Rutland could be first council to sue for defamation
Rutland CC could be the first local authority to sue for defamation following a series of emails sent by a group of its own councillors.
The council has taken legal advice over allegations made by the three independents who call themselves the Rutland Anti-Corruption Group (RACP).
RACP denies any wrongdoing. The group’s councillors - Richard Gale, Nick Wainwright and David Richardson – said they established RACP to hold the Conservative-controlled council to account and had to ask the questions to carry out their job.
Richardson said: ‘The fact is we are elected by the people, we are elected by them to represent them and to do the best for them. We can only do that if we have the proper information in front of us.’
However lawyers Bevan Brittan are reported to have advised the council it had grounds to sue over the emails sent by RACP to every councillor, which could be defamatory to the council and individuals.
The lawyers advised the authority it’s reputation had been damaged and suggested it could sue under the Localism Act 2011, which grants local authorities the same powers as individual citizens.
The Bevan Brittan report also stated senior officers could potentially take individual legal action and recommended that a number of emails be reported to police on grounds of harassment.
Council leader Roger Begy said the volume of information requests in the emails was ‘costly and pointless’.
‘We have a group of people making wild accusations and costing our authority a great deal of money, trying to find something that they believe is there that isn’t’,’ he said.
The Bevan Brittan report will be considered at a special meeting of the full council on Thursday.
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