MEALE ATTEMPTS TO WRONGLY SUE STAGS FAN
Mansfield 103.2 News, 4pm, 02May2007, click here
Stags' fan 'outraged' by MP threat to sue
A FURIOUS Stags' fan is demanding an apology from Mansfield MP Alan Meale –– who he says has wrongly attempted to sue him for comments left on an internet messageboard.
Earlier this year Chad revealed that Mr Meale intended to sue two Mansfield Town FC supporters who he says posted defamatory comments about him on the Stags' Supporters Association (SSA) website Stagsnet.
This followed a court action in which Mr Meale forced the SSA to reveal the email addresses of the two fans who posted the comments on the site.
But lifelong Stags fan Mark Wells, of Mansfield Woodhouse, has now hit out at Mr Meale and claims the MP has wrongly accused him of posting some of the comments.
Mr Wells says he was 'shocked and outraged' when he received a letter from Mr Meale's solicitor Martin Lee demanding compensation and threatening him with court action.
The letter alleged that Mr Wells had left defamatory comments about him on the Stags Supporters' Association website Stagsnet, under the user name of 'Stagsfan'.
But Mr Wells –– a respected teacher and decorated Army officer who has served in Kosovo and Northern Ireland –– says Mr Meale has got the wrong man and should apologise immediately.
Said Mr Wells: “Can you imagine how I felt when I opened the letter to find myself being threatened with court action by my own Member of Parliament, who was also demanding compensation and payment of his legal fees for something I have not done?
“This man is meant to be my representative in Government and look after my concerns, not threaten me with legal action and demands for compensation.
“I want an explanation and a full apology for the distress Alan Meale has caused me and my family.”
He says that despite his solicitor responding to the letter a month ago, he has not yet received any further correspondence from or on behalf of Mr Meale.
Mr Wells' comments were made in a press statement issued by protest group Stags Fans For Change (SFFC) –– of which he is a member.
Also in the statement, SFFC spokesman Graham Parker blasted Mr Meale for failing to apologise to Mr Wells and demanded that the MP explain how he obtained Mr Wells' personal details.
But Mr Meale this week said he was not prepared to respond to Mr Wells' comments –– which he said he believed had been timed to create 'mischief' before he stands in Mansfield's mayoral contest tomorrow.
And his solicitor Martin Lee told Chad: “The real issue is that two individuals have posted defamatory comments on the SSA website, and they still will not come forward to justify the things they have said.
“Our enquiries into the identity of these individuals is still ongoing –– and if and when we are satisfied that we have got the wrong man, that would be the time for an apology.
“It's not really appropriate in light of ongoing investigations to reveal what we are doing to identify the individuals, because they are quite clearly going out of their way to conceal their identities even though they have been prepared to make quite damaging comments.”
Full SFFC Statement:
Mansfield Town fan demands apology after MP tries to sue the wrong fan
Mansfield MP and prospective Mayor for the Town, Alan Meale is a being labelled a "scandalous hypocrite" following his attempts to sue fans of Mansfield Town Football Club.
Life-long supporter of the Stags, Mark Wells (44) of Mansfield Woodhouse was shocked and outraged to find himself being threatened with court action and demands for compensation by Mr Meale. The MP tried to sue Stags fans following comments made about him on the Stags Supporters Association (SSA) website Stagsnet.
Mr Wells, a respected local teacher and mentor to young people was dumbfounded and shaken when he opened the letter from Alan Meale's solicitor Martin Lee & Co dated 12th March.
"I was a Senior NCO for 24 years and decorated four times; I served in Kosovo and Northern Ireland but this letter really shook me up. I was being accused of making defamatory statements about my MP on the SSA website and that my personal details had been released to my MP after he took the SSA to court.
"The letter claimed that I had said my MP was involved in all sorts of misgivings, but I never made any of those statements; Mr Meale has got the wrong fan. I want an explanation and a full apology for the distress Alan Meale has caused me and my family, “said Mark Wells.
The letter from Martin Lee & Co demanded that Mr Wells make a full apology on the Stagsnet website, that he also made it a news item on the site and that he set out his proposals to pay Mr Meale compensation.
"Can you imagine how I felt when I opened the letter to find myself being threatened with court action by my own Member of Parliament who was also demanding compensation and payment of his legal fees for something I had not done? This man is meant to be my representative in Government and look after my concerns, not threaten me with legal action and demands for compensation," said Mark Wells.
Mr Wells, who teaches music to schoolchildren used to post on Stagsnet under his own user name, but no longer does so for fear of receiving more threatening letters from his MP.
Following advice from Martin Lee & Co Mr Wells contacted his own solicitor who then wrote back to Mr Meale within the 14 days deadline given. Mr Wells' solicitor explained that the MP had got the wrong fan and that given the circumstances the MP should apologise for the harm and distress he had caused. Mr Wells has yet to hear from Alan Meale even though it is over a month since the letter was sent to the MP's solicitor.
Mr Wells is a season ticket holder at Field Mill and is part of Stags Fans for Change (SFFC), the group that has been protesting about the alleged poor running of MTFC by its owner Keith Haslam.
SFFC have raised serious concerns and questions about how and why Mr Wells was identified and targeted for such action. SFFC spokesperson Graham Parker said: "Mr Meale is a scandalous hypocrite and should come clean about this whole sorry affair. He demands and apology from Mr Wells within 14 days and then does not have the decency to reply to his letter. Why was Mark singled out in this manner? Was it because he does not approve of Mr Haslam? We find it ironic that Mr Meale is canvassing to become Mayor of Mansfield under the heading "You deserve an apology" and yet it is Mr Meale that should apologise to Mark Wells! Are these really the appropriate actions of a prospective Mayor and a representative of the people?"
SFFC and Mr Wells also want to know how Mr Meale obtained Mr Wells' personal details. There are 13 different M Wells in the Mansfield BT directory; this Mark Wells is not one of them.
"Mark is a season ticket holder at Field Mill and the Club hold his personal details. Mr Meale is heavily involved with MTFC and is a big fan of the beleaguered owner, Keith Haslam. The question this affair poses is did Alan Meale MP use his position at the club to obtain private and personal information about Mark Wells? If this is the case then did Alan Meale MP and or MTFC breach of the Data Protection Act? We can think of no other way that Mr Meale could have obtained the personal details of the wrong Mark Wells and we demand to know the truth," said Graham Parker.
According to comments made by Mr Meale in The Chad newspaper, this story has only been releases to cause harm to his attempt to become Mayor of Mansfield, and yet it is Mr Meale who instigated this legal action. Mr Meale also claims that it is inappropriate to comment at this time because of the ongoing investigation into the defamation claim; and yet Mr Meale has already instructed his solicitors Martin Lee & Co to begin legal proceedings against Mr Wells. Why did the MP decide to start legal proceedings if the investigations were not complete and he was totally satisfied with the findings?
“This is typical of the obfuscation we are used to seeing from Mr Meale. He issues legal proceedings against an innocent member of the public demanding compensation for defamation and then claims that the two people he is seeking are hiding behind false names, won't make themselves known to him and that he is still carrying out an investigation. As usual the MP wants to have his cake and eat it, just as he is standing for Mayor while still retaining his seat in Parliament as MP for Mansfield. His defensive statements are shambolic and cannot hide the fact that he and his solicitor have made a massive blunder by trying to sue the wrong fan, “said SFFC representative Graham Parker
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