Monday, 8 December 2008

Constance Talks About Libel Court Case Victory

For those who have read Constance Briscoe's best-selling memoir, 'Ugly' you have probably been probably been paying close attention to the recent libel case brought against her by her mother. For those who don't know, Constance Briscoe is one of Britain's first black judges. In 2005 she published a memoir revealing the years of physical and emotional abuse she endured at the hands of her mother.

Routinely called "ugly", Constance describes a catalogue of horrors including being beaten by a stick, having her breasts pinched and twisted so severely that she had to undergo reconstructive surgery, being locked in a cellar, and being made to sleep in urine drenched bed sheets. At her lowest point Constance attempted to commit suicide by drinking bleach. Despite the somewhat humorous and nonchalant way in which these incidents were described, it was simply heartbreaking to read. The book caused a stir naturally, and sparked much needed debate about the culture of beating which is still very much inherent in the the black community.

Constance's mother recently took her daughter to court claiming that all the allegations made in the book were lies, and Constance was just a fantasist. Initially I began to feel quite worried about this turn of events. What if we had all been sold a pack of lies? I thought. What if Constance was just abusing her powers of the law and had simply used her poor vulnerable mother as a means to fame and fortune. I pondered.

However, last week Constance won the trial and her mother now faces £500,000 in legal fees, which she has been ordered to pay to Hodder and Stoughton, the publishers of the book. At 74 years old Carmen Briscoe (Constance's estranged mother) could stand to lose her house. Constance however has gracefully requested that the courts ensure that her mother keeps her home and doesn't end up on the streets. Ironic, eh? Such a tragic ending to what already was a sad story. Constance' Read one of Constance's first post-trial interviews here:

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I am a thirty-something African Caribbean female from South East London. My blog will shine a light on Black British culture offering the best in entertainment, fashion, beauty, community, film & music, with the occasional personal musing thrown in from yours truly. Thank you for taking out the time to peek into the pages of my diary. Now grab a cup of cocoa, relax and enjoy.