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UNIVERSITY OF SALFORD LIBEL LURCH
 

Star date: 21st December 2010

SALFORD UNIVERSITY SUES FORMER LECTURER

University of Salford v Dr Gary Duke
Manchester Civil Justice Centre
Old Bridge Street West
21st December 2010 2pm free

"Clearly the UK libel laws are abused by those with the deepest pockets who can instruct lawyers when they feel wronged. It's a law for the rich. That's why I believe this case is important and is about human rights."
Dr Gary Duke

Today sees the long awaited court case where the University of Salford sues its former lecturer, Dr Gary Duke, for libel in the Manchester Civil Justice Court. Unusually for a libel case, the guy accused of libel is quite looking forward to the court hearing…

Full details here…


It's a long story that began almost a year ago when students and lecturers fought against 150 job losses and course closures at the University of Salford (see here). The University cuts were brought in to save £13.5million over the next three years – while, of course, spending over £30million in fit out costs on its new MediaCityUK base, and paying a huge rent to Peel Media.

In the midst of the battle, a spoof news letter appeared from the `Vice Consul', basically taking the mick out of the University's bosses. Dr Gary Duke, a lecturer and PhD student who had been at the forefront of the fight against the cuts, was linked to the `news letter' and sacked for bringing the University of Salford into `disrepute'. Dr Duke's Employment Tribunal against his sacking is scheduled for early next year.

Meanwhile, a blog site sprung up on the net called The Rat Catchers Of The Sewers which continued taking the mick out of the University's establishment. Unfortunately Salford University's bosses didn't get the joke. They claim that Dr Duke has libelled senior management, including Martin Hall, Adrian Graves and Michael Harloeand have gone to extraordinary lengths, using public money, to prove their point.

Last month saw a court case in Manchester where a judge ordered blog site Wordpress to hand over IP addresses of those connected to the `Sewers' blog. Even though, we believe, the judge's jurisdiction didn't carry to the United States, Wordpress caved in and handed over the info.

Now the University is going back to court to get the personal details behind the IP addresses from Virgin Media Ltd. And, as part of this case Dr Adrian Graves, Salford University's registrar, has submitted a witness statement which lays out the basis of the University's allegations. Dr Duke states the claims are "interesting" and "forthright" and, inviting everyone to go to court today, adds that the hearing may prove "enlightening and contentious". Plus "You'll also get to see what your taxes buy in the shape of an expensive University barrister!"

But behind the banter the case has very serious implications about human rights and about the way that the University of Salford conducts its business in a less than transparent way.

As stated previously, the Salford Star has an official complaint lodged with the Information Commissioner about non-compliance under the Freedom of Information Act regarding the use of public money. Many others also have complaints lodged with the Information Commissioner, in what appears to be a systematic abuse of the Act. Unfortunately the community cannot afford lawyers to force the University to reveal information.

"There is a fundamental question that needs addressing" says Dr Duke "What is the role of a university? It should be to encourage debate, dissent and difference, to encourage freedom of expression and freedom of speech. This should be an automatic right to every student, worker, every citizen.

"Clearly the UK libel laws are abused by those with the deepest pockets who can instruct lawyers when they feel wronged" he adds "It's a law for the rich. That's why I believe this case is important and is about human rights."

Gary Duke refuses to give in to the University of Salford and is fighting the cabal of Vice Chancellors and bosses every inch of the way. He believes that this libel case is merely "legal bullying" in the run up to his Employment Tribunal in March next year.

Incredibly, the Chancellor of the University of Salford, Irene Zubaida, is the former General Secretary of Amnesty International, while the Vice Chancellor, Martin Hall, is known for his commitment to human rights while working as an academic in South Africa.

For further details please see previous Salford Star feature (with links to back articles) and Dr Duke's new blog site Vagrant In The Casual Ward of a Workhouse (click here).

University of Salford v Dr Gary Duke
Manchester Civil Justice Centre
Old Bridge Street West
21st December 2010 2pm free

Update: 22nd December 2010

The judge gave the University of Salford the Order for Virgin to divulge the account of the IP address as expected.

Full juicy details of the case to follow

 

Family Courts wrote
at 21:03:38 on 23 January 2011
My previous comment and public question was accurate and to the point, obviously Gary Duke has been unable to read the question or he has read the question but he is unable to think of an answer for whatever reason. Which suprises me really because he is so fast to enter into debate about other matters.
 
Hannah Alicia Roche wrote
at 12:05:00 on 23 December 2010
''What is catwaeazle doing teaching our kids anyway/ this individual should smarten up for a start'' Gary Duke is a reputable and smartly dressed man. Sure,he's had a turbulent year having to deal with the fat cats of Salford University. For someone who calls themselves Mr Grumpy,you're probably one of them fat cats yourself!
 
Family Courts wrote
at 12:04:53 on 23 December 2010
With regards to Gary Dukes opinion about human Rights; "...It's a law for the rich, That's why I believe this case is important and is about human rights..." Great so... $100 Million Questmion : What is the opinion of Gary Duke about human rights violations by CAFCASS and Secret Family Courts right here in the uk ? http://www.cafcass.gov.uk/ and the much more fundamental human rights issues with this is obviously an awkward question. To be specific: European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and Article 8: The right to respect for private and family life. I ask because nothing is in isolation and this misery inflicted on other peoples families funds the Duke household and Gary Duke in his noble crusade. ...and are you really poor Gary Duke or is that just a facade ? ...and you are hardly Sophie Scholl are you ?
 
Mr Grumpy wrote
at 10:43:17 on 22 December 2010
What is catwaeazle doing teaching our kids anyway/ this individual should smarten up for a start I should say that Duke would have had more of a case for free speech if he had put his name on the Blog in the first place. Anyway who ever heard of a University in Salford a complete Oxymoron if there ever was one.
 
David Xenry wrote
at 04:53:46 on 22 December 2010
Salford University are an utter disgrace. This crazy case is an insult to freedom of speech, a legal silencer designed to whitewash the university's corporate media image. Warning to all prospective students looking for reviews who happen to stumble on this page via google: Don't go there? Its the WORST university in the country, the facilities are decrepit ruins and the halls of residenceb are infested with damprot, vermin, bedbugs and raw sewage. Pastoral student support is nonexistant and unless your a pro at elitist public school field sport enthusiast then don't bother with the pathetic excuse of a students union. (just my experience/opinion) go on sue me too, love to see you try Mr Hall you overpaid pen pusher! GOOD LUCK Gary!
 
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