Axed editor gets support in ‘mega-hearing’ threat

Labour MP Meg Hillier is among those who have expressed concern over the writ issued to the former editor of axed architectural magazine Cornerstone.

Robin Stummer was last month served with a writ demanding that he take down a website and Facebook page dedicated to the magazine.

The demands were made by the magazine’s former publisher the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB).

The charity is also attempting to force Stummer to return thousands of images used by Cornerstone magazine. The former editor insists that, under copyright laws, they belong to the photographers.

Separately, Stummer is set to take SPAB to court for an employment tribunal – citing unfair dismissal – on 30 January.

Now, Stummer claims the charity is trying combine the employment tribunal with its High Court claim and photograph copyright claims into one “mega-hearing”.

He said this feels like an attempt to “frighten” him off pursuing the charity for unfair dismissal, but told Press Gazette: “It hasn’t worked.”

As well as receiving support from Hillier, his local MP in Hackney, Stummer claims at least one formal complaint has been made to the Charity Commission.

Stummer points out that a charity using its funds to pay for High Court action focused on a magazine it no longer publishes is “not really the same thing as saving historic buildings and sites”.

Hillier has written a letter to the Charity Commission’s chief executive, seeking a statement on the matter.

As well as relying on his solicitor, Stummer is also in contact with the National Union of Journalists.

He believes that if SPAB is successful in forcing the closure of his website – www.robinstummer.net - and Facebook page, and claiming the photographs, it could set a “horrendous precedent for journalists”.

SPAB’s director Matthew Slocombe told Press Gazette he had no comment to make.

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