterwards there was posted on a website a text headed "Brian Pead assaulted: Essex Police do nothing". In it there is a version of the events occurring outside the Defendant's house on 2 February, according to which the Defendant was assaulted. The statement says nothing about whether or not the documents were put through the Defendant's letter box.
  19. On 5 February there was posted a text headed "Amazon guilty of Human Rights violations", complaining that Amazon had taken down the Defendant's book.
  20. The Defendant addressed the court for over an hour. He claimed that the court had been deceived at the hearing on 30 January, but did not challenge the allegations on the basis of which the application had been made for the non-disclosure order. He denied harassment, stating that he sent the e-mail to over 300 people to prevent the court being deceived. He had a copy of the note of the hearing on 30 January, but claimed not to have received any of the other documents before he came to court.
  21. He then raised numerous points upon which he said the court had been deceived on 30 January. For example, he said it was true that he had not identified himself when the Claimants' solicitor James McBurney telephoned him, but submitted that that was not a refusal on his part. He stated that he had not been convicted of any offences. But he then explained that he had been convicted, but on what he said was a false basis. He made numerous other points of a similar nature.
  22. I did not find the statements of fact made to the court by the Defendant to be capable of belief. From time to time he turned to members of the public who were in court, and from whom he appeared to expect support, and addressed himself to them.
  23. Even if his allegations as to the matters of fact on which he says the court was deceived were credible, I would not be able to resolve any dispute of fact on an interim hearing. Disputes of fact can only be resolved at a trial.
  24. It was for these reasons that I continued the injunctions pending trial.

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URL: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2013/212.html