The lawsuit filed against Ghost frontman Tobias Forge (aka Cardinal Copia/Papa Emertius) by ex-members Simon Söderberg, Mauro Rubino, Henrik Palm, and Martin Hjertstedt was dismissed following a trial in the Linköping District Court in Linköping, Sweden back in October 2018, but the former members requested a new trial after claiming there was a conflict of interest due to Forge and Judge Henrik Ibold both having ties to the same branch of the Swedish Order Of Freemasons. Now, Corren.se are reporting that an appeals court has rejected that argument.
The court essentially said Forge and Ibold‘s membership did not influence the ruling and that they did not break any local laws. They went on to say the judge should have informed the parties involved of his membership after he found out Forge might be a member, but “his failure to do so is not in itself sufficient to warrant a disqualification.”
The former members originally filed the lawsuit after claiming they did not receive proper payment for their musical contributions and tours, and that they were not allowed to see any financial records from 2011-2016. They also claimed the band was a partnership despite the fact that Forge denied those claims repeatedly.
Once the case went to trial, testimony by various key witnesses was heard and the district court decided there was not enough convincing evidence to prove a partnership existed. They also ordered the former members to pay Forge‘s legal fees. Forge claimed over 2 million kronor in fees, but the court decided 1.3 million kronor (roughly $145,000 USD) was more reasonable.