A man found in contempt of court for repeatedly breaching injunctions imposed to stop him harassing a circuit judge has been jailed for 16 months.
The ruling of Mr Justice Nicklin also records emails and a telephone call received by Legal Futures in the wake of our story in August on the liability ruling which purportedly came from the judge, His Honour Simon Oliver, but did not.
The judge said it was likely that it was actually the defendant, Javed Shaikh, who made contact with us.
He was found in contempt in August after a four-year campaign against the judge, who had refused the former trainee cardiac physiologist’s appeal against the Independent Safeguarding Authority decision to put him on the Adults Barred List.
The harassment was perpetrated primarily through a website called Judges Behaving Badly (JBB), on which allegations of serious criminality were made against HHJ Oliver and his sons.
Nicklin J found in August that Mr Shaikh was the webmaster and that he had breached an injunction imposed on him last year on 20 occasions, including not taking down this and other websites.
Recounting events since then, the court referred to a contact we received from someone claiming to be the judge after we published our story.
We received an email from a Hotmail address with HHJ Oliver’s name in it, which said: “My name is judge Simon Oliver. Please can you remove the above page as it is having an effect on my reputation and the ability to do my job properly. The matter should never been posted in the first place but I’ll be glad if you can remove it asap.”
An email exchange followed and we then contacted the Judicial Office press office to check whether they were genuinely from the judge, as the grammar and slapdash nature of the emails gave us cause to suspect they were not.
Nicklin J said we acted “quite properly” in doing so. The Judicial Office confirmed to us that HHJ Oliver had not sent the emails and asked us to send over the full exchange, which it appears were then provided to the court.
The claimant’s solicitor said in her affidavit that “the strong inference” was that Mr Shaikh was behind them, for several reasons, including that “it was plainly in the defendant’s interests that the report of the judgment should be removed from the Legal Futures website”.
The judge agreed. He said: “The evidence strongly suggests that the defendant was responsible for contacting Legal Futures purporting to be the claimant. It certainly has all the hallmarks of actions of the defendant. It is not necessary for me to reach a concluded view.
“This issue only has potential relevance to the issue of whether I am satisfied that the defendant is aware of the judgment of 24 August 2020 finding him in contempt. I am so satisfied…
“I remain satisfied that the defendant has judged that his best interests lie in not engaging with the claimant’s solicitors or the court in relation to this matter. The court will not be thwarted by this strategy.”
Nicklin J decided to proceed in Mr Shaikh’s absence, as he did in August, and concluded that his contempt has been “deliberate, persistent and blatant”.
He said: “They continue to this day. The defendant has shown no remorse or insight. On the contrary, he has consciously chosen to disobey and defy the court’s order and, particularly through his continued publication of the JBB website, attempted to draw as much public attention to his defiance as he can…
“The defendant clearly considers that he is above the law; that he does not need to comply with orders of the court. He even appears to enjoy his defiance. It is my duty to make clear that he is mistaken and to reassert the authority of the law.
“I am satisfied that this case is so serious that only a period of immediate imprisonment is sufficient to reflect the culpability of the defendant and the harm caused by his repeated breaches of the court’s order.”
Nicklin J issued a warrant for Mr Shaikh’s arrest and sentenced him to 16 months’ imprisonment.