joker

Jules on the mic.


A retired solicitor who went on the warpath when a government worker talked about her mental health has been cleared of harassment.

Julian Saunders made his "abrasive" comments about Dr Lisa McNally, the Director of Public Health at Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, on his blog, The Sandwell Skidder, which sought to expose council malpractice.

Mr Justice Chamberlain noted that Saunders was "an avid reader of Private Eye" and "aims to emulate its style", although "whether he succeeds in that aim is another matter". 

During Mental Health Awareness Week, McNally made a two minute video for the council's Facebook page in which she disclosed that she had struggled with mental ill health since childhood, had self-harmed and had once narrowly avoided being detained in a psychiatric ward on which she was due to work the following day.

In response, Saunders published a blog post with a section titled, "Lisa 'Me, Me, Me,' McNally?" in which he described McNally as "not the sort of doctor who asks gentlemen to cough whilst holding their balls - at least not in a diagnostic context, but is a 'Chartered Psychologist'".

Characterising McNally's video as "seemingly extreme egotism", he said the "usual suspects" had "saluted what is supposed [sic] to be her 'bravery' for coming out with this solipsistic slop". 

"What a time to release this narcissistic garbage", he continued. "Even if you are the peculiar type of moron... who likes this sort of whimpering confessional navel-gazing, the timing is a monumental misjudgement...Please shut the f*ck up about yourself and concentrate on the very real public health crisis engulfing Sandwell! That's your job".

Saunders wrote five blogs about McNally. In one he complained, "If there is a turd floating in the cesspit of local news you can be sure it will be fished out by the world's worst TV 'News Magazine' Midlands Today and, sure enough, McNally was soon boasting how she had been interviewed about this b*llocks".

The judge noted that Saunders also linked to a post about McNally on Facebook which "appeared immediately above a photograph of a street sign bearing the words 'Bell End'".

The judge said that, given the "frequently puerile tone and style" of the blog posts, a casual reader "might be surprised to discover that they are the work of a semi-retired former solicitor".

In her claim McNally said that Saunders' posts had given her "crippling" anxiety about attending meetings, and made her question whether she was fit to perform her job. 

However, the judge said that while he definitely didn't endorse Saunders’ "unpleasant" posts, his blog qualified for the same protections afforded by the law to conventional journalism.

The judge also noted that McNally put her mental health issues into the public domain herself, and could expect pushback as an official. "Someone who decides to make a public disclosure of this kind must expect that, while many people are likely to comment favourably, some may choose to make comments that are adverse", he said. "This is one of the reasons why those who make such disclosures are often aptly described as courageous".

He struck out McNally's harassment claim on the grounds that it had no real prospect of success. 

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Comments

Anonymous 23 July 21 07:12

I’m surprised the judge was surprised. I’d always assumed a high proportion of pompous male solicitors became fixated on the minutiae of parish life after retirement, to the point of derangement. But maybe it’s just my father in law. 

Anonymous 23 July 21 10:31

I'm sure there isn't a judge in the land who doesn't read the discussion board, Sir Woke.

The Question Man Rises 23 July 21 11:31

@07:53 - what proof do you have that there are any pompous female solicitors?

Do you have evidence that there are pompous male and female judges?

Anonymous 23 July 21 11:34

A bit rich to go online and declare yourself to suffer from poor mental health, but then to try and turn around and pin your subsequent poor mental health on people who only started talking about because you made an unsolicited broadcast about your poor mental health to them.

The guy sounds like a bit of a chop, no doubt, but this was the right outcome.

The Question Woman Arises 23 July 21 12:54

@11.31 - why do you only ask for evidence of pompous female solicitors and not of pompous male solicitors?

Do you doubt that there are pompous judges?

Still, at least you value evidence, which is an improvement. I'm sure you'll continue to request it for all unsubstantiated allegations.

The Question Man Returns 23 July 21 14:18

Do you have any evidence that I only ask for evidence of pompous female solicitors and not of pompous male solicitors? 

Do you have any proof that I doubt there are pompous judges?

Do you have any contemporaneous witness testimony that casts doubt on the fact that you are trapped in an abusive parasocial relationship with an online misandrist who considers you a contemptible wretch corrupted by online pornography, The Game and re-runs of late 90's episodes of Home and Away? That you feel the slap of her metaphorical paddle across your buttocks each week but nevertheless habitually return desperate for more?

Do you have written documentation which undermines the allegation that she considers herself your superior, with your true place that of an infantilised slave who serves at her beck and call, clad only in an adult diaper? That she would run the whole office - society perhaps - in that way, if you would only be bold enough to confess your own innermost desires?

What proof can you muster to prove that you do not whimper "thank you mistress, may I have another" each time she presses 'Comment'?

Your silence on these matters is very telling.

Anonymous 23 July 21 16:07

I am a pompous male solicitor and can easily see myself becoming a frothing botherer of those mandarins I deem incompetent, of which there are many, when I retire. Sorry in advance. 

The Question Man and Robin 23 July 21 16:37

"I am a pompous male solicitor"

Do you have any proof that you are a solicitor?

Or that you are male?

The fact that you may retire someday appears to be an entirely unevidenced allegation for which you have offered no supporting evidence.

The Question Women Returneth 23 July 21 16:37

@14.18 - yes, the evidence of you only asking for evidence of pompous female solicitors and not of pompous male solicitors is you only asking for evidence of pompous female solicitors and not of pompous male solicitors.

Nobody said that you doubt there are pompous judges? You were asked if you doubted there were pompous judges and refused to answer.

What evidence do you have to support your assertion that I am 'trapped in an abusive parasocial relationship with an online misandrist who considers me a contemptible wretch corrupted by online pornography, The Game and re-runs of late 90's episodes of Home and Away'? Or 'That I feel the slap of your metaphorical paddle across my buttocks each week but nevertheless habitually return desperate for more'?

Why do you speak of 'corruption by pornography' while imagining 'desperately paddling buttocks'?

What evidence do you have to support your  allegation that 'she considers herself my superior, with my true place that of an infantilised slave who serves at her beck and call, clad only in an adult diaper? That she would run the whole office - society perhaps - in that way, if I would only be bold enough to confess my own innermost desires'?

What evidence do you have that I whimper "thank you mistress, may I have another" each time she presses 'Comment'?

Although you are beginning to understand the importance of evidence, you now realise that allegations without evidence are untrue, and that untrue allegations are very common when it comes to 'harassment'.

Your silence on these matters is very telling.

Anonymous 23 July 21 23:52

@16.07 - that's ok, there are many pompous male (and female) solicitors, you're not alone.

Anonymous 26 July 21 11:40

"What evidence do you have to support your assertion that I am 'trapped in an abusive parasocial relationship with an online misandrist who considers me a contemptible wretch corrupted by online pornography, The Game and re-runs of late 90's episodes of Home and Away'? Or 'That I feel the slap of your metaphorical paddle across my buttocks each week but nevertheless habitually return desperate for more'?"

 

tbf the fact that they managed to bait you into posting that is pretty good evidence 

Anonymous 29 July 21 22:59

Correct decision. The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 is probably the most overused piece of legislation in British legal history.

Too many people think that someone speaking to them when they don't want to be spoken to or saying something they disagree with is 'harassment'.

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