Solicitor ordered to hand over West case tapes

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The Independent Online
FREDERICK WEST, the Gloucester builder charged with 12 murders, won a High Court injunction yesterday against his former solicitor, Howard Ogden, following allegations that the lawyer was touting his former client's story for pounds 1m.

Earlier, the Law Society announced that it was beginning disciplinary proceedings against Mr Ogden in the wake of claims that he was offering taped interviews with Mr West for sale. Mr West, who is charged with murdering 12 women, dismissed Mr Ogden last week.

Granting the High Court order, which prevents Mr Ogden from breaching a disputed 'duty of confidence', Mr Justice Lightman said that an agreement Mr Ogden claimed he had entered into with Mr West, waiving that duty, was 'deplorable'. He added: 'I can think of nothing more calculated to bring the legal profession into disrepute and destroy public confidence.'

Mr Ogden, who claims he reached an agreement with Mr West to tell his story, was ordered to hand over tapes, letters and other items belonging to Mr West by Monday.

The court action and the decision by the Law Society's complaints bureau to begin disciplinary action against Mr Ogden followed claims that he was offering film makers and publishers 20 hours of taped interviews in which Mr West talks about his life with his wife, Rose, who faces nine murder charges.

If the complaints case is proven he could be struck off, fined or suspended. Mr Ogden, a small-town lawyer who once advertised on radio with the slogan 'If you are nicked call Oggie', became Mr West's lawyer shortly after bodies were dug up at his home in Gloucester.

In an interview on BBC Radio's The World at One, Mr Ogden denied he suggested to journalists that it would be stupid to pass up the chance to make a quick million for a lifetime of property conveyancing and writing wills. He said he had been misquoted.

Mr West's new solicitors, Bobbetts Mackann, said Mr West sacked Mr Ogden because he felt the solicitor was preparing material for a book rather than for his defence.

(Photograph omitted)

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