Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Guns of Brixton (update)


In February 2007 I posted an open letter on my MySpace blog titled 'Guns of Brixton'. The letter was a reaction to the rising gun and knife crime in London at the time. In the 16 months since I wrote that letter things have gone from bad to worse and I believe the government and the police are as clueless as they ever were. I wanted to read back my letter this afternoon and post it here for you to read, I'm going to live with it for a few days before writing a follow-up.

Guns Of Brixton- An Open Letter

I have taken the last few days to put my thoughts on London's current gun crisis into a blog. I have decided that this morning would be the best time to debut my new single, which was written two years ago and has been the first single from my album for about a year. The song is called 'Guns Of Brixton' and I think it has a lot to do with what is going on in London right now. Here are the lyrics…

Oh oh oh oh ohhhhhhh the guns of Brixton/

This is close to my chest my heart beats through the beat/
Through all seasons there'll be heat on the street/
When I've got the magic metal I don't skin no teeth/
Because it only comes out in the deepest of beefs/
We first crossed paths when I was 14/
So much power in my hand from this little black machine/
Eleven capsules of harm in my beretta magazine/
It was hard to stay calm if you saw me on the scene/
Trynna prove something as the youngest of the team/
Now I try behave because I've got to go places/
It aint quite working and Trident is racist/
There's no special division for white cases/
Regarding sticks/
It's all politics/
And MPs should stand for mostly pricks/
We should call them magicians because they only pull tricks/
And why'd you even bother voting because it's all a big fix?/

You can crush us/
You can bruise us/
But you'll have to answer too/
Ohhhhhh The Guns Of Brixton/

Here it goes again it's like a reload/
Why's it called heat when it feels so cold?/
It made me a hot head if truth be told/
If truth be told/ I watch too much telly/
Barked it/ Threw it on my waste burned my belly/
Dropped it off on my cousin/
It was worth every penny when I/
Gave him a ton to hold my gun/
It would make me see jail before I see the next sun so/

Me and my buddy/ we parted ways/
We had so much in common/
We both loved to blaze/
From the same neighbourhood/
Black and misunderstood/
If you saw either one of us it meant no good/
It's like we loved the palaver/
Hoods and balaclavas/
Little bad and bold and bowed to no master/
Should'a took something else to make me see faster/
If we rolled together/ It would end in disaster/

You can crush us/
You can bruise us/
But you'll have to answer too/
Ohhhhhh The Guns Of Brixton/

Bang bang death flies from a pistol/
Faces I know in every other issue/
When South London's press/
Were all in a mess/
Because arguments end once the triggers get pressed/
I'm trynna make hits and no time for hits/
And no time for rebores and masonry clips/
But if crims got fire arms/
And cops got fire arms/
I need a fire arm because if they fire arms/
I hate to say I don't wanna be a target/
Got myself a gun and then barked it/
Bought it on the old hand gun black market/
I don't wanna get into the rights and wrongs/
But because I have had my foes moved on/
For some reason we can't all get along/
That's life for me so when I put it in my raps/
I don't appreciate my art form being attacked/

You can crush us/
You can bruise us/
But you'll have to answer too/
Ohhhhh The Guns of Brixton/

For those of you that don't know. There have been 5 gun related fatalities in 3 weeks in London, the first 3 being victims under the age of 16 all of which took place in South London. I feel like I am in a privileged (or not so privileged) position to be able to talk about this phenomenon from a direct experience lead perspective on this tragic scenario.

It's a scary situation that we are facing; it's not that I didn't think we would get here, because I had a gun when I was 14 as well. I knew it wouldn't be long before other people my age got guns. Not everybody thinks as deeply as I chose to on the subject. I bought a gun when I was 14 years old, I was doing things at that time which meant I could afford to purchase a gun, I was finding myself in situations increasingly that made me feel like I needed a gun, I was 14 years old and smoking a lot of weed, the hyper activity, the hormones and the paranoia lead me down a dark path. Shortly after getting my hands on my first gun I fired. I fired at people. This is not a hyperbole I am absolutely stating facts, I don't want anybody to think I am using artistic licence to capitalise on this tragic situation. This is an issue very close to my heart and one that I want to do everything in my power to prevent from degenerating any further. I feel that I am in a position as a rapper signed to a major record label, releasing my music with wide distribution to talk about this issue and get the street level opinion out to as many people as possible. I feel I have a responsibility and a duty to do so.

Looking back on it. I was in need of something to do. I had very few options. I couldn't play football, I didn't have the mentality for boxing (I tried kick boxing but it didn't work out), I didn't feel like there was anywhere to go. A lot of people felt that way. We'd get together with that level of boredom and the stupidity goes through the roof. We were smoking a lot of weed, which never helped me and never helped any of my friends. It's difficult to know what the right choices are when there are so many negative factors around. I was in these kids positions; just having the gun was very intoxicating. I'm not going to sit here and be a hypocrite by saying guns aren't cool. Fuck it! Guns are cool! They look cool! I love watching films with guns! I loved playing with toy guns! They're cool! Pretending otherwise is pointless and counter-productive let's be realistic from now on. The consequences are not cool. Learning what the consequences are definitely is not cool. When you have that piece of metal you can be so easily drawn into silly situations. There was a time when I was in a "beef" and I pulled my trigger. I never thought that I might kill somebody, not until I got home did I think about that potential consequence. I was doing things at that time that meant I could afford to not have my gun, I paid somebody to take my gun and hide it, I didn't do that for positive reasons, I did that because if I ever needed it again I knew where I could go and get it without it being too much of a risk in my sock drawer. Some aren't as lucky as me (I totally believe it was luck, was it clever? Not really, was it fear? I never thought so at the time. All I can think is that I was lucky to have done what I did when I did it). Thank god I can't aim properly; I shudder whenever I think about what could have happened that day. I didn't kill anybody thank god! But I truly understand that type of power! Knowing you have that thing on you. You don't respect power. You don't respect authority. I know my estate better than the Police and I know full well that I can out-run them. I am invincible when I have this gun! I got rid of my gun because I could afford to! If I didn't I could have found myself getting mad at somebody else another day and have the target connect! These past few weeks there were 3 victims! I could easily have been one of the victims but I could even easier have been one of the perpetrators.

All I can do is give my viewpoint on the issue, let you know what it was, that I think lead me down that path, what it was that could have put me in that position. I want to reply to a lot of the press coverage and I want to reply to a lot of the political agendas that are rising to the surface at the moment. I do not claim to have all the answers, I will say though that I see some very obvious problems these kids face. We need to give these kids more to do! It's a simple solution but honestly it is a simple problem! I found music, I had a child, there's a lot of kids on the Internet making music, you would be surprised the effect that has had on street violence. These kids have an outlet that challenges them, that motivates them and that keeps them competitive, but it's mental competition, there's nothing but positivity in that. Biggie Smalls said about New York in the late 80s/ early 90s "Either you slanging crack rock or you've got a wicked jump shot" the fact of the matter is that the education system does not support children (male or female) who can not get their parents to do their coursework. My experience was that when I was doing my GCSEs, I was told "This series of exams will define your life" it was absolutely too much pressure for a 14, 15, 16 year old. I was discovering girls, I was in gangs, I was committing crimes, I was doing drugs, I was drinking when I could, how was I supposed to fit all that in along with a life defining series of exams? I couldn't. When I made my decision there was no coming back, mainly because nobody was there to change it, but I'd found what I thought I should be doing, I should be the coolest boy in my school, I should make as much money as possible, I should be the most feared person in my gang. Those were tasks; those were challenges, practical ones that I applied myself too. I had friends who were talented footballers, my school produced a lot of very talented footballers, they were supported to an extent throughout the school, which to this day I see as a positive thing, but when it came down to it, the opportunities to further their gifts and their potential were not brought forward because the system had a better idea of what these kids needed to be and needed to become, so many talented sports men have fallen by the wayside because they were not motivated, they were not made to feel confident, they were not occupied. The same can be said for any one talent a child may possess. If a child is great at English he's told he's nothing without his 5 A to Cs, does that seem sensible to you? If a kid is an amazing mathematician but can not translate his gift to English, Science and Technology he is doomed. Without those qualifications he can't even get a job in a bank! The pressure, the unnecessary pressure, put on children of a certain age is cruel and outdated. That has a lot to do with teen violence, drug abuse and pregnancy (all of which are massive problems in Britain, growing ones at that). These children are not occupied, they are not inspired, they are not motivated and they are not made to believe they have anything to contribute to society. Makes me want to pick up a gun just thinking about it.

The stats came out the other day. Out of the 20 richest countries Britain is the worst place for a child to grow up! Those stats aren't a coincidence! I have to raise a daughter in this environment! Because I know these evils I feel like a hypocrite. I feel like I'm in the perfect environment to raise my child, I can steer her away from the evils that I faced. I know about bad things, I've seen it, I'm breathing, I'm healthy, I'm happy. I believe there is a lot in parenting, there should be a way to teach parenting to these teenagers, I was 19 when my daughter was born. I didn't know what I was doing. I was sensible, I gave up a life, I knew how to behave. We all know how to behave! I could pretend to be a child my whole life. But it wouldn't get me anywhere, just sitting around waiting for the lottery until it's too late. It's a cliche but it's the truth! I don't have the time to be a child. I am raising a child! That's not possible! I can't tell my daughter what she should and shouldn't be doing if I'm doing them. My philosophy is to lead by example. I had good people around me, family members and friends that made raising my child easier, I had examples to follow and I had a pretty clear idea in my mind of how I wanted to raise Paige. I want her to feel blessed because she has two parents who love her and that will guide her throughout her life. The fact that we are officially in the worst rich country to raise a child makes my task extremely difficult, there are parents less dedicated then I consider myself to be, parents with more than one child, potentially with different fathers to different mothers who will without doubt find it more difficult than I do with my one child. You create an environment such as the one you have and you continue to stack the odds heavily against that mother and/ or that father.

David Cameron said this week that "Society is broken" or something to that affect, he also said that fathers should be made to stay with their children. Honestly, as crudely as you want to read it, David Cameron should suck balls! You can't force somebody to stay somewhere. If he's there and he's making things unhappy in the home then we'll raise a future generation of psychopaths! At the end of the day I think you can live a perfectly fulfilling and happy childhood in a single parent household. I'm not saying it won't be difficult! There are times you will need a dad! But you can survive it! You don't need the 2 people you love the most in the world hating each other each day, you don't need the major male roll model in your life on the streets committing crimes, doing drugs, selling drugs etc. That is counter-productive, what does a child have to gain from that environment? I'd challenge David to stay with his kids if his wife hated him or if he hated his wife. The suggestion is absurd, a cheap quotable to maintain Dave's stagnant policy-less profile until Tony steps down, Gordon steps up and the nullified British Political system can get on with promising some shit they don't intend to deliver and more photos of MPs licking chocolate off of prostitute's foreheads can fill our front pages. I grew up without my dad. I had quite a bit of contact with him. I used to get sent to him a lot. The relationship was different though. He didn't do anything for me. My mum's kind of crazy and she loved to make me feel like it was my fault that my dad didn't do anything for me. I laugh about it now because I don't think everybody's mum is as crazy as mine! Our relationship improved as time's got on though. It's strange, me and my pops don't have a father son relationship. We're more like friends. He can't tell me things and he doesn't try. He might give me a piece of advice now and then but he's more like a friend. I can't say how he effected me, I don't know the other side, I had issues with authority, I didn't do well in school, whenever I've had a job I've always been "About to get fired", I don't even want to talk about the police. I feel like I've always had authority issues. Did my dad fit David's criteria for a dad staying with his child? If so, what good has it done me? What bad has it done me? I'd like to know what Dave makes of my up bringing.

Outside of the effect society is having on the children of Britain I feel it appropriate to draw light on something I find to be equally disturbing. Politicians such as Lee Jasper who are getting on a bit, you can hear it in his views, his opinions, he sounds like an outsider trying to merge with us, he's saying things he thinks we want to hear, he's out of touch and he's missing the mark every time. He does not speak for me and does not speak for anybody I know. The people are here, they don't agree with him! The majority of us anyway. There's an issue in that Lee Jasper claims to speak for "The Black Community" and I'm telling you that the majority of the people he thinks he represents have never heard of him. That's a dodgy situation; I can't speak for anybody but myself, because that's what I do. I would never claim to speak for somebody else, politicians who are elected into power have that right to an extent, but there was no black vote for Lee Jasper I can assure you. There is no "Black community" we don't have regular meetings and discuss Jerk Chicken recipes; there are poor areas in which black people predominately live. The way Lee Jasper pops up every time something negative happens to a black person in Britain is vomit inducing! The way that him and his best friend Ken have priced poor people out of our own city, making us feel like we're not wanted and that we can't be trusted is one of the great political disgraces in our city's history!

Operation Trident is an issue I touched on in my song and one that has frustrated me for years, what is the difference between a black on black crime and a crime? Do the officers speak patois? Yes, yes they do! There is no respect for the Police in my community, they have become a non-factor! I know EXACTLY what I can get away with and what I run the risk of getting caught doing but when it comes down to it we all know that in Brixton you arrest yourself, if you get caught you went too far that one time or you just weren't smart enough that one time. When the first child was killed 3 weeks back there was a splash in the South London Press, The Voice and The Nation, but the ripples really didn't travel too far. By the time the second murder took place the issue had spread a little further, maybe BBC LDN cared, maybe it got a headline on the main news and an inside column in the dailies, but why is it that only by the third murder was it that there was an epidemic? It's been an epidemic since I was 14! We had police men standing on Brixton high-street searching cars for guns on Friday, a nice PR exercise, they can make Brixton look like a war zone, make it look like an isolated problem and pray there's no shootings over the weekend so we can all get back to thinking about the F.A Cup 3rd round and how Jade said that Shilpa was a "Doo doo head". Poor policemen, poor politicians, 2 shootings over the weekend, the same amount of shootings there were last weekend, the weekend before that and the weekend before that. Only they seem to be a little bit interested in us this week, aren't we the lucky ones? The same problems we face are igniting in North, East and West London, Nottingham, Manchester, Birmingham, Luton, Liverpool and a whole lot more places in Britain. Either they don't know this, or they're doing a hell of a job keeping it out of the public eye. Unfortunately criminals care as much about News Night as they do about Big Brother and will not stop in their paths for a couple of dead kids in South London.

It's scary to say; but honestly I can't see it getting better for a little while. I'm still waiting to hear about the first school shooting. I'm absolutely terrified about that! I've got a lot of little cousins between the ages of 12 and 18 who are these kids, my little brother is that age! They're in college and school! I don't like funerals! I can't deal with funerals! I don't want to be put through that! I feel like it gets closer and closer every time one of these incidents happens. You just have to read The South London Press, it's like watching Channel U you know every other person you see in there "Wow I know you" "Wow I know your family" "Wow I went to school with you!", Streatham Ice Rink that's 5 minutes from my house, it's a bus stop away! It's hard to comprehend.

This is close to my chest my heart beats through the beat.

I'm not going to let this die like those kids. We have a problem and it needs sorting.

Marvin Thomas aka. Marvin The Martian
Since I wrote that letter Paul Simonon rejected sample clearance on the song 'Guns of Brixton' (a defining moment in my career thus far to be frank) and my blog has been quoted in a Guardian article on the subject. I have since taken the words and the concept of the song 'Guns of Brixton' and turned it into the lead song from my forthcoming album 'Devil In The Distance' a song called 'Goodbye'.

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

Martin you are defo a martian blud . You must be living on anther planet. Firsat of all stop trying to pimp your music using the tragic murders of black youth.

secondly Jasper not a politician and if you knew anything about your own history you would know that Jasper has been the most outspoken black radical in Britians last 25 years. Your like dust on his shoulder blud. You see thats part odf the problem History is a long ting for you init! at least with Jasper he lives in the endz and you can se him around Brixton anytime. You my bruk up lickle breda are just a oversized , closet rapper ( and not a very good one at that) If it came to a stright choice between Jasper and you then your history. That man is not perfect but Jeez neither are any of us.

Why dont you try looking after your kids and being a real dad instead of running up your mouth about leaders who have real history and have done more than you will ever do.

Shut up cos you dont speak for road man .

Marvin The Human said...

Being outspoken means what? Being radical means what? Counter-productive is counter-productive. Lee Jasper has been holding back the black people of London for 25 years. In his heart he could be doing it for good reasons, I seriously doubt that at this point (this letter was written in February 2007 before the scandal). You see I do know what Lee Jasper is about and I do know what he's achieved. I cited him as an example of a man with a negative influence on the way black people are seen and the way they are treated in London. There are others but frankly if you hold yourself up as my voice, then I am going to choose you as my target.

I thank you for your comment "Anonymous" and normally I wouldn't respond but on this particular issue I feel fully justified. This has nothing to do with selling music and I never claimed to speak for anybody let alone "Road man". The point of my letter was that I speak for nobody but myself. I made a few points in my letter that you didn't respond to. You seemed to respond only to the points about Lee Jasper that (I should remind you) were made long before his [alleged] criminal activities were exposed.

As far as being an "oversized" (5 foot 6) "closet rapper" (I'm very open about being a rapper). Well we're just going to have to agree to disagree.

Again I thank you for your comment.

Anonymous said...

The previous poster however inarticluate has some valid points.

Radical certainly does not mean singing about it! Take a look at the right wing blog sites or the papers such as the Standard , Telegraph or Mail he is the most vilified black man out there. If he was as useless as you say he is surely the he would not be attacting such heavy flak from right wing racists.
Take at look at what the BNP say about him- they hate him - why?

How does it feel to share their views Marvin? Think about it now you are agreeing with racists who hate a black man and hate you.

Your talking shite Marivn the mumbler.' Jasper has been holding back the black people of London for 25 years'..oh do grow up. That would take us back to 1983 I seriously doubt you know what Jasper was doing in 1983 or indeed 1993. If you know the man so well as you claim what was he doing then that was holding black people back?

There is none so righteous as the most recently converted. You comments are just plain silly. If you have a serious political issue with the man just spell it out clearly. To be honest you sound like you are envious. Given the man no longer has a public position what point are you making here?

Marvin The Human said...

My opinions are not defined by who may or may not agree with me. I'm sorry if the issue of child murder evokes more than petty right-ism in my opinions. I would like to state once again that my letter was written in February 2007, I would doubt that there were many saying anything negative or positive about Lee Jasper in this regard before his recent controversy. Maybe I'm wrong. Like I say; whether The Daily Mail or The Telegraph say similar things to me are not of my concern. I would also like to point out that my comments on Lee Jasper were quoted in The Guardian newspaper which is very much not a right wing publication. Not that I want to justify anything I said through affiliation, I just want to point out the worthlessness of your argument.

Do the BNP agree with me? I doubt that very much. A foolish thing to say when you consider that I did not write a letter about Lee Jasper exclusively but a letter about a serious issue that encompasses so many aspects of black, white, working class, middle class and everybody who lives on this island's life. I should embrace the pastiche sidekick of Ken's because the BNP dislike him? Nonsense.

If Lee Jasper could possibly reverse time to 1983 I believe he would. The political class were as clueless then as they are now as to how they should be communicating with the working class people of Britain, the divide is stretching daily, people like Lee Jasper exploited that fact for personal gain. I stand by what I said at the time (February 2007 I repeat).

I am not a party political person. I, like the majority of working class British citizens have become disenfranchised by Democracy in this country, I am not trying to make a "Political point" but a social one. I wish I could go back in time 10 or so years to tackle the issues that have led to this state of affairs but I can not. There were people who had voices and status at that time who saw this decline in social standards and allowed it to happen. I'm not a conspiracy theorist by nature but I know bullshit when I see it.

If you want to argue a case for Lee Jasper I suggest you go and speak to the Police. I don't have the time or energy to waste on the man at this point. He is not a factor and can not protect these innocent children dieing on the streets of London.

I have been planning my follow-up letter this week and frankly I am at a loss to attach political sentiment in any way simply because of its fruitlessness. Nobody will take responsibility for this, not the police, not the politicians, not anybody, but we're told to blame the parents. When I say I have no more energy for Lee Jasper and his bullshit it's because there are far more important things I could be concerning myself with at this point.

I thank you for your comment though "anonymous".

Marvin The Human said...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/feb/15/livingstone.london1

For reference, The Guardian article I mentioned. The BNP seem to agree with Darkus Howe.

Anonymous said...

Your a chump Marvin the man has been fully acquited by Johnson himself.Your just a political bandwagonist with no respect fro you elders. Obviously you believed the ' allegations' as did quite a number of other people. You seem obsesively upset you never got a response to your ' give me a grant' letter in 2007.

Your description as Jasper a ' pastiche' are you referring to the fact that the man is light skinned?

Whats all this crap about white and black working class - most black folks are not working and the white working class by and large hate black people as thier support for the BNP tell us?

You say Jasper exploited the struggle for personal gain. A bit like the Standard thats a heavy charge whats your evidence for such an assertion. You seen the mans bank account? You make these allegations can you back it up. So you and Darcus agree well you should be happy you are in such good company.

You see Marvin if you have a blog where you raise issues you can expect to get some comments. If you ' have no more energy' to debate the issues you raise it begs the question why bother having a blog?

Is obvious you have no real political point, I doubt like most others your happy to make these points on you blog without any evidence and such your comments are revealed as a personal issue of dislike or envy rather than any serious political point.


Your

Marvin The Human said...

I feel this debate winding down as it seems your only point is that Lee Jasper was innocent of pillaging public funds. I did not mention the pillaging of public funds in my letter as the story had not broken at time of press. In fact it was a full 10 months until it did. You have no case here.

In what possible far off universe could "Pastiche" possibly mean "Light skinned"? I honestly don't know what to say to such a ludicrous statement. As for me crying out for a grant...that is the world Lee Jasper helped create. Grants do not exist in my world, that's bullshit leftist middle management world.

White people hate black people? You expect me to debate you on an issue as serious as knife and gun crime among inner city youth when you honestly believe that "white working class by and large hate black people as thier support for the BNP tell us?" White working class people make up what percentage of the people in Britain? What percentage vote BNP? You are misguided.

I am happy to debate the issue of youth crime all day but the issue of a man who means nothing at this present time is not of interest to me. Politicians are liars, they lie, be they white, black or green, they lie. Lee Jasper is a liar, he was an unelected liar and is thankfully now a liar with no power.

Do you have anything to add to the youth crime debate?

Marvin The Human said...

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23425798-details/These+'leaders'+no+longer+speak+for+black+London/article.do

Anonymous said...

You are aware that Lee Jasper is likely to respond legally to you suggesting he is a liar . He has responded on other web site ( see Boris Watch blog ) to such comments by anonymous poster who challenged him to sue them for similar comments. He took up the challenge! My advice is that you should take this libelous comment down as soon as...you know someone going to send to it to him. Of course Marvin if you can prove he is a liar then your ok but looking at your comments here all you have is opinion backed up with no facts..

Marvin The Human said...

I await a letter from Mr Jasper's lawyers with baited breath.

Again I thank you for your contribution this debate.

Anonymous said...

Your citing a Asian journalist married to a white woman who has no idea or knowledge of the African community.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/feb/15/theirwhippingboy

Anonymous said...

You stand your ground Marvin do not be intimidated. The man a complete crook as are most black men or sex pest's like the other one Lewis.

Marvin The Human said...

Wow...an Indian man married to a white woman and that means? What African community do you reference? Please tell.

Marvin The Human said...

I will not delete that comment.

Anonymous said...

Yeah you stick to your.er...well guns young Marvin. Dont let these prats get to you - you keep the comment about Jasper being a 'liar' on your web site. whatever happened to freedom of speech in this country. It s disgrace political correctness gone mad.

Anonymous said...

Hey Marvin do you mind if I send this on to Jasper he posted his email on anther web site.

Marvin The Human said...

Lee Jasper seems the type to Google himself. I'm sure he's read it already.

Send away, he will see that my letter has very little to do with him.

Anonymous said...

You are a real gent Marvin a real good one at that, this will make good copy. I will forward on to him asap.

Anonymous said...

Marvin

You called Jasper a liar on this blog not in the letter. I will send him both he can make his own mind up.

Marvin The Human said...

Awesome he's a liar. Tell him to buy my album.

Anonymous said...

Yes I suppose you will need to sell quite a few to pay your legal fees...

Marvin The Human said...

How many lawyers do you think would take a case like that on for free? I could name a few. Question is, who's paying his legal fees? Oh wait...yeah that's me.

Anonymous said...

Is it true you dont look after you kids Marvin ..a bit rich all this talk about crime when your not walking the talk Marvin. Your baby mother is not happy with you Marvin and you know why...people who live in glass houses should not throw stones...

Marvin The Human said...

I don't have a baby mother. I'm a grown man.

Anonymous said...

ecord online libel damages awarded
Jemima Kiss
guardian.co.uk, Thursday April 3, 2008
Article history
A social housing firm and its owner have been awarded the UK's highest internet libel damages at the high court after an anonymous news and discussion site agreed to pay £100,000 compensation following a campaign of defamation and harassment.

Gentoo, formerly the Sunderland Housing Group, became the subject of an attack by "a seriously defamatory, abusive and scurrilous anonymous website at dadsplace.co.uk", according to a statement read in open court by the organisation's counsel, Hugh Tomlinson QC, before Mr Justice Eady today.

"From behind their cloak of anonymity, Dads Place used their publications and in particular the website to conduct a malicious, unpleasant and relentless campaign of libel and harassment," Hugh Tomlinson QC told the high court.

Tomlinson added that many of the accusations were directed at the Gentoo chief executive, Peter Walls. Seven of the firm's other employees regularly targeted by Dads Place had also brought representative claims for harassment.

John Finn, the owner of rival housing firm Pallion and a former local council candidate, repeatedly denied responsibility for the accusations made on the Dadsplace site, Tomlinson said.

These included "seriously defamatory allegations ranging from corruption to nepotism and the promotion of female employees in return for sexual favours", Tomlinson told the high court.

However, Finn changed his position during the court case and agreed to pay £100,000 in compensation to Walls, along with legal costs, the court heard.

In October last year Finn had admitted responsibility for libel and harassment and paid £125,000 "as an interim payment on account of costs".

The high court heard today that injunctions also were granted against other defendants in the case, John Baines and John Edward Smith, prohibiting them from repeating the defamatory allegations or harassing the claimants through anonymous communications.

Baines, also known as John Seafield, was the main administrator of Dads Place, and Smith also took "an active role" in the website.

"The very substantial compensations made by Mr Finn and Pallion show that those responsible for scurrilous defamatory publications on the internet cannot escape liability in the courts," Tomlinson said.

"The injunctions that have been ordered and the compensation and cost that the defendants have been ordered to pay vindicate the claimants' reputations and demonstrate to the people of Sunderland and the housing industry that the allegations made against them were wholely false and without foundation," he added.

Speaking after today's high court hearing Walls, a former Sunderland city council director of housing, said: "No amount of money can compensate my family for the distress these outrageous and false statements have caused us.

"What was particularly frightening was the fact that we didn't know who was doing this or why. All we knew is that a number of people were spreading false information to the point where we were all being asked regularly whether the claims were true and to the point where we were missing out on business opportunities."

Tomlinson told the high court: "Those responsible for the publication of the Dads Place Publications took careful steps to conceal their identities and it took many months of painstaking investigation to identify just some of those responsible for Dads Place and bring proceedings against them.

"As a result of those proceedings the website was finally shut down in July 2006."

Walls added: "It has taken us almost three years for this company to achieve this crucial result. There is no doubt that the internet can be a fantastic tool for good but we urgently need legal change to enable victims of internet abuse to have a quicker and more effective route to justice."

Olswang associate Ashley Hurst, who acted for Gentoo and Walls in the case, called for a code of conduct for web publishers.

"It is difficult to see how the government can legislate effectively in this area because technology moves faster than the courts and there are always new technical loopholes to exploit," Hurst said.

"But one option may be to develop the remit of the Press Complaints Commission, or develop a voluntary code of conduct so that at least reputable websites can distinguish themselves from the rogue ones by signing up to the code as a badge of credibility."

Anonymous said...

Is calling someone a liar ' defamation' Marvin

Marvin The Human said...

Should be fun. I've got 100k for you Lee! Let me know.

Anonymous said...

"The very substantial compensations made by Mr Finn and Pallion show that those responsible for scurrilous defamatory publications on the internet cannot escape liability in the courts," QC HughnTomlinson said.

Oh errr Marvin are you sure you want to keep it up

Anonymous said...

I think you find said person is live on air BBC radio London

Anonymous said...

yes just hear the man - more info for you marvin

libel and slander are two forms of defamation (or defamation of character), which is the tort of making a false statement of fact that injures someone's reputation. When the communication is in writing, it is termed "libel". If made via the spoken word, the correct term is "slander". Both acts share a common legal history, although they may be treated differently under modern legal systems.

Anonymous said...

A landmark legal ruling ordering a woman to pay £10,000 in damages for defamatory comments posted on an internet chatroom site could trigger a rush of similar lawsuits, a leading libel lawyer warned today....

...Although ISPs have paid out for hosting defamatory comments, this case is thought to be the first time an individual has been found to have committed libel on a internet chat site.

"The obvious and immediate potential ramification is that there will be more cases like this," said Richard Shillito, a partner at the law firm Farrer & Co. "One sees on these sites particularly unrestrained comments that people make in the heat of the moment without thinking of the legal consequences."

"A lot of people post anonymously but it is possible to find out people's identity. I think people should read this judgment as a warning to be more careful about their comments."

Marvin The Human said...

Would it be libel or slander to suggest that you could be related to/ in love with/ in receipt of public funds from; Lee Jasper? I don't want to get this wrong.

Anonymous said...

Marvin you raised the mans name as a cheap attempt at grabbing your 15 mins of fame for this sad blog which has less traffic than Cardboard Industry News .com You appeared in the Guardian and your tactic is to jump on the mans name as a desperate attempt to get cheap publicity.

But no, neither relation, employee or grant freeloader just someone with enough sense to recognise a desperate, publicity hungry wannabe rap star who has to gain some limelight by attacking a black man who has been falsely accused. I know its hard for you to understand because of your over inflated sense of your own self importance ' keeping it real ' with the youth by empoying the dead end approach crtisising everything and everbody who attempts to do something.

You are that populous creature the man who has no grasp of this own history, has no respect for his own community and simply opines the tyranny of youth over experience. It results in the grotesque parady of black people like you, hunting with the racist media pack to destroy black leadership whilst screaming the monotonous drivel that there are no black leaders and everyone one is power is a ' sell out' . Your suffer from the Willie Lynch syndrome. Your politics are juvenile, self obssessed, opportunistic and deeply damaging to our community.

Stick to your dead end rap trap career - politics is clearly beyond your intellectual and historical grasp

Marvin The Human said...

When the Lee Jasper supporter fails to register a single cognitive point they resort to Trotskyite bullying tactics and name calling. Never would have thought it. Under the name "anonymous" too. Shocker.

I'll make this point again, because clearly the many, many times I've made it already it hasn't registered... I wrote that article in February 2007. I disliked him before it was cool. Me and Darkus had Lee Jasper figured a long while ago.

My letter was written 100% from experience. You read it right? Not just the bit about Lee Jasper? How did you come across the letter? Do you regularly Google search Lee Jasper? Are you his guardian angel?

I am personally not in any community with you. Apparently the white working class by and large hate you. I don't think "they" hate me. But apparently Lee Jasper supporters think differently to black people.

Anonymous said...

Ohh Marvin look like your getting a little hot under the collar there. Tortskeyites want class unity regardless of race. The classic articulation of their ideological position demonstrated by the Socialist Worker's Party mantra 'Black and White Unite and fight".

Your superficial political analysis and attempt at ' red baiting' is laughable. Your one of those black men who love to use words they dont really understand as means of demonstrating some sort of pseudo intellectual ability and end up embarrsing themselves and the rest of us.

Marvin of course white people love you and the idiot Darcus they always love coconuts. You are their most favored sort of shimmy shoe shine shuffle black man. Thats how you end up sharing the same position as racists Marvin . You fake a kind of urban radical miltant posturing, justify it by a Sun reader kind of political anylsis and jump up a criticise black people in high positions so that you bring yourself to the attention to your white friends.

You remind me of the littel boy in the primary school class room incessantly jumping up and down with his hand in the air seeking to attract the attention of the teache. When this fails he resorts to snitching' Miss such and such did it " to get some attention.

You talk about your letter as if it had some meaning like any one cared what you had to say. Your original letter is nothing more than a demonstration of your rather childish neurosis attention seeking self ' ohh look at me'.

I want to be white working class is your deep psychological agenda driven by your childish egotisitical need to be liked by the very people who despise you. Its sad really

I might pop in and see at your Brixton gig - just for a laugh.

Anonymous said...

' single conitive point'! your a joke man please stop embarrasing us

Anonymous said...

So Marvin you a gang banger at 14 who attempted to murder people, who hung out with other murders with guns because you were " bored" whose mother was crazy and who had no dad to speak of and does not believe that dads cant make a difference because of your own miserable pathetic excuse of a dad and we are supposed to listen to you are you fucking nuts?

You need therapy and quick no wonder you dont like black people . Your the classic ' self hating' black man.

Marvin The Human said...

Hahahaha. And so it continues. "Your one of those black men" I like the casual righteous racism, poor grammar and all.

I want to be nothing. I do not define myself by my skin colour. I wish we could all do the same. When you stop seeing it as "Us" and "Them" then maybe people will stop seeing people like Lee Jasper fiddling the figures as a "Black man fiddling the figures".

And as if the desperation couldn't become any more obvious we reach the "Emotional psycho analysis" phase of your anonymous internet rant. I want to be white, now I want to be famous, then I want to impress my white friends, now I am a school child. I appreciate the free service you provide. As a black man of course.

Let's face it, I'm "One of those black men" you hate. One that disagrees with you and one that is articulate and well informed enough to challenge your well constructed fantasy with actual purpose. I am not the only one, but of course when there's a man with sense, a man with logic and a man with a big mouth which one will be heard? I'm a black man with a job, a family, a home and an opinion. The less of us the better.

Words like "Despise" and "Hate" are not words for 2008. They're for 1983. I'll see you in a quarter century. Was it me who threatened law suits on somebody else's behalf? The trait of a classroom snitch perhaps? Who's to say?

Thanks again "Anonymous" you make me more confident in my own analysis of Lee Jasper and his supporters with each post.

Marvin The Human said...

I'm glad you finally got around to reading the entire letter.

Supposed to listen to me? Who is supposed to listen to me? Nobody voted for Marvin. Like nobody voted for Lee.

Anonymous said...

...articulate and well informed enough to challenge your well constructed fantasy with actual purpose.

Self praise Marvin is no recommendation my man. But hey if your unable to answer the substantive points I suppose its time to return your little site to the obscure blogosphere from which it came. Bye bye little boy hope our Mummy gets better and you make it up with your daddy so you can escape the sad psychological legacy that led you to attempted murder at 14.

Tego said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marvin The Human said...

--Tego was signed in on this computer. Will repost...--
------

Well where I'm from articulation isn't praise. Where are you from? I mean apart from that cliche 1983 London Lee Jasper's got you living in? I speak so well though. Word to Chris Rock.

You haven't raised any points or asked any questions, you've thrown around random baseless accusations about my character and motives.

My mum is good, my father is good, I am good. I'm glad attempted murder is a joke to you. It fills me with joy to know that the people who disagree with me on a subject as important as this one can find humour in children killing children. Justification in its simplest form.

Anonymous said...

You as a gang banger who attempted murder at 14 now want to debate the issues of youth violence. Go ahead lets do it. reading your letter the main cause of your descent into violent delinquency was boredom, smoking weed, alchohol, women and a lack of self esteem. I want to make sure I understand what your letter says and the first part deals with you. Can you clarify I have understood the causes and reason you set out in your letter>

Marvin The Human said...

You as a gang banger who attempted murder at 14 now want to debate the issues of youth violence. Go ahead lets do it. reading your letter the main cause of your descent into violent delinquency was boredom, smoking weed, alchohol, women and a lack of self esteem. I want to make sure I understand what your letter says and the first part deals with you. Can you clarify I have understood the causes and reason you set out in your letter>

--

I am currently not a "gang banger". You misunderstand in the sense that I give no definitive reasons for my behaviour, all I could do was paint a picture of my life at that time and attempt to draw parallels with the situation as a whole. For a full definitive reason for my actions I would probably have to see an expert, but even then with so much water under the bridge it would be hard to say absolutely.

What I wanted to do with my letter was explain how I believe I found myself in a similar position to these kids; in the hope that we could possibly open up the debate on gun and knife crime among youth to something more realistic than the usual "It's the parents" argument we're all sick of. I have ideas, I have theories, but I think we all do, I'm not saying I have the answers but I believe I have a case study that could be worth looking over. Let's face it, the problems have existed in various forms for 25 years, isn't it time we approached them from something like a level playing field? Can a rich white man from Eton tell me why I did what I did? Can a black middle-class socialist with an agenda tell me why I did what I did? I think it has been proven that they can not.

Anonymous said...

Marvin, thank you for saying what MOST people are thinking or discussing amongst themselves in the so called Black communities. The fool that is arguing with you is Jasper - I recognise his style as I've had my own delings with the uncle tom enough times to know. keep onj representing cos Jasper and dem man are about themselves. Respect