A British court has ruled against Vladimir Bukovsky's libel suit against the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
In brief (background here, verdict here, Bukovsky statement below), Bukovsky sued the CPS for libel over its public announcement in May 2015 that he was to be prosecuted for "making" five images of child pornography. This term of legal art, Bukovsky argued logically, implies to the average person that he was to be prosecuted as a child pornographer for "making" five images of child pornography. In fact, the state's criminal case against Bukovsky, which will come to court in December, will turn on whether Bukovsky possesed five mages of child pornography on his laptop -- which was very mysteriously seized by British authorities in October 2014.
Bukovsky denies all charges, and, further, sees his public torment as the latest phases in his 57-year-battle against the Russian intelligence behemoth.
A burning question remains as to why British authorities suddenly decided in October 2014 to seize the laptop of one of Britain's leading citizens, a man of unsurpassed moral standing, living quietly, peacefully, lawfully in Cambridge. Who or what tipped them off?
Remember, this is the same Britain whose British authorities have for years turned the blindest, coldest and most amoral eye to the despoliation of thousands and thousands of British girls throughout the country who have been sexually abused and marketed by Muslim "grooming gangs."
A world hero's laptop suddenly poses a threat to children's safety? Where did this bizarre notion come from?
Might the CPS's April 2015 prosecution announcement have had anything to do with Bukovsky's most recent service to truth and justice, his testimony in March 2015 implicating the Putin regime in the belated inquiry in the 2006 assassination by polonium of ex-Russian-spy Alexander Litvinenko?
There is something else to consider, which I recently learned from the new website set up to track the Bukovsky trials. In December 2006, little more than a week after Litvinenko's excruciating death by polonium, The Guardian reported that five men, Vladimir Bukovsky among them, were on a hitlist circulating Russian intelligence. Two of them, Litvinenko and Boris Berezovsky, are now dead. Another man -- Italian security expert Mario Scarmella, a consultant to the Mitrokhin commission, set up to investigate KGB activities in Italy, and whom Litvinenko had assisted -- was also poisoned with polonium, but recovered.
Now Bukovsky's heroic, spotless reputation -- his life's legacy -- is under attack: conceivably, a different kind of assassination attempt. It makes one wonder why these CPS charges were trumpeted online in the most reputation-damaging, and also most unusual fashion, as explained here.
It is impotant to recall that when the CPS charges came down -- again, one month after Bukovsky's Litvinenko testimony -- Bukovsky was suffering from a such a grave illness, as Claire Berlinski has discussed, that he would seem to have had no possible chance to mount his own defense. According to the medical odds, Bukovsky "should" have died last summer with these most toxic charges of making child pornography as his epitaph.
To Putin's great delight.
From the repeated delays, the failure to clarify its prosecution announcement, even, incredibly, the gag ruling that was imposed on an earlier court hearing, and today's verdict, it would seem the British justice system is doing what it can to ensure it.
See below for Bukovsky's statement addressing today's ruling:
Press release of Vladimir Bukovsky
28 July 2016
The CPS has made no allegations of Vladimir Bukovsky’s involvement in sexual abuse of children, the High Court has ruled today. The judgement of Mr. Justice Warby in Mr. Bukovsky’s libel claim against the CPS states: “Mr Bukovsky has not been charged with or accused of being a participant in or present at the scene of any child sex abuse, or of taking photographs of such abuse. The CPS has not alleged, and does not allege, that he was guilty of or reasonably suspected of any such conduct.”
The judgement is a victory for the CPS, who has staunchly denied that it “libelled” Mr. Bukovsky in its press-release on April last year.
The press-release alleged that Mr. Bukovsky was charged with “five counts of making an indecent photograph of a child contrary to section 1(a) of the Protection of Children Act 1978”, and five separate counts of “possession” of such photographs. This Monday, barrister Greg Callus, representing Mr. Bukovsky, argued in Court that “to an ordinary and reasonable reader of the mainstream media outlets who published the Charging Announcement, “making” a photographic image means using some kind of camera equipment to produce a 2-D depiction of something that the photographer is witnessing in their immediate environment.”
However, Aidan Eardley, representing the CPS, argued that the CPS press-release did not libel Mr. Bukovsky, since it did not suggest Mr. Bukovsky was accused of being involved in sexual abuse of children. “A reasonable reader would recognise that the charges were described in legal language and conclude (and conclude no more than) that the Claimant was accused of having committed the elements of the specified offences, whatever they might be”, Mr. Eardley submitted on behalf of the CPS.
Mr. Justice Warby agreed with the CPS interpretation of its press-release. His judgement reads: “I agree with Mr Eardley that the public at large know that words can have special and precise meanings when used in statutes, and by lawyers. They know that this can apply to words that seem quite ordinary, such as “making” and “possession”. I do not accept that the ordinary reasonable reader would treat the ordinary English words in this announcement in the same way as they would treat them if spoken or written by a journalist, or by a friend in ordinary conversation… It is possible, I suppose, that some reader might think that Mr Bukovsky played the role of the photographer. But that would represent supposition or speculation.”
Mr. Bukovsky’s lawyers are now preparing an appeal against the judgement.
Mr. Bukovsky said today: “This is simply a whitewash. The CPS allegations against me were repeated by all the media, shocked the whole world, ruined my reputation - and now I am told that they were never made! This is outrageous. For 15 months they tried to insinuate through all sorts of media outlets, that I am some kind of a pedophile and now they say: Oh, no, we did not mean that. Nothing sexual, strictly business. Only unreasonable reader could see such meaning. And yet, even now they make no attempt to correct their announcement, it is still on their website in exactly the same language which, as they now must know for sure, is at best controversial. I am still charged with "making" those images, although it was just established in court that I did not participate in their production.”