Civil Case Against Minister Thrown Out

A civil case brought against Treasury Minister David Ashford has been thrown out by First Deemster Andrew Corlett.

Courtenay Heading brought the case against Mr Ashford for misfeasance in public office. 

Mr Heading had originally brought a claim of misconduct in public office against Mr Ashford due to his work throughout the pandemic as Minister for Health and Social Care. Mr Heading later changed this to misfeasance (failure to discharge public obligations).

In his court documents, Mr Heading said: ‘David John Ashford acting in the role of Minister of Health and Social Care made assertions across all media of Covid-19, tests and testing for a SARS-CoV-2 virus, together with the contagiousness of that pseudo virus. In doing so, acting in bad faith, he failed his duty of care, duty of candour, and Isle of Man Ministerial Code causing unnecessary suffering to many people and animals.

‘David Ashford perpetuated a covid narrative dishonestly and wilfully over a period of 18 months by means of relentless propaganda. His actions were done with reckless indifference as to the adverse consequences to Courtenay Heading, his family and numerous others.’

He went on to refer Covid ‘SARS-CoV-2’ as a ‘pseudo virus being a fake, test tube only, unphotographed, imaginary entity – never in reality a thing isolated from all others, in actual saliva, mucus, blood nor urine in pure form – from a man nor woman nor animal’.

Strike it Out

Mr Ashford’s advocate, Mr Jelski, sought the case to be thrown out as because it was an ‘abuse of process’ or ‘that summary judgment be given against the Claimant on the basis that the Claimant’s claim has no real prospect of succeeding at trial and there is no compelling reason why the case or issue should be disposed of at trial’.

Deemster Corlett, in his Ex Tempore Judgment, said: ‘Mr Jelski states that “the issues which the Claimant seeks to put in dispute are the subject of common knowledge and are not reasonably disputable”. What he submits is that these issues and the way the matter was handled by the Isle of Man Government were based on a corpus of expert opinion of which the court is entitled to take judicial notice.

‘The various headings of the Claimant’s claim relate to first of all the existence of the virus. Does Covid-19 exist? And in relation to that, Mr Jelski points to the fact that on 11 March 2020 the World Health Organisation declared a global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). So far as the Isle of Man is concerned, on 16 March 2020 and pursuant to the Emergency Powers Act 1936, the Lieutenant Governor of the Isle of Man issued the first of a series of emergency proclamations on the basis that “… there is a pandemic of coronavirus (also known as Covid-19)…” and that “… that disease is affecting the Island and causing serious damage to human health on the Island…”.’

Ruling

In his ruling, Deemster Corlett said there is ‘simply no realistic chance or prospect of Mr Heading’s allegations amounting to misfeasance in public office so far as Mr Ashford is concerned’. And that he agreed with Mr Jelski that if the case was to continue, it would ‘to take up the time of this court it would essentially amount to a public inquiry “dressed up” as a misfeasance claim and would amount to an abuse of the process of the court’.

He added: ‘My final comment is that I am grateful to Mr Jelski as advocate for Mr Ashford for setting out the position so clearly and I am also grateful to Mr Heading for conducting himself politely and appropriately in court. I appreciate he has very sincere opinions about all this but it is simply not a matter for this court.’

Read the full judgment here: