Video-maker celebrates as tycoon fails in sue bid
A millionaire property tycoon has failed in his bid to sue a YouTube vlogger for £10,000 after a county court district judge threw the case out.
Fergus Wilson’s decision to ban “coloureds” from any of his rental properties sparked outrage and the 69-year-old was targeted by Danny Hyde in a video posted in March 2017.
Mr Wilson took offence to being branded a rude term and attempted to sue Mr Hyde, from Somerset, for £9,999 after claiming his insults breached the 1988 Malicious Communications Act.
During a case heard at Yeovil County Court last week, a judge dismissed the case brought against the 29-year-old painter and decorator stating it had “no basis in law”.
Mr Wilson was found to have breached section 12 of the 2010 Equality Act when he sent instructions to a letting agent stating he did not want “coloured” people in his properties because of dealing with curry smells at the end of tenancies.
Mr Hyde, a YouTuber with 1,300 subscribers, suggested Mr Wilson was “coming across as racist” due to the policy.
The court case took place in the landlord’s absence and he was ordered to pay £3,000 in legal fees to a legal access charity.
Mr Hyde was represented on a pro bono basis by Gerard Clarke of Blackstone Chambers.
Following the case’s dismissal, Mr Hyde posted a video to his followers as he celebrated the decision with a can of Stella Artois from his Glastonbury home.
In his video he said: “Next time you sue me Fergus try and actually turn up. I was there ready to be sued and Fergus, who was doing the suing, was nowhere to be seen.
“We have learnt it is perfectly legal to call Fergus Wilson a xxxxx so guys, knock yourselves out.”
Mr Wilson, of Boughton Monchelsea, suggested the case should be heard at the Supreme Court after the judge deemed the case not suitable for a county court.
He said: “The actual words in his video should be beeped. I would have found that acceptable. People should exercise care using anything that would adversely influence schoolchildren.”
Mr Wilson has always denied he was racist, and argued this particular housing criteria was on economic grounds due to dealing with food aromas. Gerard Clarke, representing Mr Hyde at Yeovil County Court, praised the judge in the case and said he stepped in to help his client when he saw the predicament the decorator found himself in on social media.
He said: “This wasn’t difficult to get thrown out. It was a hopeless case and the judge was clued up and could see straight away it was nonsense.
“It seemed to be a classic case of a wealthy man trying to intimidate someone into shutting up. Danny is just a young lad from Glastonbury who is a painter and decorator.
“I thought it was an example of the courts being misused so I thought I would get involved.”
The case lasted just 15 minutes before the judge dismissed it. Fergus Wilson had not travelled to the hearing and instead paid an agent £180 to stand in for him.
Mr Clarke added: “It just looked like a great inequality of power. The courts were being used for vengeance and that isn’t what they are for.”
Danny Hyde celebrates after property tycoon Fergus Wilson, right, failed in his attempts to sue the painter and decorator over a YouTube video