Fathers4Justice is accusing Granada's Tonight program of orchestrating a "violent conspiracy" by stage-managing a physical attack by one former member of the organization on two others on March 21st, 2005, which they allege to have filmed while covertly following the organization's activities.
The incident involved a vulnerable individual with mental health problems who had been plied with alcohol all day by an undercover Granada reporter named Mike Hardy. According to F4J members who were present, Mr. Hardy incited the person concerned to such an extent that he attacked two other members. The attack was then filmed for the Granada Tonight program by Mr. Hardy.
F4J said that program producer Adam Leary had stated in a letter of October 21st that "As part of our filming we recorded physical attacks on two people who were then part of F4J's management committee - Jason Hatch & Michael Cox - by an F4J campaigner, Paul Nicholson." Mr Nicholson was subsequently expelled from F4J as a result.
- Fathers 4 Justice believe that:
1) Granada deliberately manipulated a vulnerable individual (Mr Nicholson) with mental health problems and then subsequently plied him with alcohol during the day of March 21st, 2005.
2) That he was incited by the Granada reporter to physically attack members of the then management team.
3) That the Granada reporter then subsequently filmed the attack.
4) That the orchestrated attack had been intended for F4J leader Matt O'Connor who had been present for the first half of the meeting but subsequently left during an interval.
5) That the entire incident had been contrived and stage-managed by Granada.
6) F4J will be making a formal complaint to Ofcom about the incident.
Earlier today Fathers 4 Justice confirmed evidence uncovered by Granada's Tonight Program, that it had considered plans to sabotage television transmitters in the run-up to this year's general election, but had ruled-out the action after considering the impact on the public and the democratic process.
Granada plans to air the television show starting Friday.
Five Fathers 4 Justice activists who were facing jail sentences of up to two years were today unanimously cleared by a jury in a retrial at Kingston Crown Court of endangering road traffic users during a series of gantryprotests on major arterial roads coming into London on 2nd February 2005.