Inside Croydon has been around for nearly seven years, and never before have we asked for any financial help from our loyal reader.
The website has incurred legal bills in defending – successfully, we’re happy to say – an attack against the right to report some of the goings on in our town.
Towards the end of last year we received a solicitor’s letter on behalf of Boxpark – or Boozepark as we tend to call them – threatening to sue us.
The complaint was, of course, utter bollocks.
The report which they complained about – and which you can read here – was well-sourced and accurate. Despite resorting to lawyers, Boozepark have never denied that they may, at some point in the future, increase their rents. In any case, to suggest that they might is, as any first-year law student could tell you, not defamatory.
It looked to us that Boozepark’s lawyers had engaged on something of a fishing expedition, trying to accuse us of running some anonymous Twitter accounts – something which their letter suggests was suggested to them: “A number of false and defamatory statements have been published on those feeds which we are advised have been authored by you”.
Who might have “advised” Boozepark that this was the case?
Whoever it was behind the anonymous accounts had a liking for linking to our archive of articles on Boozepark’s council stitch-up, the months of delays in the build, and the public funding of their opening gigs, we had nothing to do with the Twitter accounts.
Might it have been someone at our Labour-run local council who nudged Boozepark into thinking that we did? Someone at the same council that handed Boozepark a £3million loan out of public funds, but never bothered to insist that the company pays its staff the London Living wage?
In the interests of full disclosure, we are reproducing the Boozepark lawyers’ pathetic little threats here.
As is the nature of these things, we needed to provide Boozepark with a suitable response. We sought expert legal advice, so we went to the libel lawyer who often represents Private Eye magazine, the same organ which gave the world the robust riposte to legal threats in the case of Pressdram v Arkell.
We like to think that the reply which our lawyer sent to Boozepark had a similar impact.
We have not heard anything from the chancers since.
But getting a top lawyer to defend the right of free speech and independent journalism costs.
Inside Croydon has received threats before – from a Tory councillor who was abusing her position to tout for private work, and twice by a certain Labour MP who does not like having people reminded of his spying on colleagues. Winston McKenzie bandied around some threats a couple of times, too, but as with so much else, he didn’t know what he was talking about. Plus there’s been the anonymous letters and vitriol from those who clearly don’t like light being shone into their dark little corners.
But on this occasion, we need to ask for your help to pay the legal bills.
Boozepark, thanks to its council loan, will have been able to pay their lawyer to make their ridiculous attack against us. We have no recourse to reclaim our costs incurred to defend ourselves.
We hope you will chip in, in the cause of continuing to have a truly independent source of news and views that is actually based in Croydon, with some campaigning journalism which, from time to time, actually does get things changed for the better.
All we are asking is for a contribution to what we are calling (in the time honoured style of Private Eye), the BoxparkBalls Fund, for an amount which pays the invoice from our lawyers, plus VAT and related costs.
We have thousands of visitors to the site every weekday. So we’re hoping that most of you might contribute just a fiver towards the cause.
Maybe those who can afford a little more could do so.
You don’t need to be identified publicly, if you’d prefer to make a donation discreetly.
Making a donation is – as is the manner of these things – quick and relatively painless, via the GoFundMe platform. Just click here: http://www.gofundme.com/BoxparkBallsFund
But we need to make the payment very soon.
We dislike passing round the begging bowl in this way, but hope you understand. We would really appreciate your support.
None of this cash will be used for anything other than to pay our lawyers.
It would be a huge help, and will enable us to continue to nip and niggle away at some of the nonsenses and injustices which are being encountered by fellow Croydon residents on a daily basis.
Editor and founder, InsideCroydon.com
- Please support our BoxparkBalls Fund to help pay towards a vexatious legal attempt to have us closed down
- Inside Croydon is Croydon’s only independent news source, still based in the heart of the borough. In 2016, we averaged 17,000 page views every week
- If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or a local event to publicise, please email us with full details at firstname.lastname@example.org