Saturday, 30 September 2017

Police to face Misconduct Hearing

Nearly five years after my complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) the officers who investigated the rape allegations, Detective Inspector Julian King and Detective Constable Phil Dial, are facing a formal misconduct hearing.

The reason that I took out a Private Prosecution against Eleanor in the first place was that the police refused to investigate her for lying, despite there being a mountain of strong evidence.

This report is really important because it contradicts everything Mr de Freitas was saying to the press. The truth was the Police Officers did not do a proper job.

The report says the Police Officers:

1. Refused to watch CCTV evidence.
2. Never examined the telephone downloads which contained crucial text messages.
3. Never asked Ms de Freitas about inconsistencies in her story.
4. Did not speak to important witnesses.
5. "Told Mr Economou to go away and collect the evidence himself"


This was also reported by the Daily Mail, see it here. The officers will face a public misconduct hearing at a later date and more details will emerge then.


Tuesday, 26 September 2017

David de Freitas faces bankruptcy

In an extraordinary turn of events I have just found out that David de Freitas is now facing bankruptcy himself.

What on earth is going on?

Almost a year ago Mr de Freitas had issued bankruptcy proceedings against me. The petition was based on an order to make an interim payment of £400,000 costs in the libel case which I had lost. I hadn't paid the £400,000 and so they were chasing me for bankruptcy.

There had been several hearings and the bankruptcy petition had been adjourned again and again, this was because I was appealing the judgement.

We were due to have another hearing on the 26th September 2017 at 11am at the Rolls Building of the High Court.

It was going to be very simple. I had agreed with Mr de Freitas lawyers to an adjourn the petition until after the appeal, which was fairly logical. The appeal is on April 17-18 2018, so we would adjourn after then.

On the morning of the 26th September off I went to the High Court. I had some time to kill so I paid £11 to do some searches on the court database of bankruptcy petitions etc. I wanted to see what my case looked like on the system.

And then I thought, well lets just type David de Freitas into the system and see what happens.

And then guess what? I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

It turned out that HMRC had made a statutory demand against Mr de Freitas the month before, for alleged unpaid taxes. How weird was this?

Even weirder still when I checked the courts listings his case was the same day. His case was being heard one hour after mine as 12pm and in the same court room.

So the guy who has been trying to bankrupt me is now facing bankruptcy himself. The whole thing was truly bizarre.

For the sake of accuracy I must say that I don't actually know the outcome of Mr de Freitas case. As far as I know he is not bankrupt, but it is correct to say he is fighting early stages of bankruptcy action by HMRC. All I know is that HMRC made a statutory demand, which is the first stage in bankruptcy proceedings, regarding £90,0000 of unpaid taxes, he had made an application to have it set aside and I believe that the application is what was being heard that day. The outcome is not know yet.

David de Freitas name pops up on the computer screen.



Both our names are on the same cause list for 26th September 2017




Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Good News: Appeal listed for 17 April 2018

Good news. The libel case is going to an appeal which will be heard 17-18 April 2018. Click here to see details of the appeal listing.

In June we had a short one hour hearing to lift the £400,000 condition to appeal. The judge ruled that I didn't have to pay the £400,000, but unfortunately ruled that I had to pay £120,000 as security.

Despite the good news I am grumpy about the £120,000. Quite frankly this condition to pay £120,000 to appeal is deeply unfair. In the last 5 years I have paid out over £1m in legal fees trying to defend my name. My flat is mortgaged up to the hilt and I have pretty much run out of money. I am going for broke on this now.

Whilst at the same time David de Freitas is represented by an army of lawyers who are on a "no win no fee" arrangement. If I lose they will charge me double fees at over £1200 per hour as their "success fee".

These are specialist lawyers, his lead counsel is Manual Barca QC who is in the top 10 defamation lawyers in the country as well as another junior barrister and 4 other solicitors. To date David de Freitas has spent absolutely nothing on legal fees; he had publicly accused me of raping his daughter; got away with it; drained me of cash and now holding me to ransom again.

If David de Freitas loses, well he won't pay me anything because he has no money in the first place. If I win then I still lose. I only took David de Freitas to court because he would not shut up and continued accusing me of rape for months. What else was I supposed to do? Let him continue to accuse me of rape and roll over like a dog?

Ok, end of rant. But it does pose a lot of questions about the justice system. If you are innocent and publicly accused of rape then be prepared to sacrifice everything you've got, to just try to get your life back.

The fight will continue to clear my name. It will continue on April 17th 2018.






Thursday, 22 December 2016

Court of Appeal - a £400,000 problem

So today I got permission to appeal the libel case. That was good news.

But there was a twist. The court granted the appeal hearing on condition that I pay £400,000 within 14 days.

If I don't pay £400,00 then there's no appeal hearing...

On top of the actual appeal of the libel case I now have to appeal the £400,000 condition. This is not simple. Today is the 23rd December and I have only 7 days to fill in the application form to request a the hearing to get that £400,000 condition removed. Then we can go to the actual appeal itself.

So complicated.

And a lot of hard work. This isn't going to be simple. If i want to lift the £400,000 condition then I need to disclose all of my finances to the court and to David de Freitas and his lawyers. The process is extremely intrusive.

Mr de Freitas will now get to see all my bank statements, see where I do my shopping, he'll get all my tax returns etc etc.

I spent all night long, sorting out my papers. I didn't leave my office until 4am. It was exhausting and just terribly depressing. Here is a short video I took:






Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Permission to Appeal

Good news! I have permission to appeal the libel judgement. If it goes to appeal and I get the judgement overturned then I won't be going bankrupt anymore.

We applied for permission to appeal back in September, and for the last three months the court for appeal have been reviewing the case papers.

The court of appeal has read through the papers and have written to following:

"The learned judge's judgement was long and careful. I am nevertheless persuaded that for the reasons set out in Counsel's skeleton argument there is a realist prospect of persuading the court that he was wrong to regard the section 4 defence as established particularly in circumstances where as the judge observed there was much to be said for the appellant's legal analysis and the defendant was pursuing a media strategy which does not appeal to have recognised any need for reference to the appellants side of the story and his answer to the serious allegations made against him. In addition the appeal raises important questions about the ambit of the section 4 defence in cases of this kind.

I am also persuaded that there is a realist prospect of persuading the full court that the judge was wrong to find that the claimant would have suffered no serious harm to his reputation or its likelihood as a result of the 3 November items"

See below:





Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Bankruptcy Proceedings: David de Freitas trying to bankrupt me

Today David de Freitas issued bankruptcy proceedings against me.

I lost the libel case in July and was ordered to pay David de Freitas 90% of his legal costs including a £400,000 "interim payment". So far I haven't paid, because I don't have that kind of money.

I contact the lawyers and they say I need to turn up at court on the 7th February at the High Court where I will be made bankrupt. I will lose everything. Unless I can pay £400,000 before then, or unless I get permission from the court of appeal, to appeal my case. We are still waiting for an answer...

It's depressing.  I have nothing more to say.

See below.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Libel Case: Judgment Day

I already know what the judgement is. The judge gave all the parties a draft of the judgement 3 days ago, but I wasn't allowed to tell anyone until it was handed down.

I was at a friends wedding in Cyprus when I found out the news. It was Monday and I was about to drive back to the airport. It was going to be a long drive of around three hours.

At the conclusion of the libel trial the judge indicated that he would hand down the judgement within a few weeks. Six weeks had now passed.

After breakfast, just as I was about to check out of the hotel I received a text message from my lawyer saying "judgement has arrived". We agreed on those words, so not to give the game away. I would call him when I was ready to hear the news.... and he would reveal all.

It was July 25th 2016, and Mr de Freitas defamatory press campaign had taken place 17 months ago.

It had been a long 17 months and I was up to my eyeballs in debt with my own legal costs. The costs had spiralled out of control. We are talking hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Unlike me, Mr de Freitas had not spent a penny on lawyers. He was represented by "no win no fee" lawyers. The lawyers took his case on because if they won they could charge a 100% "uplift fee". Essentially they could double their fees if they won and I would have to foot the bill.

If they won I would have to write him a cheque for £1.2m as well as having paid all of my own legal costs. If he won I would be paying out over £2m.

I called my lawyer Colin to find out the news. I was standing outside. I was almost out of breath in anticipation. "Colin, tell me... tell me what the result is..."

He paused, and slowly said, "It's bad news, you have lost".

I almost fainted. I couldn't believe it. I was now £2m in debt. I was going lose everything I own. I was going bankrupt.

The drive back to the airport was horrible. I gave two people a lift and I just couldn't speak. I was lost in my own thoughts of the horror of having lost this case.

This wasn't supposed to happen. In two days time the press will be saying I lost. I should have been the other way around. I was devastated.

But how could I have lost?


I had looked at the judgement. It was over 100 pages long. We did in fact prove everything we needed to prove. The judge agreed that:

1. David de Freitas was responsible for making the statements.
2. His statements implied I was guilty of rape and they were seriously defamatory.
3. His statements caused serious harm to my reputation.

But the judge said that "David de Freitas free speech rights" was more important that repairing my reputation and that it was more important for Mr de Freitas to be able to talk about his dead daughter freely in the press, even if he was accused me of rape which wasn't true.

At no point did David de Freitas even attempt to show that what he was saying was true. The truth was not pleaded at trial. Instead he had won on a "public interest defence" which was based on a "reasonable belief" that what he was saying was in the public interest.

It was a crazy judgement. How can lying to the press be reasonable?

What was the point of having libel laws, if people can accused you of rape and get away with it, when they didn't even try to prove what they were saying was correct?

On the 27th July we all turned up at court and the judge handed down the judgement. It went public. Within a few hours the news that i had lost my libel case was all over the Internet. The next day it was in the front page of the Daily Telegraph.

Worse was to come though. The judge ordered me to pay David de Freitas legal costs and I had to pay an "interim payment" £400,000 within two months, otherwise I was going bankrupt...


Newspapers on display at a petrol station the day after I lost the case.






Friday, 1 July 2016

Something funny happened that I forgot to mention

Something I forgot to mention last week...

I was about to cross the street when the person I was with turned to me and said,"Look who it is!"

I looked up and opposite me on the other side of the road about to cross to my side was Judge Tan Ikram.

I couldn't believe it. This was the judge that had acquitted me of harassment two weeks before!

What are the chances???

We both clocked each other as we were about to cross the road. I nodded my head in a 'thank you' gesture and he gave me a cheeky grin as he walked past as if to say 'you're welcome' and he disappeared into the distance.

It made my day. He is my hero. He found me not guilty and understood what had really been going on. Thank you Judge Tan Ikram.

Judge Tan Ikram




Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Libel Case: The Trial

Finally we were at trial.

Ten days ago I was acquitted of harassment. Now all I had to do was win the libel case and I was on a home run.

The libel case was very complicated.

We were complaining about 7 sets of publications. There was one Radio interview, one TV interview and 5 newspaper articles.

All of this occurred over a period of 5 weeks, between the 6th November 2014 to the 10th December 2014.

Each publication would have to be examined very carefully. The meaning of the words words have to be established, and whether it caused serious harm.

Our case was very strong. It was strong because I warned Mr de Freitas that I would take legal action after the first publication, but he continued defaming me.

Our case was that he continued defaming me over 5 weeks and each time I contacted his lawyers to protest at what he was saying, telling him that it wasn't true.

If he had stopped after the first defamatory statement then he might have been excused for making an honest mistake but he ploughed on regardless. There was no defence.

This trial was very long and complicated. It was much less exciting than the harassment trial. There were lots of complicated arguments between the lawyers citing many authorities.

The trial lasted for 7 full days. We were in courtroom 13 of the Royal Court of Justice, a big Gothic building in the strand. That's the room where many of the famous libel cases have been heard over the years. Hamilton v Fayed, Aitken v Guardian, Archer v The Star, and Mitchell v Newgroup. Unfortunately most libel cases fail. Libel is a very difficult thing to litigate. As the case progressed I looked around the room imagining the various parties over he years giving evidence from the witness box. This was a place of history with it's old wooden pews, stained glass windows and three foot thick stone walls.

On the final morning each party gave a closing speech and that was it. Time to wait.

I was feeling confident. There had been no surprises at trial, it went how we expected it to go. Mr de Freitas and his witness didn't say anything terribly helpful in his defence.

But this was to be the first time the section 4 defence had been deployed in a libel case. So it was new territory for the judge. The Defamation Act 2013 was relatively new, so there was an element of uncertainty.

What is the section 4 defence?
In libel cases usually the person making the defamatory statement has to prove that what they are saying is true. If they can't prove it was true then they lose. In this case David de Freitas was not going to go down that path. He was not pleading the truth. He was pleading a section 4 defence.

The section 4 defence is really designed to protect journalists, should they make an innocent mistake and can show responsible journalism. If a journalist wrote what he believed was an impartial story and accidentally libelled someone then they would be pardoned by the court if they had acted in a responsible manner.

Over the years the libel courts had come up with the following checklist, which is often referred to as the Reynolds Defence named after Albert Reynolds libel case. The court of appeal has previously ruled that:

Depending on the circumstances, the matters to be taken into account include the following. The comments are illustrative only.

1. The seriousness of the allegation. The more serious the charge, the more the public is misinformed and the individual harmed, if the allegation is not true.

2. The nature of the information, and the extent to which the subject-matter is a matter of public concern.

3. The source of the information. Some informants have no direct knowledge of the events. Some have their own axes to grind, or are being paid for their stories.
The steps taken to verify the information.

4. The status of the information. The allegation may have already been the subject of an investigation which commands respect.

5. The urgency of the matter. News is often a perishable commodity.

6. Whether comment was sought from the plaintiff. He may have information others do not possess or have not disclosed. An approach to the plaintiff will not always be necessary.

7. Whether the article contained the gist of the plaintiff's side of the story.

8. The tone of the article. A newspaper can raise queries or call for an investigation. It need not adopt allegations as statements of fact.

9. The circumstances of the publication, including the timing.

This list is not exhaustive. The weight to be given to these and any other relevant factors will vary from case to case. Any disputes of primary fact will be a matter for the jury, if there is one. The decision on whether, having regard to the admitted or proved facts, the publication was subject to qualified privilege is a matter for the judge. This is the established practice and seems sound. A balancing operation is better carried out by a judge in a reasoned judgement than by a jury. Over time, a valuable corpus of case law will be built up.

In order to win the case Mr de Freitas would have to show that he followed the above checklist or at least a large proportion of it. Let's go through above list, in terms of my case:

1. He accused me of rape, and did not plead a case of truth at trial.

2.  It was agreed that rape or false allegations are of public concern (as opposed to kiss and tells story that wouldn't be)

3. He had his own axe to grind, he was an angry father. He also knew what he was saying was untrue.

4. The Director of Public Prosecutions had personally met Mr de Freitas and told him about the CCTV and text messages, yet he went to the press and said the opposite.

5. There was no urgency. His daughter had died 6 months before. He gave me no prior warning of his press campaign to prevent me speaking out at the same time and putting my side of the story.

6. He knew my side of the story, I told him to stop lying but he kept on lying regardless.

7. He never gave a gist of my side of the story of mentioned CCTV evidence to the press.

8. The tone was factual, as if he had special information that no one else knew.

9. He had ambushed the Director of Public Prosecutions statement, publishing his own article within 24hrs in order to confuse the general public.

Whatever the result of the judgement this was likely to go to court of appeal for a second opinion, this was new territory. Now we just and to wait and see what the outcome is. Fingers crossed...

Royal Courts of Justice

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Harassment Trial: Judgement Day

I had been on edge for the last week. There is nothing worse that waiting for exams results, but this was ten times worse.

The verdict was going to be handed down by District Judge Tan Ikram at 10am.

The charge of harassment was actually relatively minor, which is why the case has been heard by a district judge and not a jury. The worst that could happen would be six months in prison, or more realistically community service.

But if found guilty the press would have a field day. They would destroy me. I dreaded the thought of the words Guilty being printed in large letters next to my name, all over Google. Especially that I was the victim of a false rape accusation. There wold be terribly confusion. "Guilty of rape?" people would probably ask themselves, confusing the harassment allegations with the rape allegations.

The day before I had spoken to a friend in PR on what to do if it was a guilty verdict. He said wear a plain blue tie and a suit. Blue is a fairly neutral colour. If the press ask you anything just say "All I ever wanted was to clear my name".

I was ready for the worst. The verdict rested on whether I had been objectively "reasonable". If the judge could understand what had happened he would rule that i had been reasonable and find in my favour. But I was up against the father of a dead girl. Mr de Freitas had been in floods of tears throughout the trial.

I got in a taxi and headed towards Westminster Magistrates Court. No photographers were outside which was good. I went through security and up to the first floor. The verdict was going to be read out in Court Room One, the biggest room.

I met my lawyer Colin and he started to speak to the prosecutor William Emlyn Jones.

Outside the court room was David de Freitas, his niece Lizzie Noel waiting to go in, as well as well as a few other supporters of the family.

There were also members of the press.

We go into the court room. Sitting in front of me is my solicitor Collin and just to his right is the prosecutor William Emlyn-Jones.

The public gallery is right at the back of the court room. Journalists are on the ready with their note pads resting on their knees. Meanwhile I can feel Mr de Freitas starting at me.

The judge enters the room and takes his position. We all rise and sit back down. There is silence and the judge starts the formalities. I'm expecting him to quickly deliver his verdict, but he doesn't.


The judge has written a lengthy judgement and he's going to read through all of it and only at the very end will he give his verdict.

The next 15 minutes is going to be torture.

I can almost hear the ticking of the clock opposite. It's now 10 18 a.m. I'm looking at the second hand and clenching every muscle of my body preparing for the worst.

I haven't slept too well in the last week. Not knowing the result of something is the worst thing. I'm wide awake now and I keep thinking to myself how did I get here?

How did I get into the situation? It feels so surreal. It feels like the beginning of a novel where you wake up in a strange place and wonder how you got there. The clock in front of me keeps ticking. Tick, tock.

David de Freitas keeps staring at me, it's like he's burning a hole through my head. He wants a guilty verdict so badly, but I am innocent. I am in fact the victim in this entire situation.

And then all of a sudden the Judge says: "I find the defendant not guilty".

And that's it. I can't believe it.

I have agreed with my lawyers (and best friend who is supporting me) that no matter what the outcome we shall show no emotion in front of the press.

A minute later I reconvened with my lawyers and best friend in a briefing room round the side of the court room. We close the door. We are all smiling. I can not believe it. They are congratulating me. It was the best feeling i the world. I make a few phone calls to close friends and family to tell them the good news.

I am cleared!

"We're going to Clarridges" says my best friend, "I'm going to buy you champagne, we're going to celebrate!".

It was not even 11am and yet we were drinking Champagne at the bar at Clarridges.

I still couldn't believe it.

We were still at Claridges and hadn't even got through the first bottle when the news started to be published online. "Cleared" it said in big letters next to my name. People started to call and congratulate me.

Full Judgement can be read here.


Relaxing at home in my green sweatpants reading about the good news in London's Evening Standard. 

An extract from the Judgement:






Friday, 27 May 2016

Harassment Trial: Part 3

Yesterday was the first day of the trial. David de Freitas had taken the stand was playing the role of the quivering victim. He was saying how frightened he was, how scared he was of me and how scared he was of going to court.

And guess what I found online?

A video online of him posing for the cameras outside the court. Then there were pictures of him posing with his nieces. He wasn't afraid at all, in fact he loved the attention, the publicity. 




At 10 am we were back in court. Another witness would give evidence this morning for the prosecution and then it was my turn.

The witness that morning was Sebastian Gosden-Hood. In fact his full name is Sebastian Noel Cavendish Gosden-Hood. His father is John Gosden, a famous horse trainer. When Sebastian took the witness stand and gave his name it was ridiculous. It was like, who the hell is this guy? He had said not even started to give evidence and already came across as a pompous idiot.

Sebastian and I had been friends back in 2007. We used to play football together and we had had a falling out of some trivial matter a few years ago, but we never spoke again after that.

Here he was going to give evidence against me. He was best friends with Lizzie Noel, who is Eleanor's cousin. His loyalty was with Lizzie and the de Freitas family.

Sebastian Gosden is known to embellish, exaggerate and to lie (amongst my circle of friends).  But what he didn't know is that I had evidence to prove it.

Sebastian took the witness stand and started to give evidence. And then boom, ambush time! My lawyer Colin handed him a document which had various text messages on it. Text messages from two years ago.

Ever since I was accused of rape I have kept all records. No one keeps text messages for two years, but I did. Sebastian wasn't banking on that. He was telling the court about something I told him and about various messages that I'd sent him, yet I had the messages that showed the opposite. 

It threw him. He was all over the place. Stuttering away. 

After his evidence one of my friends who was watching from the public gallery asked me: "Sebastian Gosden-Hood, who is that guy, is he a heroin addict?"

I am not joking. He was like the comedy witness. His evidence was so far fetched and inconsistent it was like a joke. He was even referring to the judge as "dude".

After lunchtime it was to take the stand. My turn. I was nervous as hell. Last night I had only slept about 3 hours. I had been searching for this one document and it took me hours to find. 

In the morning I needed to get up early to go running. The run would calm my nerves for the entire day and help me think. It was better that I was tired but clear headed.

The whole case was really about me. The verdict rested on my shoulders. I needed to justify that what I did was " objectively reasonable" in the eyes of the law. 

Essentially I needed to show that:

1. I sent letters to David de Freitas and his lawyers in response to the press, which was wrongly asserting that I had raped his daughter. And that the letters were designed to deter further defamatory remarks and no more.

2. I had set up a website (which contained mainly CCTV and images of Eleanor as a prostitute)  to counter the false allegations that were all over the Internet and no more.

And that's what I explained to the court. First I gave my "evidence in chief", which is when you tell your side of the story, with my lawyer Colin asking, "what happened next" and I kept telling my story. I spoke of all the press, the death threat, and wanting to clear my name.

Next came cross examination. William Emlyn Jones was the prosecutor. And he was good. He was so good. It was scary.

Rule no. 1 is always tell the truth in court. If you lie you are dead meat, and it's also a very serious criminal offence.

Bill Emyln-Jones - aka "the shark" started his cross examination, but I was shooting him down on every point. I was innocent here and I was going to show him who was the victim. I had been the victim of a malicious press campaign, not de Freitas. 

Every question was a leading question which would often finish with the words "isn't it" or "isn't that right". Every now and then he would say "That's a pack of lies Mr Economou" or "I put it to to you that..."

It was brutal. I was in the witness box for an hour but it felt like three hours.

Then came a question that really threw me. This was the sharks "piece de resistance". I had previously explained I created the website for the world to see, so they could see Eleanor was a liar and that i was innocent.

Bill Emlyn-Jones: "Mr Economou, who else out of all the people in the world would be the the person most interested in this case?"

There was a silence and I sheepishly replied, "David de Freitas", there was no other answer. I thought  I was a gonner.

After an hour of cross examination the trial concluded with closing arguments and the judge said he would give his verdict on June 2nd, which was almost a week away.

David de Freitas poses for photographers outside court with his nieces.