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MoJ apologises after staff described journalist as ‘crazy’ and a ‘bitch’ in internal messages

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BuzzFeed’s Emily Dugan regularly reports on issues concerning legal aid, the judiciary and the courts

Ministry of Justice

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has apologised after staff described Buzzfeed journalist Emily Dugan as “crazy” and a “bitch” in internal instant messages.

Released following a subject access request, much of the material documenting the online chats has been heavily redacted. In one, an unnamed MoJ staffer writes: “Yeah she’s a real bitch”, “And a but crazy reallt [sic]”. In another, someone asks “What’s the crack with dugan?” followed by several lines of redacted text.

📷 MoJ via BuzzFeed

Many of the internal messages appear to come after the MoJ was accused of witholding information relating to an internal report into the impact of unrepresented defendants on the criminal justice system. The original article, published by BuzzFeed and bylined by Dugan, claimed the government department “concealed the existence of a 36-page internal report” which “contained explosive testimony” from lawyers and judges about the rising number of defendants appearing without representation.

In a further inappropriate exchange among MoJ staff, one “press officer” says, “I’m starting to warm up Emily Dugan”, before adding: “I was giving her my best lines”, “This doesn’t have to be an adversarial relationship”, “Do you call here often?’”

The latest comments from across Legal Cheek

Responding to MoJ’s less-than-flattering internal correspondence, Dugan tweeted: “After spending the last couple of years exposing the human cost of legal aid cuts, I found out what MoJ spin doctors make of me… it’s not polite.”

Meanwhile, legal blogging heavyweight The Secret Barrister said: “If this is how the Ministry of Justice civil servants talk about journalists, one can only imagine what they’re saying about us lawyers…”

Others on Twitter were quick to condemn the behaviour:

An MoJ spokesperson said: “All relevant information has been disclosed under data protection rules in a sizeable release which confirms over multiple internal emails that there has been no deliberate attempt to withhold information — information that is not personal data is not in scope and has been redacted.” They continued:

“We were extremely disappointed to see that some of the language used in a small number of internal conversations was unprofessional. We take this seriously — appropriate internal action is being taken and a personal apology was extended to Ms Dugan. Two senior members of the press team have met with Ms Dugan over the last few months and we continue to answer her queries as efficiently and fully as we are able, as we do all the journalists we work with.”

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15 Comments

Anonymous

Lifted from Buzzfeed.

All LC staff do is sit trawling the internet looking for legal articles to rehash as their own content until another sponsored piece can be written up as a careers feature or event.

(28)(5)

Anonymous

Why do you read the articles? I literally only look at the comments!

(11)(0)

Anonymous

That’s the type of comment exclusively reserved for articles on the sidebar of shame on the DM website. Liven yourself up.

(7)(0)

Anonymous

Anyone that works for buzzfeed fits that label.

(13)(1)

Anonymous

What gender were the MoJ staff making the comments?

(4)(6)

Fluid

Non binary you bigot. They were not constrained by rigid constructs such as ‘gender’.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

I know, its sexist to ask in case they weren’t male.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Court officials hate this one clickbait trick!

(6)(0)

Anonymous

But they can’t stop you doing it, right?

(0)(0)

Ciaran Goggins

Dry January means I must read this sober;(

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn 2019!

A windfall tax on City greed to pay for legal aid!

FOR THE MANY, NOT THE FEW!

(6)(7)

Gerontion

Some people are just crazy b*tches, no matter how upset they or others might be to be told this.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

…and a but crazy reallt…a reallt is someone who is casual, free and relaxed in manner.

This sheds light on the press office.

Here we are, we need to drive through legal aid cuts in spite of the fact that defendants in person are a nightmare in all sorts of ways for the legal process.

So we set about withholding a 36 page report, with full blessing from on high, so that we can deny this and then deny it again when traces of its presence raise further scrutiny.

6
We do all this, for policy reasons, and, of course, no client journalist from the msm cares.

Then along comes this crazy casual. Picks us off, makes us look stupid and, like, what gives ? Get over yourself, no one cares that we are doing this, we are a press office for goodness sake. What do you expect us to do with a drain like legal aid ? Embrace it ? Laughs.

This particular journalist is a but crazy reallt. Accusing us of lying ? Curly finger next to your ear lady.Crumbs.


It reminds me of how Alex Jones was treated by Andrew Neill over jones’ expose of Bilderberg. It is an insight into msm, comrades, is this.

Go to the information commissioner please , Emily, see if you can get some redaction removed. If the Moj have sent two press officers to attend on you, they are hoping you will be charmed in to dropping this scrutiny.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

So this. No one got fired. The thoroughly dishonest press office did not suddenly become honest just because they switched from dealing with policy to dealing with a data protection request.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

The Court should remember that it is there to provide a service to litigants, including those who act in person. Failure to remember this is the cause of the ‘nightmare’.

(0)(0)

Comments are closed.

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