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offsite link Crown Prosecution Service Says it is ?No Longer Appropriate? to Quote Some Passages From the Bible i... Sat Nov 26, 2022 18:25 | Toby Young
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RateYourSolicitor website decides to remove controversial remark

category national | rights, freedoms and repression | press release author Thursday October 05, 2006 10:46author by Free Speech Lover Report this post to the editors

On Sept. 1st, a lewd comment was left on www.Rate-Your-Solicitor.com about a Dublin based barrister, Jayne Maguire, who rang John Gill, P.R.O. of the Victims of the Legal Profession, to ask him to remove the comment. She explained to him that a male colleague had left this comment about her. When John said that he had no control over the website, Ms Maguire initiated a defamation suit against John through McCann FitzGerald Solicitors, who told John he may face imprisonment if he does not have the offensive material removed as per a High Court injunction issued by Judge Michael Hanna.

The RYS management has noted Mr. John Gill's appeal to have the original remarks posted in this place about Ms Jayne Maguire, barrister, removed in order to stop his continued harassment by Irish lawyers. This harassment is completely uncalled for, as RYS is a completely independent organization without any legal ties whatsoever to the VLPS, and neither Mr. Gill nor any other members of the VLPS committee have ever had any knowledge of or influence on RYS policies.

Even though RYS does not operate under Irish law, being located outside the Irish jurisdiction, and despite delays due to severe technical difficulties, management has unanimously decided to accede to Mr. Gill's appeal as a token of good will and as a once-off gesture to a greatly admired man. May he be a thorn in the side of all incompetent, negligent and corrupt Irish lawyers for a long time to come!

Of course, management does have to reserve the right, however reluctantly, to reinstate the comments about Ms Maguire without further notice, if her utterly misguided proceedings against Mr. Gill and the other members of the VLPS committee should continue beyond Oct. 5, 2006.

In the interest of equal treatment Ms Maguire has now been allocated her own individual page on the RYS website (County Dublin) with one "Avoid" rating posted by RYS due to her unnecessarily heavy-handed treatment of completely innocent people. Her attitude is all the more deplorable because, as RYS has been reliably informed, she knows full well who actually posted the offending remarks, but preferred instead to pursue the wholly innocent Mr. Gill, rather than the real culprit, apparently in the hope of thereby creating an opportunity for the legal establishment to eliminate the RYS website altogether. In this context RYS finds it hard to justify, but typical of the Irish legal system, that the feelings of the about 1/6 of all lawyers on the site with an actual "Avoid" rating are generally considered much more important than the interests of the rather more deserving 5/6!

Please note that the general public is now invited to give its own opinion about Ms Maguire's *professional* competence. Given Ms Maguire's sensitivities it should be stressed that no other comments will be acceptable.

An "Avoid" rating has also been posted for McCann FitzGerald (Dublin) for their stubborn persistence in the abuse of their much vaunted "internet expertise" to intimidate the innocent.

Some comments as regards those "experts" (mostly journalists and lawyers) who called for RYS to require people to identify themselves before being allowed to post on the site:

RYS knows from its own extensive legal experience in many countries and from the experiences of the VLPS in Ireland that a majority of people with clearly legitimate grievances are nevertheless *scared to death* (and not always without reason) of the perceived power of their legal advisers to harm them. It is equally obvious that in practice many Irish solicitors are more than happy to play on these fears when it suits them.

Added to the call for identification was the very naive idea of moderating sometimes hundreds of strongly felt comments each day to a libel-proof standard, even though most of the RYS volunteer moderators, who already reject more than 20% of comments as unsuitable, did not even recognize Ms Maguire's offending phrase as offensive when asked. The only possible outcome of following all this presumably well-meant advice is a self-congratulatory talking shop for Irish solicitors of no conceivable use to the public, their clients.

It is quite clear that a site like RYS needs teeth to be effective and this fundamental guiding principle will of course remain unchanged. On the other hand, it should also be kept in mind that everybody is free to post a comment on the site or in the new RYS Forum to refute whatever comment about themselves is objected to. While the objections people have to the RYS site are extremely varied (one solicitor even objects to being in the Hall of Fame!), reasonable people with reasonable problems would obviously receive more sympathy from RYS than the people behind Ms Maguire, who seem to recognize no other methods than the good old intimidation tactics of the past. Although this method of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut may well have worked in the past, they will simply have to adjust to the fact that the Internet has changed the world quite dramatically in a very short time. Legal dinosaurs like these, who refuse to adapt to an ever-increasing call for transparency and accountability will inevitably lose their client base and face a well-deserved extinction. The consumer of legal services in Ireland has finally been empowered and is, quite rightly, likely to become more and more demanding in the future. Third rate service for first rate prices will no longer be tolerated!

Finally, some comments on the controversial subject of postings regarding the private lives of solicitors:

RYS management agrees that in many cases such postings are irrelevant to the professional competence of a legal practitioner. However, as most lawyers rightly or wrongly still consider themselves pillars of society and as such above criticism, the very least they can do for their clients, who are after all financing their very comfortable lifestyles, is to let their private lives reflect this presumed high standard. Apart from that, some aspects of private lifestyle can very well be of great influence on professional competence. A simple example would be an alcoholic, or drug user, who would on the basis of that fact alone be unacceptable as a legal adviser to most people; even a solicitor's appearance may well be relevant in some cases, where a client would try to project a certain image. Many similar scenarios are possible, so that remarks of a personal nature cannot reasonably be rejected by RYS automatically, although they should be kept to a minimum. In the final analysis however, every poster, including the originator of the Maguire remarks (which in the robust language of 21st century Ireland may well have been intended more as humorous rather than malicious), should simply keep in mind that they are solely responsible for their own postings and act accordingly.

Management had fully expected the initial months of RYS to be somewhat tumultuous, but is confident that the site will quickly find its feet and become an indispensable tool for the Irish consumer of legal services. The many good wishes posted on the Internet and the quick popularity of the site are an indication that it is already becoming so!

Related Link: http://www.crookedlawyers.com
author by Little Divilpublication date Sat Oct 07, 2006 14:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The many previous comments on this subject made me think that the people behind the RYS site were an iresponsible bunch of nutcases.
After reading their well thought out mission statement I have come to the conclusion that most of the negative posts were dead wrong.
Folks, what these people are saying makes a lot more sense than what the lawyers say. I for one will be happy to support them in the future.

author by court reporterpublication date Sat Oct 07, 2006 22:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The only thing that is obvious from this story is how intensly stupid the people behind the RYS are.

They say that they are prepared to re-instate the offensive comments if the plaintiff in the high court proceedings doesn't drop her case against the cowardly and offensive defendant. Does he (and his crank pals) not realize that playing "silly buggers" with the courts is a one way trip to incarceration.

Unfortunately for the cowardly people behind these organizations, the high court hasn't bought the line that there is no connection between RYS and VLPS. The response of RYS to the threatened incarceration of the defendant in the high court case is evidence that the high court got it exactly right.

author by john mcDermott - removefiannafailpublication date Sun Oct 08, 2006 17:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I wish we had had more sites like this one decades ago.Nevertheless the world does move-albeit with imperceptible motion at times.The danger is now that the world wide web will be censored by governments-as is the case in China at present. One step forward two steps backwards.!

Related Link: http://www.soldiersofdestiny.org/theghosttrain.htm
author by mac consaidinpublication date Sun Oct 08, 2006 23:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Court reporter who has admoitted he is a nine to five Court Official, calls all those with issues against the Courts and solicitors "cranks".

I suggest that an official of the courts service should be more open minded than to use such an ill-defined and potentially offensive term in such a blanket fashion. I personally think the use of the term in this connection is seriously flawed and probably mischievous.

Were the Birmingham six or Guildford four, cranks to contest their innocence in the face of Appeal Judge Lord Denning's Appalling Vista judgement?

Was Jim Gogarty a crank to persevere with his tall tale about Ray Burke taking bribes?

Are the McBrierties cranks to persist in outing the Donegal Gardai that fitted them up for a murder that never happened?

Does Court Reporter regard anyone who stands up to perverted officialdom as a crank?

If so, then we are in great company.

author by Bored with Screwballspublication date Sun Oct 08, 2006 23:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Trying to suggest that being prosecuted for allowing someone to anonymously (or maybe not!) publish asinine remarks about the sexual (and therefore private) behaviour of another person is not the same as being subject to an injustice such as that which the McBreartys went through and are going through. Don't insult them or the other people that have suffered by associating them with your egotistical crusade.

Anyone that seriously wants to conduct public reviews of any body has to allow for the removal of remarks which are obviously irrelevant, unsubtantiated, and in this case just plain downright nasty.

Anyone with a genuine case against lawyers, solicitors or barristers for misconduct would do well to steer clear of the malicious fools that allowed themselves to get taken to court and disrupted for the right to gossip and smear the plaintiff. Idiots to a child.

(Disclaimer: I am not a member of the legal profession, nor do I have any connection whatsoever with the case, so for all I know there's an important fundamental right being defended here at the risk of a real rate-your-solicitor site: the Right To Call A Female Lawyer The Town Bicycle. I think I read something about it in Bunreach na hEireann, Article 345, clause 11(b). It must be a very important right).

Clowns.

author by mac consaidinpublication date Mon Oct 09, 2006 00:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Be careful bored. You are beginning to sound like someone with an open mind!

author by Bored with Screwballspublication date Mon Oct 09, 2006 02:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You're beginning to sound like someone with a closed mind. Someone that won't admit that the remark allegedly published about the female solicitor was:
1) of a personal, sexual nature
2) nothing to do with her abilities as a legal professional

Your failure to admit this despite there now being approximately 50 comments on this topic on indymedia.ie indicates that you find nothing wrong with it, or the policies of the website that allowed these remarks to be published.

Note, that the website in question rateyoursolicitor.com (now redirected to a modified version of the site using the rate-your-solicitor.com FQDN using easyDNS with a secondary transfer to nearlyfreespeech.net. ) Note that nearlyfreespeech.net is Texan domain registrant of neo-nazi websites )
http://www.boingboing.net/2004/08/20/bugmenotcom_return....html

Nice company Mr.Consadin, and your vociferous verbiage on the one hand coupled with an absolute silence on the the matter of this slur (which has nothing to do with rating anyone for anything professional) speaks louder than you ever could.

author by Little Divilpublication date Tue Oct 10, 2006 03:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I tried the link given in the previous post:
http://www.boingboing.net/2004/08/20/bugmenotcom_return....html
If you read through the page you will find an update stating that the neo-Nazi site mentioned is in fact NOT hosted by NearlyFreeSpeech.net
From my own experience I have found this a very reputable company.
One important note to many posters on this site:
FREE SPEECH MEANS THAT EVERYBODY IS ENTITLED TO DISAGREE WITH YOUR IDEAS JUST AS MUCH AS YOU DISAGREE WITH THEIRS! Worth remembering!

author by Bored with Screwballspublication date Tue Oct 10, 2006 16:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If you read through the page you will find an update stating that the neo-Nazi site mentioned is in fact NOT hosted by NearlyFreeSpeech.net

No, if you read through the page you will find exactly the opposite and if you investigate the hosting of some of the neo-nazi sites you will find that they are indeed in the same bed as rate-your-solicitor.com

Little Divil's comment is about as accurate as most of the tripe posted by the supporters of the site rateyoursolicitor.com, supporters of the right to publish sexual slurs about anyone they have a disagreement with.

I don't believe in free speech that contains lies, free speech that advocates fascism or racism or anything else. You'll note that this website (indymedia.ie) which you are attempting to use as a promotional auxiliary to your own disgusting slur-monger board explicitly chooses not to publish that sort of content either.

As a last point, your shouting doesn't make you correct. Something that supporters of rateyoursolicitor don't seem to understand. It just makes you a shouter.

author by mac consaidinpublication date Tue Oct 10, 2006 20:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I don't know if we can agee on these issues but I think we should at least try to define the things we disagree on eg your blanket use of the word crank for everyone who has concerns or issues with your legal professions/institutions.

To test the limits of your definition, I had to push out the boundaries. Hence my reference to McBrearties et al. As you know, the mainstream media would have dismissed most of these people until they were found by court or tribunal to be telling the truth. Many VLPS supporters feel they are are in a similar position.

To return to your other comments. Of course the poster of these comments on the RYS site should be ashamed of himself, of course they should not have been posted and of course it is right and proper that they be removed. I hope we can agree on that.

However, I don't expect you to agree with what follows but if you are a fair minded lawyer, you should.

The fact that the case is being continued after the removal of the comments. The fact that the case was taken against John Gill who is vocal against many aspects of your profession but who has no knowledge on ms maguire and no direct involvement in internet actions of any kind. And the fact that extreme actions are being taken by Ms Maguire in disseminating emails with spyware in them, makes many people think that the whole case was a set up by certain elements of your profession who don't want their doings put on the internet.

author by Bored with Screwballspublication date Tue Oct 10, 2006 20:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

To test the limits of your definition, I had to push out the boundaries.

Oh my good jaysus. Have I been found pure? Do I need to pass my hand between my legs and shake hands with my two middle fingers folded backwards? You're not testing any limits of my definition, you're making wild allegations (a propensity shared by all the defendants of rateyoursolicitor it would seem) and then having to back down looking like a big fecking eejit when it turns out you're wrong.

Hence my reference to McBrearties et al. As you know, the mainstream media would have dismissed most of these people until they were found by court or tribunal to be telling the truth. Many VLPS supporters feel they are are in a similar position.

And having associated themselves with the base, unsupported and irrelevant comments published on rateyoursolicitor.com they've secured a firm reputation for being untrustworthy cranks who will say anything about people that they are in dispute with.

As has been expressed to you before, I pity anyone that has a genuine grievance that has been misled into being associated with the irresponsible, ineffective and malicious people that post on rateyoursolicitor.com. A website which allowed a genuine mechanism for the non-slanderous/libellous rating of legal professionals would be a useful service.

RateYourSolicitor.com (and by clear association Victims of the Legal Profession) have never condemned nor disassociated themselves from this simple, clear-cut case of a malicious personal attack being used to sabotage someone as a result of business dealings. It's just dirty gossip. It was posted by RateYourSolicitor after approval by the site moderators. In fact the site moderators were so irresponsible and so willing to approve of anything that there's no evidence that they ever removed any single comment on the basis of a lack of evidence or provided for any serious mechanism to do so.

I am not a lawyer/solicitor/barrister/clerk/judge or other legal functionary. I am an ordinary layperson that doesn't want to see the chance of there being independent, trustworthy review of the judiciary pissed away by frivolous, malicious morons.

author by Little Divilpublication date Tue Oct 10, 2006 21:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

" Little Divil's comment is about as accurate as most of the tripe posted by the supporters of the site rateyoursolicitor.com, supporters of the right to publish sexual slurs about anyone they have a disagreement with."
Objectivity is lacking again. It is highly unlikely that the RYS people even knew Ms Maguire, so how could they logically disagree with her?
When the Court ordered it they took the offending comment away, so what more do you expect them to do? Commit harakiri in the Four Courts?
As to the boingboing link you mentioned, I read this on their page:
"[Ed note: a banner ad on Redwatch plugs a hosting service identified as "Nigger Free Hosting," but the site does appear to live at nearlyfreespeech.net.", so that seems clear enough.
As to the "shouting", it seems to be necessary, because you still have not understood what I said.
And still the ACTUAL POSTER is playing dead, laughing his head off about all the fools who won't even think about considering him guilty. It's a rare auld world.

Related Link: http://www.rate-your-solicitor.com
author by Bored with Screwballspublication date Tue Oct 10, 2006 22:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If you do a very basic bit of web research you will see that the site (which I'm not naming because it's against indymedia.ie guidelines) IS hosted at nearlyfreespeech.net.

You're doing sterling work in demonstrating the complete unreliability of anything associated with rateyoursolicitor.com

If you read the boingboing link which I provided kindly to you and all other readers you would understand that it is saying precisely the opposite of what you want it to mean:
" [...] the site does appear to live at nearlyfreespeech.net.",
Got it?

so that seems clear enough.
I would have thought so too. Perhaps you're shouting too much to listen?

Thanks for demonstrating very clearly the problems associated with the reliability and intelligence of defenders of rateyoursolicitor.com. Even when provided with simple, clear evidence they are unable to read it, unable to do a little bit of extra research to verify that their understanding is correct and instead resort to shouting.

Pretty similar to what I've observed on the other non-sexual posts on rateyoursolicitor.

So, again, rateyoursolicitor.com has now moved to share webhosting and secondary DNS with neo-nazis and other scum that attempt to abuse free speech and are using easyDNS as another domain registrant with wider visibility.

Someone at rateyoursolicitor isn't too foolish anyway. It's a better strategy than registering false-details with the primary domain registrant, which is what allowed GoDaddy to throw the switch.

If someone wanted to go after rate-your-solicitor or rateyoursolicitor or whatever they choose to call themselves next they'll have to get a court order in the US against nearlyfreespeech.net.

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