High Court: Campaign of bombardment

A High Court judge has issued a restraining order to stop a man in a long-running divorce case from contacting his former wife’s solicitor on her private email address.

Mr Justice Mostyn said “it is completely unacceptable that this form of harassment should take place”.

The divorce of airline captain Richard Wilmot and his wife Viki, now Maughan, took place in 2001, but the financial remedy proceedings were not resolved until 2007.

In 2011, Ms Maughan started enforcement proceedings over the 2007 order, which have been continuing ever since and been played out in national newspapers too.

Last year, the Court of Appeal rejected Captain Wilmot’s appeal, in which he said that all of the orders made in the case were null and void because they had been served on him by email.

Captain Wilmot was already subject to an extended civil restraint order lasting up to the latest hearing in front of Mostyn J, but the judge said he had nonetheless “purported to issue a number of applications and has bombarded the court, my clerk, the applicant’s solicitor and the applicant’s counsel with an extraordinary volume of emails”.

He added: “One cannot help but note the irony that he should use the medium of email for his campaign of bombardment in circumstances where his argument in the Court of Appeal was that all the orders that had been made against him were invalid because they had been served on him by email.

“He has sent directly to named members of staff in the court office since 27 October 2017 27 emails. He has sent to the court’s generic email address in that period, 36 emails. He has sent to my clerk in that period, 26 emails. He has sent to the applicant’s solicitor, 26 emails and he has sent direct to the applicant’s counsel Mr Swift, five emails.”

Ms Maughan made the application for the restraining order “to protect her servant or agent, namely her solicitor, and I am satisfied that is appropriate to grant that order”.

Mostyn J said he understood the Court of Appeal has “also been assailed by numerous emails”.

Captain Wilmot insisted before him that a German court had assumed sole jurisdiction over his case and that the proceedings in England should be adjourned.

The judge dismissed this as “blatantly untrue”, adding that in any case it “would not destroy the jurisdiction of this court which is extremely well established”.

In all, Ms Maughan’s claims for child support, arrears of child support – for a child Captain Wilmot maintained was not his, but has been found to be by a paternity test – and for costs and his receiver’s claims was just shy of £600,000, of which nearly £200,000 remained unpaid.

Mostyn J made an order authorising the receiver to liquidate from the frozen funds sufficient to pay this.

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