Council chief defends decision
7:00am Wednesday 20th February 2013 in News
THE chief executive of Carmarthenshire County Council has defended his decision to sue a Towy Valley blogger for allegedly libellous comments about him – using council funds – after lawyers said he should be “embarrassed”.
Mark James is countersuing Jacqui Thompson at the High Court in London over comments made on her blog and told the court he had decided “enough was enough”.
He said he read her blog for the first time after she brought a libel claim against him and the council over remarks he made in response to online criticism following Mrs Thompson’s arrest for filming a council meeting in June 2011.
His complaints relate to posts referring to his use of a “slush fund”, which Mrs Thompson has told the court she used as a term to describe the council’s decision to allow officers to sue for libel using council funding.
Mr James said the use of the term was particularly damaging at a time of spending cuts, adding: “There is no corrupt or illegal fund that my colleagues and I are dipping into and I don’t know why she keeps insisting that it does exist.”
Lawyers for Mrs Thompson suggested he should be “embarrassed” at using taxpayers’ money to sue her for alleged libel in relation to her criticism of the very funding he is using to bring his counter- claim.
But Mr James retaliated by saying he found it “hypocritical”
that Mrs Thompson would criticise this when she had previously asked the council to pay the costs incurred by a member of staff who privately sued her for libel in 2006.
The High Court hearing continues.