The land of make-belief?

Why on earth would someone go to court to suppress a judgment.

Well, now we know

para 16 “I regret to have to say I cannot say the same about the wife’s evidence. Having watched and listened to her give evidence, having studied the documents, and having given in her favour every allowance for the enormous strain she must have been under (and in conducting her own case) I am driven to the conclusion that much of her evidence, both written and oral, was not just inconsistent and inaccurate but also less than candid. Overall she was a less than impressive witness.”

para 15″The husband’s evidence was, in my judgment, balanced. He expressed himself moderately though at times with justifiable irritation, if not anger. He was consistent, accurate and honest.”

para 28 “I have to say I cannot accept the wife’s case that she was wealthy and independent by the time she met the husband in the middle of 1999.”

para 30 “During her cross-examination she asserted for the first time that in addition to property assets she had £2m-£3m in the bank. No mention of such assets was made in her affidavit. There is no documentary evidence to support that assertion. During the hearing she was asked repeatedly to produce bank statements, which she said she thought she had in Brighton, to verify this claim. No bank statements were ever produced.”

para 31  “The first tax return that the wife has been able to produce is for the year ending 5 April 1999. The Revenue has not been able to supply any prior tax return. However her tax returns for the years ending 5 April 1999 and thereafter to 2006 are in the papers. Her gross turnover and net profit declared for “acting, modelling and public speaking” for the tax years 1999 to 2002 are, respectively (to the nearest £500)  £62,000 and £11,500; £42,000 and £6000; £112,000 and £58,000; and £78,000 and £49,500. Thus her tax returns for 1999 and 2000 do not support the wife’s case of very significant earnings as set out in her affidavit.”

para 32  “The wife’s riposte is that much of her earnings, which are not included in the tax returns, were sent direct to charities of her nomination. In her evidence she told me that as much as 80% or 90% of her earnings went direct to charities. However, the wife had to accept in her cross-examination that there was no documentary evidence, for example letters from the relevant charities, that her fees were sent direct to charities. In her Answers to a Questionnaire of 6 February 2007 the wife, having been asked to set out in a schedule the income earned by her and sent direct to charities for the years 1997 and 2000 inclusive, replied that she did not have the records requested to enable her to complete a schedule. Furthermore, her assertion that she gave away to charity 80% to 90% of her earned income is inconsistent with having £2m-£ 3m in the bank in 1999.”

para 33  “The wife accepted that had she had £2m to £3m in the bank in 1999 she is most likely to have put such a sum into an account earning interest. But the tax returns do not disclose any bank interest earned or only very small sums which are not consistent with holding £2m-£3m in a bank or banks. Moreover her tax returns disclose no charitable giving at all.”  (emphasis added)

para 34 “In March 2000 the wife bought a property in Cross Street in Brighton for about £250,000, using £200,000 paid to her as compensation for the injuries arising out of her accident in 1993. There was no need therefore for her to touch the £2m-£3m in her bank account if such existed. However in May 2001 the wife purchased in her own name 7, Western Esplanade in Hove i.e. Angel’s Rest for £750,000. On 18 May 2001 MPL Household, the husband’s company, and the wife entered into a formal legal charge whereby it lent the wife £800,000, interest free, secured on Angel’s Rest in order for the wife to be able to buy it. The wife agreed to repay the loan at £1000 per month from 1 July 2001 for a period of 25 years. The excess of £50,000 was to be used to improve the property. In September 2001 the husband advanced the wife another £150,000 to carry out refurbishments. The inevitable question was asked of the wife – why the need for such a loan and advances if she had £2m-£3m in the bank? Even allowing for some depletion in the bank balances over an 18 month period from mid 1999 to early 2001, if she was as wealthy as she made out there would have been no need for this loan or for a loan of such magnitude.”

para 36 “I find that the wife’s case as to her wealth in 1999 to be wholly exaggerated. The assertion that she was a wealthy person in 1999 is, of course, the first step in her overall case that her career, which in 1999 she says was one producing rich financial rewards, was thereafter blighted by the husband during their relationship. It is therefore connected to the issue of “compensation”.”

para 54 “The wife for her part must have felt rather swept off her feet by a man as famous as the husband. I think this may well have warped her perception leading her to indulge in make-belief. The objective facts simply do not support her case.”

There’s more, but that gives the gist.  Thrill to the Larry King incidents, the bad reviews about the Newman interview, bra modelling, a general discomfort with one party’s evidence (eg “the facts as I find them to be do not support the wife’s case.” para 80), whether one party singlehandedly saved the other from the grieving process – para 99 which states

I have to say that the wife’s evidence that in some way she was the husband’s “psychologist”, even allowing for hyperbole, is typical of her make-belief. I reject her evidence that she, vis-à-vis the husband, was anything more than a kind and loving person who was deeply in love with him, helped him through his grieving and like any new wife tried to integrate into their relationship the children of his former marriage. I wholly reject her account that she rekindled the husband’s professional flame and gave him back his confidence.”

The moral: don’t sack your lawyers.  and When you’re in a hole, stop digging.

 

 

 

 

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About loveandgarbage

I watch the telly and read when not doing law stuff and plugging my decade and a half old unwatched Edinburgh fringe show.
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10 Responses to The land of make-belief?

  1. robsoft says:

    Wow. There’s little more to be said to that.
    Apparently the settlement works out at about £17,000 per day of the marriage and let’s face it, that’s not bad work in anyone’s book – even if she was also fulfilling a role of ‘psychologist’ and ‘rekindling his professional flame’ etc(etc).
    The only note of caution I’m going to sound is how unnecessarily nasty some of the gutter press has been, particularly given her ability to dig her own hole and the general public’s perception of her as an unpleasant gold-digger – do we /need/ the newspapers to hatchet-job her so much? The cover of the Telegraph has possibly the most unflattering picture of her yet seen, gob-open, full-flow, under a headline that included the word ‘rants’. I just felt that, whatever she had done/was doing (etc), there was little real need to keep making her look bad. I haven’t seen the red-tops today, but I can guess the headlines.
    But wow, what a nerve. She hit payday, then went on the steps of the court and started making comments about her daughter having to travel in ‘b class’. All really unpleasant, fairly unnecessary and, quite possibly, against the terms of their ‘agreement’.

    • I don’t disagree with any of that. The statements yesterday seem contrary to the terms of the agreement at the end of the judgment.
      I only had a look at the judgment today because the conference yesterday was so bizarre – and seemed to be about getting retaliation in first. A quick browse on publication was quite revealing.
      I’ve read a lot of judgments in my time. I have only seen one that is more damning of a witness (http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/opinions/2008CSOH29.html paras 23 – 25 which summarises the evidence and para 72 which gives the judicial view of the evidence).

  2. surliminal says:

    I continue to be boggled as to why she should have got anything at all really. A late marriage, his career and earnings already firmly established, her quite able to support herself both before and after the mariage – leaving aside maintenance for the child and perhaps an allowance for her as carer of the child, what exactly is she owed?
    In Scotland, am I right in thinking that as she clearly had an independent career sufficient to support herself in future (£150K plus would do me fine, even if it isn’t “substantial earnings” 🙂 she would have been merely owed half the net matrimonial property accrued during the period of the marriage (9(1)(a)? ? plus maybe something under s 9(1)(c) to support her kidding kiddy, and perhaps 3 years periodical under 9(1)(d) to let her adjust her lifetyle “downwards”?
    If Macca made £825 million over his whole career, how much did he make in the 4 years of their marriage? have we any idea?

    • surliminal says:

      Aso why in lord’s name didn’t he have a pre nup??

    • I don’t really understand the law here as a huge maount of time is spent discussing “compensation” as if this is some part of gthe law of damages.
      Scots law would not have been as favourable IIRC – but my knowledge of the area is limited to the excellent lectures I had on the topic 😉

  3. hoiho says:

    The moral: don’t sack your lawyers
    But it worked for The Tomster.
    Er…

  4. Anonymous says:

    Of course I will not make any remarks about the inappropriateness of the plural employed by the judge in saying
    “The wife for her part must have felt rather swept off her feet by a man as famous as the husband………..”
    One hopes, but doesn’t expect, that this is the last that we will ever hear of Heather Mills.
    Paul McCartney was, in his first marriage, one of the most famously uxorious entertainers in history. In fact, one of the most famously loyal husbands of any sort.
    It seems a pity, and very ironic, that his name will forever now be associated with a messy divorce case.
    The worst feature of all of this is that when Paul first became involved with Heather there were continual dark mutterings in the press from members of his family that Heather was a gold-digger and a manipulative nut-case. There were stories of his near family pleading with him not to marry her, and warning him of dire consequences.
    But Paul knew best. And she was young, blonde and buxom.
    He must have wished, many times since, that he’d listened to the advice.
    The judge’s remarks about Heather’s veracity and reliability appear to mirror what practically everyone whose had any dealings with her says. They cannot all be wrong.

    • The judge makes much of the strength of the marriage to linda in various parts of the judgment. Macca seems to have come across incredibly well in the witness box, self-critical at times, and generally decent. HArd to reconcile with the figure described in a certain GMTV interview certainly…

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