(Updates: see below) Tattersall's phantom lawsuit against the UK police -- not even phantom?
Climate 'skeptic' Roger Tattersall, a.k.a. Tallbloke, had some of his computer equipment confiscated by the UK Metropolitan Police, the Norfolk Constabulary, and the Computer Crime division, reportedly without showing any 'probable cause', and reportedly this is very very wrong indeed. So in defence, Tallbloke's now engaged a solicitor to seek legal redress. [cached: 1, 2, 3] In the words of his solicitor, Stephen P. R. Wilde:
Roger has been publicly libelled and abused across the world to the detriment of his reputation and has suffered distress, inconvenience and damage to property. The worst such offender appears to have been a contributor at 'Scienceblogs'.
His privacy has been invaded and he and his family have been intimidated. [...]
A clear signal needs to be sent out that such treatment is an abuse of process and a negation of free speech and democratic freedoms.
But wait. Why's there no concrete reference to the police? Nowhere in the solicitor's statement does it state explicitly that 'we are suing the UK police' or even 'the UK police has done us wrong'. That's strange, isn't it?
There are only vague references to "damage to property" and invasion of "privacy". And the solicitor seemed less concerned with the supposedly unlawful search, and more concerned with what some ScienceBlogs blogger was writing about the raid! Hmm.
So I'm now wondering about the status of any lawsuit by Tattersall against the UK police. Will it actually materialize, or will it go the same way as, say, Viscount Monckton's phantom lawsuit against Prof. John Abraham, or weatherman John Coleman's phantom lawsuit against Al Gore? Then again, unlike Monckton or Coleman, Tattersall and his solicitor never explicitly said they'll sue the police, so the state of any such hypothetical 'Roger Tattersall v. UK police' lawsuit -- which'll presumably seek redress from the UK police's supposed 'wrongs' against Tattersall -- the state of any such lawsuit is, as of now, not even phantom.
(I must clarify this once more: Tattersall and his solicitor never explicitly said they'll sue the police. This fact I must emphasize, lest Tattersall's precious, precious person suffers further "distress" or "intimidation" due to lack of such clarification.)
- Corrected the above blog post: the search was carried out by not just the Norfolk constabulary, but also UK police from elsewhere.
- And, Deep Climate directed me to a list of more concrete courses of action contemplated by Wilde, which does include stuff like
ii) Potential malfeasance by the persons responsible for the obtaining of the [Search] Warrant in the form deemed appropriate (but actually wholly inappropriate) and for the heavy handed treatment of Tallbloke who would always have been prepared to assist voluntarily.Interesting that Wilde doesn't want to take on the entire UK police, but only "persons responsible". So any lawsuit won't be of the form 'Tattersall v. UK police', but rather be along the lines of 'Tattersall v. some hapless policeman'.
Update² 2011-11-28: I commented over at Tattersall's blog,
Glad to hear that your phantom lawsuit against the UK police to challenge the search warrant is going phantomly well. Let me know once you've gathered the phantom evidence of phantom "malfeasance" by the policemen, will ya?
Or perhaps you might want to actually explain why you and Wilde still aren't going to sue the UK police over the supposed "inappropriate" nature of the search warrant, instead of simply pretending that you never mentioned it.
As of writing, the comment is still held for moderation.
[Reply] I'm consulting directly with UK Civil Rights lawyers on this issue. It does not involve Wilde & Co.