Yesterday, Paul Tweed, solicitor, appeared before the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, representing Michael Gallagher and others who were the victims of the Omagh bombing.
In his written submission he took the unusual step of expressing his personal views. Lawyers , by convention, leave their personal views at the door of the court. Mr Tweed said that it was his personal view that it was morally and possibly legally wrong that a limited number of victims should be entitled to receive exemplary compensation “in total disregard for the sacrifice and entitlement of other victims”. I deal with the stupidity of this remark below.
In his oral evidence, under the protection of privilege , he described such payments as “Klondike” and “football pools” awards.
Let’s stop and have a think about Mr Tweed’s expressed personal views on the matter.
He describes himself on LinkedIn as “an international media lawyer” in fact one of the “world’s highest profile media lawyers”. He lists the A-list Hollywood stars that are his clients.
He majors in defamation cases for them. [For non-lawyers, that is when someone hurts your feelings]
He secured for Barney Eastwood , a very rich man, an award from a Belfast jury of £450,000.
Recently he represented Louis Walsh, some sort of impresario, I believe, and got him an award of 500,000 Euros.
I wonder how Mr Tweed’s personal moral compass was set for those awards? Neither has been killed, shot, bombed, maimed or suffered PTSD.
Well, Dear Reader, some facts.
- Mr Tweed does not represent me or over a hundred other Claimants who took formal legal action in the American courts in April 2006.
- He has no idea what my pain suffering or loss is or more importantly the more serious suffering of others. Take Zaoui Berezag, left blind, paralysed and brain damaged after the 1996 Docklands bomb. I wonder if he is a Tweed Klondike Case?
- Mr Tweed spoke of a select group of victims getting all the attention. He failed to mention or perhaps he is ignorant of the attempts by Jason McCue and others , since April 2011 to secure an additional wider fund for other victims of Gadafy’s supply of Semtex.
- The fact that Mr Tweed was not even aware of this Parliamentary enquiry until recently speaks volumes about his attention to it. But when the A-lister calls….
Paul Tweed’s remarks do not wound me in the way that some rich sensitive client of his might be hurt. He has a greater opinion of himself than I do of him. The likelihood is , though , that someone far worse off than me will be distressed by his insensitive remarks.
I wonder would he seize an opportunity to retract them? Or make them again without the protection of Parliamentary privilege?