Fear of litigation may produce bizarre behaviour in normally rational people. I refer specifically to those who operate an internet website entitled Greenockmorton.org from which Mortonjag has recently been banned.
Greenockmorton.org is owned and operated by David Bell, an official Club photographer at Greenock Morton F.C. David runs the ‘Tontastic’ enterprise on the same server as the football forum. Here’s what he says about that:
‘The greenockmorton.org unofficial forum is also now hosted on the same server that runs the Tontastic website. A considerable amount of money has been spent in the last year ensuring that the forum is fast and crash free. Any purchases in support of the Tontastic web site will also support the operation of the largest Greenock Morton online community on the web’.
Greenockmorton.org has over 3000 registered members, and users are informed that the forum is hosted in the UK and is subject to its defamation laws. Furthermore, users may be banned without notice or explanation if the site owner feels it is in the best interests of GreenockMorton.org.
Last Autumn ‘The Greenock Morton Supporters’ Society Ltd’. (The Trust) ran an event designed to raise money for a new ‘Sports Academy’ – the brainchild of Stuart Duncan, Chairman of The Trust, and a Greenock Morton F.C. Director. Some time later, the local newspaper reported a Police investigation into ‘missing money’ after the event allegedly produced a financial deficit. On January 30th 2010 a further report indicated that the Police had concluded their investigations with no charges having been brought against anyone.
Later that day, the following statement appeared on Greenockmorton.org
Danny Goodwin is a Trust Board member.
There followed statements from Mr Duncan on both the message board and on the Trust website, in which he said:
The police probe into the events surrounding the Stars of ’79 event has been dropped. They have completed their investigation and said no one would be prosecuted.
The Supporters’ Trust are extrememly disappointed, given the information we supplied to the police, that no action is being taken.
Chairman Stuart Duncan said: ” The Supporters’ Trust has organised many successful fundraisng events over the years where we have raised a great deal of money that has gone to Morton youth – such as the Champions’ Party in Greenock Sports Centre and last year’s Fans’ Game at Cappielow, which raised £5000.”
“We are extremely dissapointed the Stars of ’79 evening – attended by 280 people – produced a deficit to the Supporters’ Trust of £1600. The Supporters’ Trust may pursue a civil action to recover money and items which are still due to them.”
It seemed strange that on the very day that the Greenock Telegraph’s announcement had appeared, Mr Goodwin and Mr Duncan were producing ‘new evidence’ and announcing an impending Civil action. It seemed even stranger that they chose Greenockmorton.org as their medium when as indicated, the Trust has its own dedicated website.
By then Mortonjag had become party to information which justified asking pertinent questions on the message board.
Why, for example, had this ‘new evidence’ not been available earlier, and indeed, when would the proposed Civil action be set in motion? Why had one individual been singled out and reported to the Police as a ‘thief’ when many people had handled substantial sums of cash on the evening, and when there had been no proper accounting records available from the Trust? That had been made crystal clear in the Police statement.
Mortonjag’s legitimate questions sparked a sustained campaign on Greenockmorton.org not only to ‘muffle’ him, but to destroy his professional reputation – a campaign stage managed by Jim MacVicar who posts on the forum as ‘MidTONs’. Mr MacVicar is very close to Sean Donnelly, the Trust board member who co-organised the fund raising event. He is also a longstanding friend of Mr Duncan.
Specifically, and on some twenty separate occasions Mortonjag was portrayed as having been guilty of ‘serious professional misconduct’ and/or ‘struck off the Medical Register’.
Mr Donnelly made allegations, though the majority came from MidTONs. Everything has been recorded, including posts which were subsequently deleted.
Here are two examples:
Yesterday, 12:35 PM
The Stars of 79 night is not my concern here, I more concerned that someone who has a habit of breaking certain oaths could find his way on to the trust board.
I would like you to show me the proof my reliable source is not correct.
“Who loves ya, baby?”
Today, 02:20 PM
Yesterday I received formal confirmation from the General Medical Council that MJ has NEVER been struck off of their register at any time. Indeed they were good enough to expand on that and state unequivocally that he was not even the subject of ANY formal action whilst he was a member of the said GMC. He is no longer a member at his own request – something which apparently is normal practice if you are not a practicing doctor, because it costs a pretty penny to keep your membership up.
Should he wish, as is his right, to practice again, and rejoin the GMC, there is nothing stopping him and he is perfectly entitled to do so.
That’s because he jumped before he was pushed, in a lot of peoples books he was as good as stuck off.
If he wishes to disagree with he he can send you proof that wasn’t the case either.
This post has been edited by midTONs: Today, 02:22 PM
“Who loves ya, baby?”
From a Dr. To a Mr.
Mortonjag tried on several occasions to have those allegations quashed, not least because of the possibility of an imminent return to part-time practice, but David Bell the site owner chose to treat the matter dismissively. Here is one of his comments:
‘I entirely agree that suggesting you have been struck off is particularly disagreeable to you, but it is a football forum full of banter and argument.’, something which Mortonjag found particularly confusing when Mr Bell in response to a previous request for help had nullified that on the grounds of ‘allegations which might affect Mr Donnelly’s life and livelihood’. No allegations were ever made about Mr Donnelly!
The G.M.C statement read thus:
Dear Dr Newall
Thank you for your email.
I can confirm you have not been the subject of any formal action during your registration by the GMC.
General Medical Council
Shortly after the announcement on Greenockmorton.org, Mortonjag received a message from Mr MacVicar which included the following:
Funny this aint it
Well Ernie where do I start, I certainly rattled your cage eh? I must have really annoyed the life out you for you to go to the lengths you did to get folk to believe you.
Now why did I turn on you, I think you know that don’t you? ……….
……………..Its up to you where you want this to go now, I’ll leave that with you, if you want to take down any type of legal route i will happily pass on my address so that you can pass it on to your solicitor to save him the time and effort of searching for me, I honestly couldn’t give a **** and anyone that knows me will tell you the same thing.
I could go on and on about the way you discredit folk but you know more about that than I do so I’ll leave it as it stands for now.
The ball is in your court.
“Who loves ya, baby?”
From a Dr. To a Mr.
So there it was.
A deliberate campaign of defamation had been conducted by Mr MacVicar on David Bell’s message board., which is subject to UK defamation law. Mortonjag had repeatedly asked for assistance from the Moderators, but none had been forthcoming – indeed Mr Bell had plainly trivialized the matter, and further allegations had been made AFTER the G.M.C. letter was published.
In response to Mr MacVicar’s clear invitation, Mortonjag took legal advice, and the former was made aware of a possible claim against him. That should have remained private, but he chose to publicise the letter on Greenockmorton.org, something about which the Moderators did absolutely nothing. Mortonjag made no comment of any kind on the matter as advised by his solicitor.
Within two days Mortonjag was unable to read the message board, let alone ‘log in’. No warning of any kind had been issued nor was any explanation forthcoming.
An announcement has apparently been made on the message board stating that Mortonjag was banned without limit of time for ‘harming’ Greenockmorton.org.
Mortonjag has again been in communication with his legal advisors.