Accordingly I put in a Freedom of Information Request. Here it is with the totally bizarre (late) response and my request for an internal review:
"Date: Tue, Nov 6, 2018 at 5:00 PM
Subject: Freedom of Information Request - Use of External Lawyers
To: Info Management <Info_Management@sandwell.gov.uk>
I have been informed by an elected Member that SMBC sought external legal advice with regard to the content of "The Sandwell Skidder" blog also known as "In the Public Domain" on at least one occasion between 1st January, 2015 and 25th January, 2018.
On 25th January, 2018 Mr Surjit Tour wrote to me threatening me with regard to the content of my blog and stating that he was taking advice from "specialist counsel" with regard to that content.
On a date unknown in 2018 Sandwell Council confirmed to West Midlands Police that such legal advice had, in fact, been obtained.
1 Please state each and every occasion since 1st January, 2015 when SMBC has taken external legal advice concerning the content of the blog;
2 Name each and every solicitor, firm of solicitors, counsel or lawyer who was instructed and the relevant date or dates;
3 State the cost of each and every advice given to SMBC by external lawyers in respect of the blog. Include all fees and disbursements exclusive of VAT;
4 State who within SMBC authorised instructing external lawyers on each and every occasion. State how the lawyers were selected. State whether the work was put out to tender;
5 Disclose each and every advice SMBC have been given. If you seek to claim legal professional privilege in respect of advice received state how such a claim is made out in respect of each and every individual advice."
Here is the unbelievable reply:
"From: Sandwell MBC <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, Jan 9, 2019 at 1:56 PM
Subject: Information Request Response
Dear Mr Julian Saunders,
Information Request - FS-Case-94710217
Thank you for your Freedom of Information request. In response to your request I can confirm the following:
1 Please state each and every occasion since 1st January, 2015 when SMBC has taken external legal advice concerning the content of the blog; 2 Name each and every solicitor, firm of solicitors, counsel or lawyer who was instructed and the relevant date or dates; 3 State the cost of each and every advice given to SMBC by external lawyers in respect of the blog. Include all fees and disbursements exclusive of VAT; 4 State who within SMBC authorised instructing external lawyers on each and every occasion. State how the lawyers were selected. State whether the work was put out to tender; 5 Disclose each and every advice SMBC have been given. If you seek to claim legal professional privilege in respect of advice received state how such a claim is made out in respect of each and every individual advice. Having reviewed your request the council neither admit nor deny that the information you have requested is held. You are clearly conducting a fishing expedition. In the circumstances the information requested is inappropriate and improper with the intent of causing annoyance and to disrupt council business. The council are treating this request as a vexatious request under s14 () FOIA and will not process it any further. In addition to the reasons above if the information did exist which is neither admitted nor denied the council would reply upon the additional following exemptions of s 42 FOIA (legal professional privilege and s 32 FOIA investigations and proceedings and S31 FOIA law enforcement.”
Of course, Sandwell Council has no possible right of action against me and there is no question of facilitating "law enforcement" except for unlawfully assisting the crazed Milkman with his hate campaign!
I have applied for an internal review:
"I hereby request an internal review.
1 Three Labour Councillors have told me that SMBC obtained legal advice concerning my blog on a date between 1st January, 2015 and 31st December, 2018. I assume they were telling me the truth;
2 On 25th January, 2018 I received a threatening letter from SMBC signed by Surjit Tour the statutory Monitoring Officer stating, inter alia, "we are engaging specialist Counsel to assist us with this matter [is shutting my blog up];
3 On 13th March, 2018 Ch Supt Richard Baker of West Midlands Police wrote to Steven Eling, the Leader of the Council, stating "We understand that the Local Authority have sought advice from a barrister about the potential to commence a civil action against Saunders....this was briefed in at the Gold meeting as this would be a disclosure issue for any criminal prosecution that may be carried forward against Saunders." "
As you will see shortly, Jan Britton was involved throughout the extensive campaign of harassment of me by The Squealer.
Despite the advice given by Ch Supt Baker (see the internal review request above) SMBC are currently refusing to disclose the Counsel's Opinion to the CPS. I wrote to Tour on Tuesday but apart from the FOI reply above there has been no response:
"To: Surjit Tour <Surjit_Tour@sandwell.gov.uk>
Cc: Richard Baker <email@example.com>, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
THIS IS NOT A PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL COMMUNICATION
As you will be aware from my recent blogs and correspondence I am now seised of a number of unredacted versions of the emails which WMP have only partially disclosed to me. These clearly show that Jan Britton and others within SMBC were party to a long-standing conspiracy to "get me".
I am sorry to copy Ch Supt Baker into this but he is a party to the email I shall refer to below and I hope that he will be able to refer this matter to the CPS if, as I expect, you refuse to comply with my request below. He also needs to see just what sort of people inhabit the upper echelons of Sandwell Council.
On 25th January, 2018 you yourself promised that SMBC would try and shut down my blog.
On 6th November, 2018 I put in a Freedom of Information Act request asking, inter alia, for the legal opinions you sought to try to close me down. SMBC have not complied with the law and answered the FOI despite a chaser from me and I strongly suspect that you are deliberately delaying answering it until after my trial on Monday.
There will be legal action shortly against SMBC in respect of your personal involvement in using the Council to pursue a party political vendetta and I note with amazement that you personally were directly involved in attempts to criminalise me. That can all wait until another day.
I now know that on 13th March, 2018 Ch Supt Baker wrote to you saying that any Counsel's Opinions relating to me should be disclosed to the CPS for ongoing disclosure. Please heed the Ch Super's advice.
Jan Britton's complaint against me to be heard on Monday arises from the same campaign against me and it is now imperative that all such opinions are sent to the CPS for disclosure to me/my solicitor or sent to me for onward transmission. Given the urgency of the situation please confirm the position by return.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx asking for a retraction of the false statement xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxas your failure to do so is harmful to my reputation and this is ongoing.
I will be delivering a hard copy of this letter to the CPS offices tomorrow."
MEANWHILE..... storm clouds are gathering around The Squealer and his future as Leader [sic] becomes increasingly uncertain. Did he Chair his last Cabinet meeting yesterday?
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PROUD TO HAVE BEEN TROLLED BY DICKHEAD DARREN COOPER DECEASED!