Judge backs £50,000 deposit from land firm in court case against Andy Wightman MSP 

Wildcat Haven Enterprises CIC v Andy Wightman case appears in court in defamation case

SCOTTISH JUDGE LORD UIST has called on the firm bringing a defamation action against Scottish Greens MSP Andy Wightman to deposit £50,000 before the case can proceed. 

The security payment decision means that financial compensation would be available for Wightman to meet his legal costs, if the case proceeds and the court then finds in his favour. 

The landmark defamation case was brought by Wildcat Haven Enterprises CIC, a land firm which states it sells “souvenir” plots of land. Wightman wrote blogs about the firm’s activities, for which Wildcat Haven are now seeking damages at the Court of Session. 

The agents in the case are law firm Burness Paull for the Pursuer (Wildcat Haven). Gillespie MacAndrew law firm were named in regard to the caution motion for the Defender (Andy Wightman), who is represented by Bannatyne, Kirkwood, France & Co law firm. Wightman has crowdfunded over £32,000 in finance to meet legal costs of the case. 

Wightman has warned that the case calls for damages of £750,000, which, if awarded, would result in his bankruptcy.

BBC Scotland reported that Roddy Dunlop QC told the court that the pursuers had assets below £5,000, and therefore a security payment of £50,000 should be provided for the case. Lord Uist agreed.

In a statement following the preliminary court appearance, Wightman said: “Today in the Court of Session, my legal team successfully persuaded Lord Uist to grant a Motion of caution. This means that my pursuers must deposit £50,000 with the Court to cover my expenses should they lose the action.”

If the case continues, further evidence is expected to be presented to the court in early May. 

Wightman has warned that the case calls for damages of £750,000, which, if awarded, would result in his bankruptcy. Those who declare bankruptcy cannot sit in the Scottish Parliament under the 1998 Scotland Act, meaning Wightman could no longer serve in parliament. 

Picture courtesy of Simon Varwell

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