Scottish Gamekeepers’ ‘handwriting expert’ on Chris Packham’s death threat letter exposed in Panorama sting

This is hilarious. The Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association has been caught with its pants around its ankles, again.

Cast your minds back to April 2019, when Chris Packham received a death threat letter (see here and here) following Wild Justice’s successful legal challenge against the General Licences.

Then fast-forward two years to March 2021 when the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association (SGA) made a bizarre attempt to discredit Chris’s integrity by employing the services of an unnamed ‘handwriting expert’ who apparently concluded that there was ‘very strong evidence‘ that Chris had faked the death threat letter and had written it himself.

The SGA said it had sent this ‘evidence’ to Hampshire Police and it also notified the Sunday Times (Scotland), presumably in the hope of turning public support against Chris, although it didn’t work out quite that way, when Hampshire Police dismissed the ‘evidence’ and the Sunday Times even employed the services of its own forensic document examiner who concluded that Chris was NOT the author of the death threat letter (see here and here).

At the time, it was quite puzzling that the SGA hadn’t published its ‘evidence’ from the ‘handwriting expert’ but given that the SGA often seems to rely upon anecdote and old wives’ tales as the basis for its mutterings and chuntering, nobody thought much more about it.

Now fast-forward to April this year, when an article appeared in the Sunday Times (Scotland) written by its deputy editor, Mark Macaskill, with the headline that Chris ‘faces a new claim of faking the death threat‘:

It was apparent from the Sunday Times article that the ‘evidence’ provided to the SGA by their ‘handwriting expert’ was to be used by three men being sued by Chris for alleged defamation.

As this ‘evidence’ is being relied upon by the three defendants in the libel case [to support their allegations that Chris is dishonest], Chris’s lawyers are entitled to see the ‘evidence’ of this ‘handwriting expert’ [and one other that the SGA claimed to have bought] so they asked for copies of the purported ‘experts’ reports as part of the disclosure process.

And this is where the SGA’s ‘evidence’ unravels.

The following is part of the response made to the court by Chris’s lawyers, explaining their reaction to the ‘handwriting experts’ reports after receiving them from the libel defendants’ solicitor. It’s all worth reading but pay particular attention to the paragraph I’ve highlighted in red, referring to the ‘evidence’ of the SGA’s ‘handwriting expert’ Ms Simone Tennant:

So there we have it. The SGA’s ‘handwriting expert’, Ms Simone Tennant, was previously caught out (in 2014) for apparently providing ‘flawed evidence’ in a sting operation by the BBC’s undercover Panorama programme, ‘Justice for Sale‘.

This exposé was reported at the time by BBC News (here) and by the Daily Mail (here).

Now I understand why the SGA didn’t publish its ‘evidence’ back in 2019.

And what a beautiful irony that it’s partly the SGA’s ‘evidence’, having been re-hashed in a national newspaper and online even though it was supposed to be the subject of live court proceedings, that has now led to Chris seeking further aggravated damages from the defendants in his libel claim.

The libel trial is due to take place later this year.

8 thoughts on “Scottish Gamekeepers’ ‘handwriting expert’ on Chris Packham’s death threat letter exposed in Panorama sting”

  1. It seems that flawed evidence being used is a tool of the alliance of Gamekeepers and some farming concerns. By that I mean the continuing claims that a large number of lambs are killed annually by sea eagles. As far as I know no research has borne this out either in this country or overseas where similar conditions exist. (No one denies that an odd lamb that is not already dying or is a runt, might, indded, be predated by a sea eagle but this is by far the exception to the rule.) If this prevarication is accepted then it opens the doors to more compensation money to be paid and the priciplile of culling preotected species is given a precedent .. which, i also believe, was the intended goal.
    Online I have heard this false accusation so many times that it seems that Goebbels old quip that if you repeat a lie often enough it becomes accepted as truth. Indeed this, again in my opinion, seems to be THE core strategy of the SGA in so many areas that, on this occasion, they simply took it a bit too far into an area where hard evidence could prove their claims to be unfounded.
    Aye, they are a rum lot!

    1. You could or at least the SGA found experts who thought they could get away with making it up, which amounts to the same thing. Hoist by their own petard anyone!

  2. Surely the SGA are in contempt of court for causing evidence being used in a live trial to be published?

    1. Well ‘somebody’ is in trouble for publishing the ‘evidence’ in the document entitled ‘The Packham Papers’ (which has since been taken down) but whether that’s the SGA or ‘somebody’ else, remains to be seen. I expect the trial judge will have something to say about it when the case comes to court.

  3. Considering the supposed “expert” in hand writing is actually a graphologist I would wonder why on earth anyone puts any credence what so ever in what they say, as graphology is unevidenced nonsense.

  4. Sigh. As a long-standing newspaper journalist and editor, trained in the important basics of fact-checking and not being in contempt of court, it pains me to see people writing anything they like on social media without providing any evidence
    Of course it happens in newspapers too but I’m glad I’m now out of the profession which gave me so much because it’s gone downhill so much.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s