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The Writ That Went to My Heart


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Pages: 249

Published: 8 years ago

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Book Description HTML

When the world was plagued with toxic waste, I led a campaign to stop it coming to Pontypool near my home. Newspapers and broadcasters were sued by the company that attracted a large share of the world's worst chemical waste. In connection with a BBC interview in the battle against Canadian toxic waste, I also received a writ. Following a four-year fight, I became the only unscathed survivor of a libel writ from ReChem. When I walked from the High Court in 1993 I was still campaigning, though still fearful of Britain's antiquated libel laws. Twenty years on, through the Defamation Act 2013, the position has finally changed. This book tells the story of my legal survival during the development of a historic campaign to change the face of the toxic waste trade.

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David Powell

Under the heading “David and Goliath”, in The Observer of September 10th 1989, the Pendeniss column said: Gossip columns – even this one, intent on subverting the genre – too often dwell on famous people: Prince Charles this, Joan Collins that. So today we toast an unsung village Hampden: physics teacher David Powell. Powell has played a leading role in persuading the Canadians to reconsider sending their Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) to the ReChem incinerator near Powell’s home. The publicity at one point knocked a cool £24 million off ReChem’s share price. Powell was sued. He was not alone. ReChem issues writs like Clint Eastwood bullets . . . Radio 4’s The World Tonight grovelled on air after a feature which quoted Powell . . . . Following seventeen fascinating years in industry I was a schoolteacher when I was sued in 1989 at the age of forty-two. Married with two young children, I was then playing rugby for Caerleon and slowly trying to finish an unusual home. In my other life, our community campaign resulted in the turning-around of Soviet vessels carrying Canadian toxic waste and led to my four-year fight against a libel writ. My High Court success made me the only unscathed survivor of a legal onslaught that caused newspapers and broadcasters to cower.