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WOLVES COUNCIL SPENDS 4K ON STIRRER CASE

20-06-2009

Hard-pressed Wolverhampton Council spent more than £4,000 of taxpayers’ cash on its failed legal action against The Stirrer. The news comes after a week when it emerged that departmental heads are being asked to identify spending cuts of up to 10%.

The Council threatened us with a trip to the High Court unless we disclosed the identity of citizen journalist Carver-y, who leaked confidential information about the cancellation of a business transformation contract with Axon.

With the assistane of the NUJ, we refused to give way, and eventually Wolverhampton backed down – but not before they’d squandered £4,670 on lawyers.

The sum emerges in a statement by chief executive Richard Carr, who said: "Following the leaking and subsequent publication of confidential, privileged legal advice on thestirrer.com, which potentially jeopardised the council's position in commercial negotiations, we sought the opinion of lawyers.

“The cost of their advice, including counsel's opinion, amounted to £4,670. No court proceedings were involved and we now have an undertaking from The Stirrer to give the council notice should they receive privileged information in the future, allowing the council to seek the intervention of the courts if necessary."

We certainly have made that undertaking – but we would have done so for nothing had we been asked.

The key issue for us was ensuring that the good people of Wolverhampton were kept “in the loop” about what was happening with their cash; and, subsequently, protecting the whistleblower who helped us do that.

We are proud that we succeeded on both fronts.

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