What a mess.
Let’s discuss the good things first: thanks to everyone who donated, the CrowdJustice fund sailed past the £100,000 mark within hours of my last update on the Rachel Riley libel case.
What a message that sends! I hope Ms Riley has received it and I’m deeply grateful to all of you who contributed.
But yesterday (November 4) was very stressful because the High Court reversed a decision that the hearing would take place remotely – online, with all of us in our respective offices/homes – and demanded that we all appear in person at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
I live in the middle of Wales, which is still in lockdown, and I am a carer. I cannot ask anyone else to take over my caring duties while I go away because we are not supposed to go into anybody else’s homes – and it would be at too short notice anyway.
Last year, when I attended a hearing, I was able to arrange care for Mrs Mike – but I would have been able to take her with me to my family home, which I used as a stop-off point overnight before proceeding to London. That option wasn’t available because England is now in lockdown and my brother is being treated for a rare form of cancer, and is therefore shielding.
It is impossible for me to go at this time.
This meant that my team would have been at a considerable disadvantage. While my legal representatives would have been able to attend, my absence would have required them to request pauses in proceedings if they needed advice from me (and I know from experience of my recent case against the Labour Party how disrupting those can be). Also my absence could have been interpreted as an indication that I did not consider the case to be particularly important, which is far from the truth.
So it was a highly-distressed and disturbed Mike Sivier who finally got to sleep at around 4am today (November 5).
I woke to an email from my solicitor saying that my barrister has suffered an eye injury. I shan’t go into all the details of what transpired in the hours between then and now; suffice it to say that the case has been adjourned to the first available date in the future.
It is a good result.
It gives my team time to refine our case, and it gives me an opportunity to work out ways to provide care for Mrs Mike and get to the hearing, if the court decides that the new one will be ‘in person’ as well.
But it does mean that this fiasco of a bid to strike out my defence will drag on a little longer.
The case will run on after that hearing anyway – we have to face the prospect of a trial lasting several days, sometime in 2021 – so please continue donating to the fund.
Here are the details, as always:
Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, via the CrowdJustice page.
Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.
Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.
On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.
I will let you know the date of the new hearing as soon as I get 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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