Thursday, 13 March 2014

Bible & Gospel Trust v Twinham

Interesting to see the methodical and systematic actions of the BGT/PBCC/Hales led litigation machinehttp://www.plainsite.org/dockets/index.html?id=623796


  1. There were many remarkable, even unique, aspects of this long-running litigation. One of them is seen in the first image: the Vermont Attorney General, the highest law officer in the State, joined the case as an amicus, i.e. as a friend of the defendants. Presumably he considered that there was a public interest at stake, and if the Brethren were to win it would set a dangerous precedent by which legitimate, constitutionally protected discussion and criticism could be suppressed by vexatious litigation. For the sake of freedom of expression, someone had to make sure they did not win.

    For those Brethren who have been told that the Brethren were defendants, let me clarify that Sallie and Tim were the defendants. The case was initiated by the Bible and Gospel Trust. Their complaints were based on several instances of alleged copyright infringement, some of the allegations being false, some to the point of being hilarious and the rest of them trivial.

    When I have more time, I will comment on some other remarkable aspects of the case.

  2. Thanks Ian. I look forward to more details. Now I suppose the Darby Bible will be copyrighted retroactively (<; Not that the EBs actually follow the spirit of the "Good Book"

    Gordon Martin

  3. How do the Charity Commission view the spending of in excess of £1 million on a failed case to gag former members? I'd call it iniquitous. And what of PBCC member Walter Paterson involved in the case? Seems to have disappeared without trace. That's the price of failure within the ranks of the PBCC. Prepare to hear no more from Garth Christie, Cyril Parsons and Bruce Hazel!

  4. One of the silliest accusations that the BGT trumped up was that Tim Twinam had copied a poem of which the BGT claimed copyright. But they did not in fact own the copyright and never had done. In fact, one might question whether they even had the right to possess a copy of the poem. If anyone was guilty of breaching copyright of the poem, perhaps it was the BGT themselves.

    Even if they had tried, they could hardly have fabricated a more spurious example or a more ridiculous complaint, because it turned out that unknown to the BGT the poem had actually been written by Tim’s father, who was the real copyright owner and had given Tim a copy years previously.

    This blunder was one of several that convinced me that the BGT case was unprincipled, unscrupulous, dishonest about its purpose, and intended merely to harass and bully Tim and Sallie. I imagine their real aim was to bully them into closing down peebs.net, but if that was the intention it failed.

    It might have been cheaper and quicker to bribe Tim and Sallie rather than bully them, and it might even have worked, but it would have been a lot more honest to engage in genuine discussion about the concerns and complaints that were being aired on peebs.net. That is what any normal church would do.

    A genuinely Christian church would be able to provide evidence and arguments to refute any criticisms that were groundless, and rectify any complaints that were well founded. It would never dream of using litigation in an attempt to silence its critics.

  5. Before the peebs.net case wasn't Graham Reiner involved in disgraceful litigious action against someone called Sheila?

    1. I don’t remember which particular Brethren were to blame for the disgraceful lawsuit you refer to, but the victim was a young ex-EB member called Sheila Seesahai, who was at that time a student. The Brethren took her to court alleging that she was running peebs.net or involved in running it. Why they picked on her is a complete mystery. She had never had anything to do with the running of peebs.net or any other web site and wouldn’t have known how to. Perhaps they just picked on her at random, assuming all ex-EB were fair game. Perhaps they just wanted to get her into the witness box so that their lawyers could fish randomly for information that the Brethren could use against other ex-members.

      It cost her a lot of money, trouble and worry, and couldn’t have made her studies any easier. Like the later suit against the Twinams, it added to the long list of sordid, despicable and futile deeds of the Brethren’s last 50 years.

      Neither of these lawsuits gained the Brethren anything worth gaining. They both damaged the Brethren’s reputation badly, and were among the reasons why they eventually ran into trouble with the Charity Commission.

      The famous Dutch Book Case was another PR disaster initiated by the Brethren. They did manage to persuade a publisher to refrain from publishing a book, but at what cost? At the cost of putting details of Jim Taylor’s sordid behaviour on permanent Court records, sworn and established by eyewitness testimony. At the same time the Brethren were seen as an organisation who had a lot to hide and were willing to take desperate measures to hide it. It alerted other authors to the fact that there was a juicy story that someone was trying to cover up. What a blunder that was!

    2. I do hope that Sheila Seesahai has been able, or will now be able, to seek compensation for her appalling treatment by the PBCC Ltd.

    3. I totally concur, Anonymous. Having at last given the rank and file PBCC approximately 40 minutes to consider the Deed of Variation, they should now knuckle down and begin to address the harm and detriment that their doctrine has caused over many years. What price a lost Granny at age 5? What price a lost opportunity to go to Uni? What price a childhood of abuse? What price a mental breakdown precipitated by a visit from them? What price a mother who in her late 80's still couldn't care less? What price a disrupted and disrespectful funeral? What price a divorce forced by religion? What price continued legal harassment? The compensation bill continues to mount. Have they got anything else to offer than money?