Sued Pool fan set to fight another day

David Ragozzino outside Manchester Civil Justice Centre
David Ragozzino outside Manchester Civil Justice Centre
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A crowd of Blackpool FC supporters chanted “Oystons out” in support of a fellow fan as he emerged from a High Court showdown with the controversial family.

David Ragozzino, 32, is being sued for up to £150,000 by the club, as well as Karl and Owen Oyston, over alleged defamatory comments posted online.

He said he was “happy” with the ruling of a judge after being granted 21 days to submit his defence to the allegations after conceding his original papers were not up to scratch.

Speaking in court on Thursday, he accused the claimants of an “abuse of process” saying their efforts to have his defence thrown out “would ultimately leave an innocent man financially embarrassed and be a grave miscarriage of justice”.

Mr Ragozzino, of Marton, added that the hearing was a “waste of valuable court time”.

The claims relate to comments allegedly made by the defendant on the A View From The Tower online fans’ forum under the screen name The_Run_Up_The_Hill.

Some of the comments refer to Owen Oyston’s conviction for rape in 1996.

It was standing room only as around 50 Pool fans followed him into court 44, on the ninth floor of the Manchester Civil Justice Centre, while others had met outside to show their support before moving on.

A hardcore few remained outside to greet a jubilant Mr Ragozzino following District Judge Daniel Moss’ decision, turning down a request to rule in favour of the Oystons.

A solicitor representing the claimants, who were not present in court, had called for a judgement in default of a defence, after highlighting flaws in the papers served by Mr Ragozzino, which he said were “not a defence.”

While the judge accepted there were flaws with the submission, he turned down the request, saying papers had been served.

He added: “I have been generous with 21 days.

“It may be more difficult to explain any failure to comply.

“You have to file a detailed defence, with a statement of truth, addressing each of the particulars of the claim.

“If you don’t do it you will be debarred from defending the claim.

“I have ignored the application for a default judgement. It will have to come back before a circuit judge.”

Mr Raggozino will have until 4pm on February 26 to comply.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Ragozzino said: “I’m happy with how it went.

“Everything has come out that we wanted to come out of it.

“They thought they were coming here today to just get awarded the damages.

“That is a victory in itself.

“The Oystons are doing it to other people and I’m prepared to stick my neck out so they think more about it in future.”

One of his supporters, who had travelled from Lytham, said outside court: “It’s a disgrace this has happened.

“Suing your own supporters, and customers, is beyond comprehension.”