Nominet will sue member for alleged libel of chief executive Lesley Cowley

Graeme Wingate vows to justify 'legitimate concerns' about internet registry organisation

Lesley Cowley
Lesley Cowley

Nominet, the not-for-profit internet registry organisation, is suing one of its members for alleged libel after he published a series of online articles attacking the company and the chief executive’s leadership.

The company said in a statement that Graeme Wingate had pursued a campaign of "harassment and victimisation" against its staff through his websites, avoid.co.uk and that.co.uk.

A statement on avoid.co.uk says its aim is to "focus solely on the leadership of Ms Lesley Cowley, chief executive of Nominet, and her immediate removal on the grounds of dishonesty, transparency and incompetence".

Wingate is using that.co.uk to campaign against Nominet’s proposals to introduce a new .uk domain name space, instead of .co.uk or .org.uk.

Nominet provides between £5m and £7m a year in funding for the charity the Nominet Trust, which invests in innovative technological ideas.

The Nominet statement says it had issued a libel claim against Wingate and his company, That Internet Limited, for allegedly publishing defamatory content.

The claim centres on a video published by Wingate on avoid.co.uk alleging that Cowley lied at an employment tribunal when appearing on behalf of Nominet.

Nominet is seeking an injunction to take down the video and prevent "its publication in future", according to a statement from the company.

"The board is united in its view that harassment and victimisation of our staff is unacceptable, and that Nominet should take appropriate action to support staff and protect our reputation," it says.

In response, Wingate wrote on avoid.co.uk that he had raised funds through private donations to hire a barrister to review any evidence against the Nominet directors. He said he was "fully prepared to justify all my allegations in a court of law".

He added: "I fully believe in the independence of the High Court and that it will agree with my right as a member of Nominet and a business owner who uses .uk domains to raise legitimate concerns about individuals."

As a member of Nominet, Wingate has similar voting rights as shareholders in other companies.

A consultation run by Nominet about the new .uk domain name service closed earlier this month. It received 850 formal responses.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus