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Published on 16 - July - 2009

Harrison hit with £10,000 costs over BHETA injunction

BHETA member Charles Harrison, who is threatening to publish confidential association material, has failed in his bid to have the association’s injunction against him lifted.

This latest chapter in the row between Harrison and the British Home Enhancement Trade Association is over three private emails between association Board members that have come into his possession.

Harrison believes the content should be made available to members generally ahead of the association's proposed merger with the British Jewellery, Giftware and Finishing Federation. But last week BHETA took out a restraining injunction against him.

Now, following a hearing yesterday in the Royal Court of Justice, Harrison has been ordered to pay £10,000 in costs relating to the injunction by July 29. However, we understand that BHETA applied for costs of almost double that figure - £19,509 - and that Harrison has today been put on notice by BHETA's solicitors that the association will seek to recover the rest of the money.

This morning, Harrison told "It's a bit of a bugger, but I can't complain because I knew the risk when I refused to give an undertaking not to publish the emails. At least I'm not asking anybody else to pay. I hope the BHETA Board tell the members how much of their money has been spent."

BHETA's move against Harrison has prompted a storm of protest in the industry. Comments posted on include calls for a change of leadership at BHETA, along with accusations of inappropriate use of association funds in taking out the injunction, and cover-ups by the Board.

However, Max Crosby-Browne, a non-executive director on the BHETA Board, posted a comment on Tuesday in which he stated that "the famous emails which are the subject of the recent injunction are simple discussions between Board members about the levels of savings available and the different cost centres involved [in relation to the proposed merger]".

Charles Harrison, meanwhile, has told that he rejects Crosby-Browne's description of the emails' content.

Harrison is expected to give a further statement to later today.

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7/17/2009 3:32:00 PM
Harrison vs BHETA
By Rolf Jackson - DerNya Kre
We the members have borne the brunt of these cost and as a member I say refund Charles the 10,000 (or do not collect) and don't go after the additional funds that will cost even more money.

You, the board, have flexed your fiscal muscle to confine this information... now flex some integrity and do the honourable thing - leave it be, publish the information and step down.

Listen to the dissent of the members that you represent and stand up and be counted.

7/17/2009 9:46:00 AM
A useful dictionary definition?
By Simon Silverwood
Vote of no confidence: a vote showing that the majority do or do not support the policy of the governing body.

7/16/2009 5:45:00 PM

By Patrick Winters
Clearly none of us should make any further comments in case we are next to be taken to court, but I cannot help myself. Having won I think BHETA should do the honorable thing and stop the legal case now , cover ALL costs and stand down. you have won the case and lost my trust and respect I will not renew my membership under the current leadership regardless of which way the vote goes next week. I want nothing more to do with BHETA.

7/16/2009 5:23:00 PM
Injunction and 10000 costs to C.Harrison
By David Parkes Merchandise Controller AIS Ltd
I have just read Max-Crosby Browne comment on - in his words - the " famous emails " that they were simple discussions about levels of savings available in relation to the proposed merger. If this is the truth why not publish them for all to see and stop wasting peoples time and money. The only reason to take out an injunction is surely to keep the contents private!
So lets all challenge Max to back up his statement and publish these " famous Emails " Then we can all stop reading more and more about this never ending saga and get back to concentrating on Housewares and its products - which we all need to sell to survive in these challenging times !

7/16/2009 4:33:00 PM
BHETA Injunction
By An Ex member of BHETA
Well done BHETA what a fine use of the associations funds to ensure a member of that very association is landed with a huge bill.If these e-mails are so "innocent" why on earth are they being so protected from the eyes of BHETAs members.Perhaps if they were published we would all have a better understanding of how the board actually operate.I hope they are pleased with themselves with their "victory" over a member who just seems to have raised points and thoughts that others had but just did not voice.Do we as a industry really want these people representing our concerns and views when they seem to be so out of touch with what the membership are really thinking ?
Would you really now back the current board of BHETA ?
I know i dont.

7/16/2009 4:32:00 PM
By Paul Dart - DFTE M&L Home Collection
I am astounded at the costs involved in this injunction against a fellow member. Was it really necessary to go to the High Court? If an injunction WAS really necessary were other less expensive avenues explored? Surely our money should be put to a far better use, especially in these difficult times. I am also amazed at the fact that our assocciation is appealing against the ruling to get the rest of the costs awarded. This in turn will cost even more of our money. It appears to me that this could be getting personal. I sincerely hope not. I am going to make efforts to attend this meeting to voice my concerns to the chief executive and the board, as a whole, over handling of this sorry affair.

7/16/2009 2:45:00 PM
To see or not to see... that is the question.
By Rolf Jackson - DerNya Kre
The main point that I fail to understand is that the BHETA board is claiming transparency and not sweeping anything under the carpet.

As the BHETA board are trustees to the member s interests why not let the members see these confidential emails? For are not the members themselves BHETA and the board just appointed representatives and therefore these emails are indeed the interests of the members?

Is it not up to the members to stop Charles Harrison from publishing this BHETA information that has come into his possession? If it is then let us see the information and judge it from there. I suppose that BHETA is acting in our best interests my question to them is are they or not?

I ask Andrew Weiss, John Baker, John Newcomb, John Grayson, Max Crosby Browne, Peter Bello, Chris Ball, Clare Holland, Andy Vaughan and David French to send this confidential information to the membership that they represent and are responsible to!

I look forward to an answer

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