Thursday, 24 October 2013

Degrees for dogs

The BBC has procured an MBA for a dog called Pete. But the best ever degree for a dog has surely got to be that of Lulu Barnes, who a took a degree during the trial in the case of BSKyB v HP Enterprise Services UK Ltd [2010] EWHC 86 (TCC).

The story of Lulu Barnes' MBA is revealed in the judgment (below). As you will see, while Lulu did very well (better than the Managing Director of the relevant part of EDS, in fact), things did not work out so well for other graduates of that court. I saw the transcripts of the cross-examination of the witness at the time and only wish I'd seen the whole thing happen in Court.

From the judgment:

174. In his first witness statement at paragraph 8, Joe Galloway stated that “I hold an  MBA from Concordia College, St. Johns (1995 to 1996)”. Whilst it is,  superficially, correct that Concordia College had granted him an MBA, as set out  below it was not a genuine degree and was not obtained by study in 1995 to 1996. However, on being asked questions about that degree Joe Galloway gave evidence  to the court over a prolonged period which EDS fully accept, as they have to, was  completely false. This led to the termination of his employment by EDSC and to  EDS having to accept that their main witness had lied in giving his evidence. He  was also the person who, as Managing Director of the relevant part of EDS,  directed and was fully involved in EDS’ Response to the ITT and in the various  matters which are alleged by Sky to give rise to the misrepresentations in this case. 

175. It is necessary for me to set out in more detail the way in which the evidence  relating to the Concordia MBA developed. 

176. When he first gave evidence, he was asked a series of questions on Day 37. He  was shown a website for Concordia College and University which he said he did  not recognise. He said that he was in St John in the US Virgin Islands and  attended Concordia College for approximately a year which involved attendance at classes. He said that he had a diploma or degree certificate and transcripts of his  marks which were, in the end, produced to the Court. He was taken to the website  for Concordia College which stated as follows: 

“You may have done past courses and other learning which equals an  Associate, Bachelor or Master degree but you accumulated that learning  in a variety of contexts with no resulting degree outcome. Meeting your  needs, Concordia College's online prior learning assessment process may conclude with an accredited degree in 24 hours, in the subject of your prior studies. Your transcripts then credibly document all of your learning.” 

177. One of the pages of the website referred to some of the successful Concordia  College graduates and by clicking on a tab it showed Joe Galloway as one of those graduates. He maintained that he had not seen the website before. 

178. In fact, Concordia College is a website which provides on-line degrees for anyone who makes an application and pays the required fee. This was effectively and amusingly demonstrated by an application which was made on the website for an MBA degree for a dog “Lulu” belonging to Mark Howard QC. Without any difficulty the dog was able to obtain a degree certificate and transcripts which were in identical form to those later produced by Joe Galloway but with marks which, in fact, were better than those given to him. In addition, a recommendation letter was provided to Mr Galloway and the dog by a person who purported to be President and Vice-Chancellor of Concordia College and University in the following terms: 

“As Head of Department at Concordia College & University, I am writing this academic letter of recommendation to you in respect of our alumnus Joseph Michael Galloway. 
Mr. Galloway is conferred the degree, rank and academic status Master of Business Administration with a major in International Business effective 19 May 1996 upon as a consequence of our widely reputed degree programme, and of our guided academic research into then subjects. 
During his connection with Concordia College & University, we experienced Mr. Galloway as a conscientious and orderly element who proved the habit of timely and correct study and research to be intrinsic to his person. He successfully completed all requirements of our Board of Examiners within the mutually agreed time limitations. Mr. Galloway demonstrated that he is prepared and fully equipped to add valuable apprenticeship to our institution’s activities by means of talented and profoundly investigated subject treatment. 
Hence it is our privilege to recommend the academic experience, methodical working and educational assiduity of Joseph Michael Galloway to you since we bear the true conviction that Mr. Galloway shall not cease to expose his capacities as a meaningful acquisition to fitting your purpose.” 
179. Whilst the underlying lie was that Joe Galloway had quite evidently obtained a fake degree from the Concordia Collage website, he then gave evidence both on Day 37 and when he returned on Days 45 to 46 which was palpably dishonest both in answer to questions in cross-examination and also in answer to questions from the Court. 
180. In that evidence he maintained that he had not purchased his MBA degree online. Rather he said that he had in fact attended classes at a building used by Concordia College at St John over the period 1994 or 1995 to 1996, studying to obtain the degree. He said that he attended Concordia College whilst he was employed by BSG/Alliance IT working on a project on St John for Coca Cola, which required him to be based for the majority of his time on St John. He said that he travelled to and from St John by plane, flying into and out of the island. He explained that when he attended Concordia College “there were a number of buildings that I went to. I can remember three distinct buildings that we went to. Block, office block buildings in and around the locations of the commercial area that I was working in for Coca Cola.” 
181. He said he attended between 5 and 10 classes, which were “across multiple days. Multiple weeks, multiple months”. He said that they were “once a week for three hours” across a term. Later he said in answer to a question from the Court: “an average programme would be one three-hour class per night per course. So if, for  example, in one semester block, I would have three courses, I would have three nights each with one three-hour class per week. So for example, Monday, I might go for three hours, Wednesday I might go for three hours and Thursday, I might go for three hours.” He said that there were “exams at the end of each class” and that some class sizes “were five people, some class sizes were eight to ten” but he did not ask anybody their name. 
182. He explained that he was working on St John on a project for Coca Cola and said “it was a long project. We were there a total of 15 months, but I would be there for a time and then go away and then come back. Sometimes the gap would be a week, and sometimes the gap would be up to about three weeks, especially in the holiday period.” He said that he was living in “a hotel environment.” He said that he “was working with a number of independent Coca Cola Distributors that were in the area” and that whilst there was no Coca Cola bottling plant or anything of the nature there but there was a Coca Cola office which was clearly described as a Coca Cola facility with “Coca Cola marketing, advertising materials around.” 
183. In relation to travelling to St John he said: “As I recall, there was a small commuter flight that went back and forth to St Johns.” and which went “From St Thomas which is the largest island to St John.” He said that it was a “Four - six seater kind of airplane”. After he had been told there was no airport on St John and that St Thomas was two kilometres away he was later asked whether he maintained that he flew on to St John and he replied “As I said before, I don't recall specifically.” 
184. He said that he could provide “the graduate materials that I worked on, the work books, the books, that sort of thing. I am happy to pass those along to you.” He said that would be “somewhere between five and ten textbooks”, which were “books that are associated with the class”. When he did provide a book EDS’ solicitors said that Joe Galloway “recalls having this for some time but cannot recall whether he used this as part of any of his studies”. That book was “The Customer Connection” by John Guaspari and bore a barcode, stickers and pencil markings which linked it with the library of the St Charles, Missouri campus of Sanford-Brown College near his current home in St Louis, Missouri and evidently was a recent acquisition. 
185. In fact, as I have said, Sky produced two witness statements from David Phillips, a solicitor from Herbert Smith LLP who visited the US Virgin Islands during the trial and a witness statement from Senator Liston Davis, a US Virgin Islands senator, a former Superintendent of Schools, Commissioner of Education and member of the Board of Education in the US Virgin Islands and the current Chairman of the US Virgin Islands Legislative Committee on Education, Culture and Youth.

186. This evidence, which was not challenged, showed that there was not and never had been a Concordia College & University on St John; there was not, nor ever had been a Coca Cola office or facility on St John; there was not, nor ever had been an airport on St John and it was not possible to fly onto the island. The closest island, St Thomas, is about two kilometres away. 
187. Sky submit that, as a result, Joe Galloway revealed himself in his evidence to be a person with a wholesale disregard for the truth, entirely willing to lie and to make things up in order to suit his needs. They say that he revealed himself as a man who could lie without any palpable change in his disposition or any outward signs of unease and that he repeatedly perjured himself, deliberately and knowingly seeking to mislead the Court. Sky submit that, overall, the Court cannot but come to the conclusion that Joe Galloway’s evidence as a whole is a complete lie. 
188. EDS accept that Joe Galloway lied to the court in relation to his MBA and he has been dismissed from his employment by EDSC as a result. 

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