The strange world of the British National Party leader’s legal team
Facing many court cases, Nick Griffin appears to have turned to a charity for his legal affairs; Legal Action, a registered charity in the UK, number 1100780, also has the working name of Charles Henry & Co. Their official registration says that their purpose is to “relieve impecunious persons, by providing them with legal facilities particularly in connection with a possible or actual claim or defence, before a tribunal in England & Wales, for which they could not otherwise obtain, by reason of their impecunosity”.
Can anyone imagine an MEP without a euro in his pocket? That is just the beginning of the strangeness.
According to people with a knowledge of the charity, it appears to be run by Kevin Gregory, who, like his father, is a trustee according to their registration with the Charity Commission in the UK. He has an interesting background for such a position. He used to be a Conservative Councillor, but was thrown out of the party after a series of scandals and court appearances. These included being charged with harassment of an ex-girlfriend, whom he believed a fellow Tory councillor, who used hypnotism, to charm her away from him.
Gregory has also a line in pretending to be a solicitor, suing an ex-girlfriend for legal advice he claimed to have provided. He also falsely represented he was a solicitor in front of a High Court judge, which led to a Law Society Tribunal, which ruled that, “he had described himself as a “trainee solicitor”, and as “a solicitor” or as an “acting solicitor” when he was none of these things.”
People very familiar with Gregory say that bailiffs pay him regular visits, but these gentlemen deserve some credit - they can find his offices! Their website - www.legal-action.org- lists four offices, by postcode, but only one has a phone number, which is a dead line. The registered office phone is rarely answered.
The website designer describes that the client for the website is another charity that has Gregory as a trustee, the Augustine Housing Trust and through their telephone number - an 0845 redirection service - New Europe spoke with a man who called himself John Sullivan, who said he worked for Legal Action. He refused to say who else worked for the charity, or even where their office was. When it was put to him that he should know this information because he is listed as a trustee, he claimed that there had been a mistake and the real trustee was John O’Sullivan.
We were also contacted by someone who said they were a coordinator for the various Gregory charities, but refused to say who she worked for or who else was working for the charity. However, she didn’t recognise the name of Mr O’Sullivan or Raymond Hosegood, who, on documents provided to New Europe, signs letters with a signature that appears to be “PP Kevin Gregory.”
Legal firms are often discrete, but the wall of silence put up by the charities associated with Gregory, where people won’t even answer the most basic of queries is unusual.
The right solicitor
How did the far-right MEP end up with such unusual people? The connection appears to be one of the 4 Legal Action solicitors, Jane Stanley Phillips, now with 'Iverson, Stanley Holmes Ltd'. She has also helped a charity, The Steadfast Trust, which aims to “relieve poverty amongst the Anglo-Saxon community of England”. She has previously represented the BNP leader, according to the BNP’s ex Legal Affairs Officer, the excitable Lee Barnes.
Barnes describes her rewriting the party’s constitution, after it was judged to be illegal because it only allowed white people to join the party. Her revised draft has also been judged illegal and the party is anxiously awaiting the ruling from the appeal. Losing could bankrupt the party. Barnes also failed to appreciate her legal acumen, “After I pointed out a serious flaw in her legal strategy that would have allowed the court to undermine our case, she flew into a rage and refused to speak to me anymore.”
Phillips also made an appearance on a British TV documentary, 100% English, where her DNA was tested. She was told that the expert described her sample as “absolutely typical of a Romany gypsy”. She threatened the programme makers with a law suit, but failed to prevent the broadcast. Griffin has well known and strong views on gypsies.
Enter The Commission
Legal Action have something else in common with the BNP, a failure to deliver their accounts on time. The latest return, due at the Charity Commission is 306 days late. Their finances look odd. In 2005, they had no income, yet spent almost 45,000 GBP. 2006 saw 11,000 go in and 47,000 spent. A legal expert says these figures only make sense if they are operating on a no win, no fee basis.
The Charity Commission are now investigating the charity. Meanwhile, Griffin has a series of court cases ahead of him and his party.
There have been longstanding rumours about the imminent collapse of the British National Party, both financially and as a political organisation. Recently the party has written to creditors, offering them 20 pence in the pound on the party’s debts to suppliers etc.
Some may think that this unusual legal team may yet save the party, but they are likely to be a minority and the BNP don’t usually warm to minorities.