Defamed by the National Trust For Scotland
Defamed by the National Trust For Scotland
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Latest: Sept. 10, 2020
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a dramatic effect on many aspects of life and the Courts are no exception. The Scottish Courts are currently trying to work their way through a huge backlog of cases and…Read more
Who am I? - My name is Howard Kennedy and I am a photographer and photography teacher based in Aberdeen, Scotland.
Summary - In February 2016 I was the subject of sensational news stories that appeared all over the World and dominated UK press and media for over a week. These stories arose from defamatory statements made about me by the National Trust for Scotland in relation to a photo shoot I undertook at Craigievar Castle in Aberdeenshire in 2012, with the full knowledge, approval and supervision of the National Trust for Scotland and payment of their requested usage fee.
The result for me was an instant cessation of all commercial photography work and a drop in all other enquiries for my photographic services. My business has never recovered. It took 10 years of work to get to the stage that in the year prior to the defamatory statements being made, my commercial photography business generated turnover of around £40,000. In the three years since the defamatory statements were made it has been reduced to just £692. Much of my commercial photography work either took place in England or was commissioned by English based companies and many of my clients for photography training also came from England, so I launched legal action later that year in the English Courts. The availability of no-win-no-fee libel action and insurance against opponents' costs was also a major factor, as neither of these are available in Scotland.
Call to action - Four years after first raising the action, the English Courts have now determined that the action should be heard in Scotland, where I have already raised protective proceedings against the National Trust For Scotland in Edinburgh Sheriff Court to ensure the action did not become time-barred. As there are no legal representatives in Scotland who take on defamation cases on a pro bono or no-win-no-fee basis and the few specialists that do exist in Scotland charge a premium, I will be funding the Scottish action myself. I need your support: please contribute and share this page now!
What are we trying to achieve? - This case is fundamental to the rights of individuals not to have their lives destroyed by large organisations making false public statements about them in botched damage limitation exercises. The most important thing for me is to restore my name and reputation, through a full and public apology. Only then can I remove the stain that shows up on every due diligence search potential clients carry out on me. I would also like to see National Trust for Scotland make suitable recompense for the now four years of financial hardship their statements have caused.
What is the next step in the case? - The Scottish action is currently sisted (legal terminology for "frozen") pending the determination of the English proceedings. The next stage in the action will be for the National Trust for Scotland to lodge their defences to my grounds of claim, which will kick-start the Court procedure.
How much we are raising and why? - My initial target is £2,000 to cover the costs which will be incurred in the preliminary stages of the Scottish action. If the action proceeds as far as a Proof (a trial), I will also need to fund these costs, which could run to in excess of £100,000.
Thank you very much for taking the time to read this. I hope you are able to help and I will be eternally grateful if you can.
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Sept. 10, 2020
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a dramatic effect on many aspects of life and the Courts are no exception. The Scottish Courts are currently trying to work their way through a huge backlog of cases and it is possible that it could be anywhere between a couple of months and 18 months before my case reaches the front of the queue.
Until then I will have to wait until the NTfS either lodges defences or makes a sensible offer to settle the case. As far as I am concerned, the details of compensatory arrangements can remain private but there must be a total and unequivocal public apology issued for the damage caused by the false statements made by NTfS. This is the only thing that will allow me to restore my business reputation and approach future clients without fear that they will find these untrue stories during any due diligence search.
Please continue to share this page as far and wide as possible, as I may face significant further costs before this case reaches the stage of a proof (trial).
Many thanks for your support in restoring my name and hopefully my business reputation.
Aug. 17, 2020
Firstly I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has pledged so far. The initial costs of raising the case have now been covered. thank you!
The next step is for the National Trust for Scotland to lodge their defences with the Court, which will result in the Court setting a date for the proof (trial). The NTS were supposed to have lodged their defences by the end of May but obviously they will have extra time to do so as a result of the Covid-19 disruption.
Once a proof date has been arranged, the costs of continuing will grow substantially, so I would be very grateful for any assistance in making more people aware of my case and any help you can give to encourage others to pledge.
Success in my case will not only help repair the damage that has already been done to my family's lives, it will send a clear message to large organisations like NTS that they will be held accountable of they choose to destroy someone's life in an attempt to avoid answering legitimate questions.
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