Don’t be fooled: Rachel Riley has not won any of her libel cases

I received an email message today from John Gorniak, courtesy of CrowdJustice.

It said: “The Guardian are running a story that Riley won her case. Is this so and how is it that if she has not they are running this line?”

I think many people may be just as confused as Mr Gorniak at the latest developments.

For clarity: Rachel Riley is suing three people, to my knowledge – myself, Jane Heybroek and Laura Murray. The Guardian report refers to the case against Ms Murray.

It says that Ms Riley has won the first round of her High Court libel claim because a judge had stated that words tweeted by Laura Murray were defamatory in common law, in a judgement on the meaning of the statement.

That is not a ruling that Ms Riley has won her case. Ms Murray will now provide defences that one part of her tweet was true and another was her honestly-held opinion and there will be a trial.

While it is true that the judge upheld Ms Riley’s version of the meaning, the difference between it and Ms Murray’s was minor.

It is the interpretation of the facts that matters.

But it is hardly surprising that Mr Gorniak is confused. Consider Ms Riley’s own tweet about the ruling:


She made it seem that the judge had delivered a verdict on the case as a whole, and that is not true.

It is also not the first judgement. That came in December when the same judge – Mr Justice Nicklin – said that my article, which Ms Riley claims is libellous – was a “classic expression of opinion”. He went on to say that there were some statements of fact that I would have to support and I do not expect to have any problems there.

But the Daily Mail (for example) then reported the ruling thus: Countdown star Rachel Riley was wrongly accused of being responsible for death threats sent to teenager, libel trial hears.

It wasn’t a trial – just a hearing – and that wasn’t the verdict, but it did hear that claim.

You see how easy it is to subvert the facts?

Ms Riley clearly has the media on her side. And she has lots of cash with which to pursue these hugely expensive libel cases. Laura Murray is lucky enough to have some wealth of her own.

I don’t.

That’s why I have to campaign to raise the money I need to fight her claims about me, which aren’t even as accurate as the tweet pictured above.

If any of the above has made you angry about the way a media darling can twist the facts to suit herself, please do as much as you can of the following:

Consider making a donation yourself, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

On Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

These cases are making a mockery of British justice. Don’t let Ms Riley get away with it.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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4 thoughts on “Don’t be fooled: Rachel Riley has not won any of her libel cases

  1. Raspberry Ritz

    Hi Mike, I tried to make a further donation but you do not have paypal. I am sure that I am not the only one who refuses to enter their card details online so PLEASE consider adding PAYPAL immediately. I know you are very busy fighting the good fight, blogging and caring for your wife but this is a bench mark case and should be reported all the way by those who can.

    warmest regards

    Helen ~


    In this kind of ‘hearing of meaning’, ‘defamatory at common law’ has no bearing on whether Riley was libelled. ‘Defamatory’ in legalese simply means that the statement damages her. If it was true, or reasonably believed to be true, it’s not libel. Of course, to expect such factual details to be considered in tweets and broadcasts on the matter is a pipedream.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Absolutely correct on the meaning. I tend to agree with you on the way it has been discussed in tweets.

Comments are closed.