By STEVEN DOWNES, Editor, Inside Croydon
Croydon Council is trying to silence Inside Croydon.
Last week, they tried to get an injunction at the High Court to stop us publishing documents which the council had already placed in the public domain on its own website.
The judge in the case described the council’s actions as like “trying to put the genie back in the bottle”.
But the council is still coming after us, and they are looking to get Inside Croydon to pay all their legal costs – estimated as being at least £20,000 – and all incurred because they want to cover-up their own errors and mistakes, and to gag the local press.
This is not just a Croydon matter, but this is a case which could set an important precedent for freedom of speech for other publishers across the country – and allow feckless local authorities another avenue to blocking news about their mismanagement from being made public.
Inside Croydon has already uncovered the report into potential wrong-doing which the council’s chief executive, Katherine Kerswell, has refused to release to the public for nearly two years. Kerswell’s now spending more public money to try to track down how the Penn Report was leaked.
On November 28, we are due to go back to the Royal Courts of Justice to listen to expensive barristers hired by the cash-strapped council to try to argue how documents which the council itself published can somehow be made “confidential” again.
If the judge is convinced by these arguments, they might gag Inside Croydon and award costs against us.
That’s why today we have set up the KerswellBalls Fund, a legal fighting fund to help pay for our own legal representation and any costs awarded against us.
We are optimistic about our case – Mr Justice Nicklin’s comments last Thursday made it plain what he thought of the council’s position. And we have now had the opportunity to engage a legal adviser to guide us through the choppy waters of a High Court legal case.
Now we just need your help. This test case is in some respects an opportunity to give senior council officials a lesson in listening to you, the Croydon public.
And any money which is collected through this fund-raiser and not used for legal costs will be donated to local homelessness charities for Christmas.
Thanks for your interest in Inside Croydon and your support.
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