This information arrives too late to be included in my bid to beat Rachel Riley’s attempt to strike out my libel defence – but we can hope that the judge has seen it and knows it is coming.
According to the Telegraph, the Tory government’s new “Online Harms” law will include measures to imprison online bullies for a maximum of two years.
It states: “Online bullies and those who join internet ‘pile-ons’ could face up to two years in jail under a raft of seven new criminal ‘duty of care’ offences.
“Ministers are working with the Law Commission to create criminal offences that would allow police to prosecute people responsible for online communications that caused a victim ‘serious emotional distress’.
“It would cover emails, social media posts and WhatsApp messages and also pile-on harassment when a number of different individuals send threatening communications to a victim.
“Other offences being considered include incitement or encouragement of pile-on harassment, knowing participation in pile-on harassment and glorification of violence or of violent crime.”
Rachel Riley’s accusation of libel against me is based on her claim that she did not incite or encourage people who follow her Twitter account to dogpile (that’s the correct term for what the Telegraph describes as a “pile-on”) a vulnerable teenager.
The girl who received this unwanted attention suffers from anxiety issues and endured extreme distress as a result.
I wonder whether Riley would be able to escape prison if this law had been in effect in December 2018, when she started picking on that young lady?
As it is, I am still awaiting a judgment on her wafer-thin argument that my defence against her libel claim should be thrown out.
It is nearly a month since the hearing but my solicitor tells me that such delays are not unusual. It is possible that we will have our result on or after January 11, when the High Court’s Christmas vacation ends.
Whatever happens, I will need to fund my defence – and I desperately need help:
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.
It seems clear that Riley could have been tried for a criminal offence if this planned law had been enacted a few years ago.
The fact that she is prosecuting me for pointing out her outrageous behaviour therefore seems even more of an atrocity.
But she is the darling of the media and she is extremely rich – and I am not. And money talks.
Please help me make sure she cannot buy justice – and make a mockery of a new law to protect the vulnerable before it has even had a chance to take effect.
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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