(sorry, more spck stuff. Noel Edmonds post tomorrow)
Following the legal moves against him, what has Mark Brewer actually admitted to? Todays SPCK/SSG headline says he 'pleads mainly guilty', but I'm not so sure.
That post on the spckssg blog has the full response made by Mark Brewer to the motion for sanctions issued against him just over a week ago. What does it actually say? I won't quote the full version here but you can find all the legal papers through this link. Lets have a look at how it lines up:
- anything that's already on the record as fact - e.g. that the bankruptcy case was denied.
- that he was 'ill advised' to bring the bankruptcy proceedings, recognising the 'grave seriousness' of what he did.
- that his actions have cost the court money.
- that he/Brewer & Pritchard will pay 'an amount that is reasonable'
2. Nearly Admitted
- the original motion asked for retraining in legal ethics, with a certificate to prove it. Brewers response suggest an alternative - some training in bankruptcy law (bit late for that!) with an ethics credit. No mention of providing evidence to the court that he's done it. A sidestep.
3. No comment
Brewers response claims he has 'insufficient knowledge to admit or deny' a number of things. Maybe this is another way of saying 'no comment'. Those include:
- whether an LLC (in the US) is the same as a Limited company in the UK
- Whether the bookstores were the only asset of the SSG charity. I'm sure they acquired some churches as well. And he was the boss of SSG, so it's the kind of thing he ought to know.
- The contents of a post on the CartoonChurch blog. This is interesting: not so long ago Mr. Brewer was sufficiently sure of the contents to threaten Dave Walker with libel if he didn't take them down. Now he saying he has 'insufficient knowledge' of one of the posts he asked to be removed. Wonder how that would affect any libel action?
- A number of financial matters raised, including paying himself for legal services to his own company. Brewer's response is that he provided all the necessary information to the bankruptcy hearing
4. 'Denied': not point by point, but under the overall heading of 'Brewer denies the remaining paragraphs in the motion'. So that covers....
- Filing the bankruptcy to avoid paying up in the UK.
- Having 'no assets to reorganise' (not sure what the significance of that is)
- deliberately misleading the court
- committing a fraud on the court by failing to discluse the true name of the Debtor, and transferring business between companies all of which he owned.
- Conflicts of interest in representing SSG as a lawyer whilst at the same time being its chairman, and not revealing this.
- Not informing the court that SSG’s business had been transferred to ENC And in paras 9-12 he denies
- Violating his duty of candor to the Court (i.e. not telling the whole truth)
- Possibly violating Title 18 of the US Code (bankruptcy fraud)
- Filing the case to avoid claims made against himself, SSG and ENC in the UK
- Expressing displeasure with Randy Williams (the lawyer who got the bankruptcy case thrown out)
- Arguing to the UK employment tribunal that it’s proceedings were dependent on the outcome of the bankruptcy filing
- Violating Bankrupty Rule 9011
- (inferred) vexatious conduct
- committing a fraud on the court
- wrongful acts
- violating section 157 of Title 18. This is a fraudulent attempt to obtain bankruptcy, punishable by fine and 5 years in prison. http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/usc_sec_18_00000157----000-.html
- Violating a duty of honesty and candor
- Bringing disrepute to the US Bankruptcy Courts as haven for those seeking to escape justice
- Attempting to escape justice in the UK
- Using the charitable status of SSG to prevent his actions being scrutinised
- Attempting to subvert the law to escape his responsibilities.
some of these overlap, or say the same thing in a different way. But it's safe to say that Brewer denies all of the most damaging allegations, and admits to only what is already a fact in the public domain, and to making a mistake in bringing the case in the first place.
Not being a lawyer, there is technical language here that someone else will have to explain. But this looks like a fairly straight bat to me. Now we'll see whether the original motion is followed through, or whether, like Brewers Cease and Desists, it's bark is worse than its bite.