Day 002 - 29 Jun 94 - Page 03
McDonald's brought this case expecting that we too would
2 immediately cave in, apologise and, therefore, be
silenced. We did not and we will not, but they have
3 continued with the case nevertheless. As Mr. Rampton
admitted yesterday, their aim in taking this case to its
4 conclusion is to gain a legal seal of approval for their
business practices. This is a show trial against unwaged,
5 unrepresented defendants. McDonald's hope that because of
our lack of resources and legal experience they will gain
6 an easy victory and a detailed judgment in their favour
which they can then use to say to all their critics that
7 they have proven, to the satisfaction of the court, they
are squeaky clean.
Of course, the reality is that at the end of case they
9 would have proved no such thing because under the libel
laws it is up to the defendants to prove everything, and
10 not proven is not the same as untrue.
11 However, as a result of our counterclaim and McDonald's
defence to that counterclaim, where they assert that the
12 leaflet is lies virtually from start to finish, it is now
up to them to prove their claim.
So far, the plaintiffs have shown a marked reluctance to
14 prove their claims by disclosing documents relevant to all
the issues. We have heard time and time again that we
15 could not have documents because they were not going to
provide ammunition for our case. If McDonald's have
16 nothing to hide, why are they not proud to show all these
documents to us? Since the counterclaim, as I have said
17 before, the plaintiffs are now in any event under an
obligation to disclose any documents in their possession
18 relevant to the pleadings. Since the pleadings, as
I said, assert that the whole of the leaflet are untrue
19 they should be serving a large number of documents they
have previously refused to disclose -- the pleadings to
20 the counterclaim, that is.
21 Not only have they refused to disclose documents that we
have asked for, they have gone so far as to blank out
22 parts of those documents. Here is an example. You may
remember 24 was referred to before. It is a report on a
23 meeting that McDonald's had on nutrition and advertising.
It concerns an advertising campaign by McDonald's in the
24 United States which attempted to extol the plaintiffs'
food as nutritious.
Three State attorney generals took action against the
26 plaintiffs over this advertising campaign. They wrote to
McDonald's and told them to stop the use of the adverts or
27 to face legal action.
28 I thought I had the document out. The letter that I am
going to refer to is in volume 6, section B, No. 7.
29 I will read the first two paragraphs of the letter.
30 MR. JUSTICE BELL: Let me just find it. Section?