My First Summons against BBC

On 17 Jan 1997 I wrote a "letter before action" to the BBC, complaining of harassment by BBC newscasters and warning that I would sue the BBC if they did not respond adequately. I sent copies of the letter to Martyn Lewis and Michael Buerk, both of whom had personally spied on me at home while they read the news.

Viewer and Listener Correspondence
BBC Villiers House
The Broadway, Ealing
London W5 2PA

Dear Sirs,

Copies of this letter have also been sent to Martyn Lewis and Michael Buerk.

My reason for writing to you is that I wish to bring a complaint about harassment from the BBC TV News programmes. Since summer 1990 BBC newsreaders have spied on me by looking into my living room at home in Clapham while they read the news. This has formed part of a wider harassment against me, at work and elsewere. I came to this conclusion both on the basis of facial and verbal expressions of those reading the news in reaction to things happening in my home, and on the basis of other incidents where it was openly stated that this was happening. The actual spying is in my belief carried out by a hitherto unidentified third party, and has occurred in other locations, namely at a neighbour's in Cavendish Road, and in accommodation at Oxford in 1992/93.

You may or may not be aware of some other aspects of the harassment which have been quite unpleasant, namely harassment at my previous and current workplaces by verbatim repetition of phrases spoken at my home and accommodation, harassment in public places by strangers, and harassment during travel by people planted there for that purpose. I believe the current purpose of the harassment is to force me to kill myself to prevent the harassers, yourselves included, from being brought to justice, and last year there were several incidents of people shouting "suicide" at me, which would appear to corroborate that view.

I seek specific answers to the following questions from you;

  1. confirmation or denial to the accusation that you have been watching me (or anyone else) in the manner described at any point during 1990-97;
  2. if your answer to (1) is a denial, whether you would be willing to make that denial on oath in the form of an affidavit;
  3. if your answer to (1) is a confirmation, please identify the "unknown third party".

If I do not receive a satisfactory reply to this letter within three weeks of its being sent, ie by Friday 7 February, or if you deny the accusation but decline to do so on oath, then I will issue a summons against you at my local county court (Wandsworth) seeking to compel you to answer the accusation by means of an affidavit.

Yours sincerely,

The BBC informed me that they had spoken to Michael Buerk and Martyn Lewis, and that these two newscasters had categorically denied spying on me. However, the BBC and these two employees have refused to put these denials in writing. Needless to say, I do not accept the denials of the BBC and its employees. I think they are lying. Unfortunately I cannot prove otherwise, and my attempt to "smoke them out" by suing them hit a brick wall.

bbcinfo

Because the BBC's response was unsatisfactory, in February 1997 I issued proceedings against them for the tort of nuisance, claiming damages.

At the time the Protection from Harassment Act did not yet exist, so I was forced to claim for the tort of private nuisance. The BBC's lawyers cynically sought an order for my action to be struct out as disclosing no reasonable cause of action, and/or being scandalous, frivolous or vexatious. The hearing took place at Wandsworth County Court on 6 Mar 1997. It was an open and shut case; the district judge saw no possibility of my claims being true, and acceded to the BBC's demands to strike out my claim.