Friday, 23 November 2018

Metropolitan Police pay me £10,000 in general damages.

The Metropolitan Police have paid me £10,000 in compensation [see consent order below] with regards to the very serious misconduct of Detective Inspector Julian King and Detective Constable Phil Dial in which they:

- Both refused to watch CCTV evidence I provided them with, and never looked at text messages that showed Eleanor de Freitas had lied.

- Both knew that Eleanor de Freitas had a history of making false rape complaints, but let her get away with it.

- Detective Inspector King also breached the data protection act releasing my confidential information  to the de Freitas family without my consent.

Last year, the Daily Mail briefly reported the Police Misconduct. Click here to see the article. The officers are still under investigation by the IPCC and are facing a misconduct hearing at some point in the future. The outcome of that investigation is not yet known and that procedure is separate from my case against the police. Both officers were unavailable for comment, but have previously denied the allegations made against them and continue to do so.

As well as receiving compensation from the police, it is possible that the officers will face disciplinary action if they are found guilty.

Watch this space.


Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Court of Appeal Judgement (Alexander Economou v David de Freitas)

PRESS STATEMENT OF ALEXANDER ECONOMOU ON TODAYS COURT OF APPEAL DECISION 21/11/2018

==START==

Four years ago David de Freitas made a series of defamatory allegations in the national press implying I had raped his daughter. At the time my family received death threats and my life was turned upside down [see here] .

I asked him to stop and threatened legal action [see here] but Mr de Freitas continued to repeat his allegations. It was after the fifth defamatory statement that I commenced legal proceedings.

Several months later his lawyers stated that he would continue going to the press and that nothing could prevent him from repeating the 'words complained of' [see here].

I had two choices: Do nothing and be labelled a rapist for the rest of my life, or go to court, clear my name and get an injunction preventing repetition.

A trial date was set for June 2016. Three months before trial I made a 'without prejudice' offer asking for nominal damages of £1 and 25% of my legal costs to settle the case, on condition Mr de Freitas accepted liability. All I ever wanted was to clear my name. [see here]

I never received any response to my settlement offer and the trial went ahead. The judge accepted that David de Freitas had caused serious harm to my reputation but ruled that his free speech rights were more important and gave him a special immunity known as the 'public interest defence'. My defamation claim was dismissed.

I appealed the judgement and today, after a further two years of legal battles, the court of appeal dismissed my claim.

I am incredibly disappointed. In a nutshell this judgement says that it was perfectly legal for Mr de Freitas to wrongly accuse me of raping his daughter, on five separate occasions and in the face of evidence which showed I was innocent. Mr de Freitas never advanced a defence of truth or honest opinion.

This is the first time the 'public interest defence' has been successfully deployed. It is not without controversy because it allows the innocent to be wrongly accused, whilst the accuser is given complete immunity.

To see the legal reasons why I think this judgement is wrong click here.

==END=

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Still awaiting the result of the appeal, as the Summer legal term comes to an end on the 31st July.

The appeal was heard on 17 and 18th April and was reserved for judgement. There is unfortunately no way of telling when it will be handed down. Being a complicated case I anticipated several months.

The Summer legal term comes to an end on July 31st, and Autumn term resumes on October 1st. So there won't be a judgment handed down during that period. 

Although the wait is a little frustrating, it's nice to know that no 'life changing' judgement will be arriving in my email inbox for a couple of months. 

It could go either way. And the result could be potentially be very scary.

And now, it's time to relax and forget about the case for a couple of months.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC MP says: It was right for the prosecution of Eleanor de Freitas to go ahead.

After careful consideration, the Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC MP has decided not to order an independent inquiry into the prosecution of Eleanor De Freitas.

The request for a new inquiry or review was made by Ms De Freitas’ father David De Freitas. Ms De Freitas was charged with perverting the course of justice by the Crown Prosecution Service in 2014.

The Attorney concluded that there has already been a sufficient review of the case within the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), including by Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecution. The internal review process carefully considered the points that Mr De Freitas and others have raised, and reasonable conclusions have already been reached.

Commenting on his decision, the Attorney General said:

I recognise that this was a difficult case with a tragic outcome and I extend my deepest sympathies to Mr De Freitas and his family. However, I have carefully considered the concerns raised by Mr De Freitas and I am satisfied that this case has already been subject to extensive scrutiny within the CPS, and that it was right for the prosecution to go ahead.


Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC MP

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Five days to go until the hearing, but what is my appeal about?

Recap

In 2014 David de Freitas ran a coordinated press campaign, saying that I had raped his daughter and got away with it. Mr de Freitas held himself to be an "expert" on the case, and the press believed every word he said. 

It was not the press' fault, because they reasonably believed that Mr de Freitas had told them the truth. Before he went to the press, Mr de Freitas had in his possession full details of CCTV and text message evidence that showed there was strong evidence to show his daughter had lied. But he did not tell the press about that. He concealed those facts and went even further than that. He said there was "no evidence" that his daughter had lied, which was not true at all.

Mr de Freitas press campaign started on 6th November 2014. Within a few hours of seeing the press I notified Mr de Freitas via a hand delivered letter that everything he was telling the press was wrong.

Mr de Freitas ignored everything I had to say, and continued accusing me of rape. The next day he told the Today Programme on Radio 4 at 8:10am that I had probably raped his daughter. Later that day he went on BBC News TV and said the same thing.

I continued to protest my innocence to his lawyer Harriet Wistrich. I sent 27 emails showing them the evidence that proved I was innocent. But Mr de Freitas would not stop. In fact he accused me of "harassment". [NB I was later put on trial for this supposed "harassment" and was acquitted].

A month later, on 9th December 2014, David de Freitas continued his allegations in the Guardian and Telegraph Newspapers, continuing to assert that I had probably raped his daughter. At this point I decided to sue for libel. David de Freitas was on a mission and would not stop unless restrained by a court order. 

I issued my claim in March 2015. He filed his defence a month later. In the run up to the trial my lawyers asked Mr de Freitas (via part 18 questions) if he would continue going to the press. The reply came back that he would continue going to the press and nothing could prevent him from repeating his allegations. See image below.

If Mr de Freitas had reassured me that he would stop making false accusations then I would have no reason to sue. And so the case continued to trial...

In June 2016 there was an 8 day trial. At the end of trial the judge agreed that David de Freitas press campaign was based on false statements; that were highly defamatory and caused "serious harm" to my reputation. We should have won.

But in his judgement, Warby J said it was more important for David de Freitas to have freedom of speech than to repair my reputation, even though it caused serious harm and was not true.

Judge Warby dismissed my claim and ordered me to pay David de Freitas 90% of his legal costs of around £1.4m. [NB His legal costs are high because he is represented by no win no fee lawyers, who charge double fees]. A few months later David de Freitas applied to have me bankrupted. I am still fighting bankruptcy, which is on hold pending this appeal.

And that's what the appeal is about: Freedom of Speech vs Right to Reputation. The appeal is about common sense. If you wrongly accuse someone of rape on Radio, TV, Newspapers and Online and ignore everything the innocent victim says then you ought to be held to account. Especially when you know what you are saying is not true.

The appeal will be heard at the Royal Courts of Justice on 17 and 18th April 2018. The result will then be handed down at the Judges discretion,  usually 6 to 12 months after the hearing. 


An extract from "Part 18 Questions" in July 2015, eight months after David de Freitas press campaign.