Pages

Monday, 8 June 2015

Highland Titles Enemy Within Shock - Revealed In Daily Record IPSO Complaint

Suspicions about Highland Titles director Douglas Wilson, the son-in-law of Highland Titles MD Peter Bevis, were first aroused after he put his name to an incriminating public testimonial on behalf of EHIC scam operation applyehic.org, linking Highland Titles to an operation that they really, really didn’t want the world to know about.

These suspicions were confirmed last week when it was learned he was responsible for a simply disastrous ruling against Highland Titles from the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO).

Highland Titles had been offered an apology over some matters of detail in a Daily Record piece “Revealed: Highland laird wannabes fooled into thinking they have bought Scottish land in multi-million-pound global scheme”. Not content with this, Wilson took his grievances to IPSO in the hope of having the Record brought to book.

IPSO has recently published their ruling – that not even the apology originally offered is necessary!

It is hard to conceive how the ruling could possibly have shown Highland Titles in a worse light.

The ruling finds to be fair comment the Record’s assertion that buyers were “fooled” over the land sales and got “nothing”. (Highland Titles countered that buyers got a gift set, but in the context of an article about the land sales that was deemed to be somewhat beside the point.)

It includes a statement that Highland Titles does not dispute that "Scotland does not recognise a personal right of ownership”. This must have been a very painful admission since Douglas Wilson at around this time justified Highland Titles’ land sales in his lengthy and considered “Response to criticism on Twitter” thus: “The advice of our Scottish solicitors is that our customers obtain a personal right to their souvenir plot of land".  Since the Twitter debate, they have reiterated their confidence in their advice. The "personal right" was also the basis of Highland Titles' defense to the ASA of their "buy land" and "landowner" marketing. In pursuing this unsuccessful IPSO action, Highland Titles appear to have exploded their own argument to the ASA.

The ruling reveals that Highland Titles complained to IPSO that the Daily Record had been inaccurate in describing the Highland Titles Charitable Trust as running Highland Titles. The notion that the Record was inaccurate is directly contradicted by Bevis writing around this time: “Company law requires that the Company [Highland Titles] must operate for the benefit of the shareholders, the charity that owns them, and the charity is in control.” THE CHARITY IS IN CONTROL. So was it not then a wee bit dishonest to tell IPSO that the Trust could not be described as running Highland Titles?

 
Delightfully, Highland Titles appear to have been caught red-handed in their classic response to criticism of changing their website and then indignantly complaining they have been misrepresented: Highland Titles complained that the Record had misrepresented how they described their land sales. The text on Highland Titles’ website appears to support this charge, but the Record was able to provide evidence that between the article being published and Highland Titles complaining they had been misrepresented, the relevant text on Highland Titles' website had changed. We've been here many times ourselves but our screenshots are claimed to be photoshopped fakes (a claim aimed at the hard of thinking... obviously if we’d really posted photoshopped fakes to discredit Highland Titles, we’d have been dealing with their lawyers). This time they really have come unstuck.

What can we say? Sterling work Douglas, keep it up. Our payment’s in a brown envelope in the usual place ;-)

Others have also commented on this affair, notably:

Giles Peaker on his Nearly Legal blog - http://nearlylegal.co.uk/blog/2015/06/assorted/

Long time campaigner Robin Cunninghame Graham on the Fake Scots Titles website - seen HERE

2 comments:

  1. Sets a new benchmark for own goals. The apology that was on the table has been withdrawn as not required, and Highland Titles have needlessly secured a formal ruling dismissing their cherished “personal right” argument.

    It’s also noteworthy that while the Daily Record had offered an apology in respect of their statement that Bevis lived in Scotland (which Highland Titles disputed), Robin Cunninghame Graham points out that Bevis himself wrote in June last year “... Scotland, the land that I love and where I lived as a boy and live now as a man.” (http://bit.ly/1FRnqJk)

    Which raises the question of how fair it is to complain to IPSO regarding the accuracy of something you had yourself stated in writing, the basis of the complaint presumably being that you were lying when you wrote it?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for pointing that out, it seems the people behind Highland Titles just tell whatever lie they fancy, which might conceivably get them out of the then current difficult situation. But we knew that already.

    Also worth noting that as recently as 22/12/14 a UK company was formed called Highland Titles limited SC493850. The company address is given as:

    TULLOCH LODGE, TULLOCH
    ROY BRIDGE
    INVERNESS-SHIRE
    PH31 4AR

    And the addresses of directors Peter Bevis and Helen McGregor are given as the same Roy Bridge address as the company. Very odd thing to do for people who as claimed in the Highland Titles IPSO complaint, haven't lived there since 2006!

    http://ukdatacentre.co.uk/company/SC493850/HIGHLAND+TITLES+LIMITED

    ReplyDelete