Appeal proceedings begin in Mike’s libel case

The Court of Appeal has received my application for it to overturn the High Court decision to strike out my defences against Rachel Riley’s libel accusation.

I say that Mrs Justice Collins Rice failed to apply the law in respect of my defence that I wrote my article in the public interest. There are several arguments in support of this, of which my favourite is simply that the judge could not make a decision without hearing all the evidence of the case – and her support for a series of false narratives put forward by Riley’s legal team proves that she did not.

The judgment has grave implications for journalistic freedom and free speech. Not only did it wrongly deprive me of this defence but it also denied my Article 10 convention right to free speech – and is unlawful.

I say that Mrs Justice Collins Rice failed to apply the law in respect of my defence that my article was a statement of honest opinion. She said that I could not hold such an opinion on the basis of the facts that had been presented to her – but this defence may rely on any fact which existed at the time my article was published. The judge had not considered all of those facts.

I also say that Mrs Justice Collins Rice made serious errors of law in her determination of my defence that parts of my article were statements of truth. Sadly, in a court that relies on the parties telling “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”, she was misled by Riley’s legal team who provided selective evidence, rather than allowing the judge access to all of the facts.

She was treating the evidence before her as all the evidence of the case, when it was simply evidence in support of a skeleton argument; I intend to provide full evidence at the trial. In basing her judgment on partial evidence, she was conducting the “mini-trial” that she had declared she would not do.

Finally, I say that Mrs Justice Collins Rice appears to have failed to assess Riley’s costs properly. I can only say she appears to have done so, as all we have at the moment is a statement that she is “inclined” to grant costs in the full amount requested – even though that amount is not permitted according to the rules.

Riley’s lawyers oppose all the arguments listed above – and the others that I have not mentioned here for the sake of brevity. But my reading of their response has not found any new information that defeats my arguments.

I requested an urgent determination of the application to appeal because Riley’s legal team was threatening to enforce such a costs order immediately – which, even with the kind donations of my supporters, would have put me deeply in debt.

I am pleased to say that the lawyers have agreed not to proceed with such enforcement until the appeal application is determined.

In turn, this means that the application is no longer considered urgent.

But I still need your help!

The case may not be considered urgent at the moment, but that does not mean my application won’t be considered soon, and I will need funds to take the next step, whatever it may be.

So, if you think my grounds for appeal, as laid out above, are reasonable, please consider taking one or all of the following steps:

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 can’t guarantee which way the Court of Appeal will take this case.

If it refuses to allow me a chance to be heard, then the case is as good as over and I will face a huge – and entirely unjust – penalty.

But there is still hope. The arguments are good. And judges can be wrong. If not, there wouldn’t be an appeal court.

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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1 thought on “Appeal proceedings begin in Mike’s libel case

  1. spirit

    Can’t help but wonder whether the judge (or indeed any future appeals judge) has any familiarity with the internet/social media. More to the point, I wonder if they would take the time to read Shaun Lawson’s original article which was cogent, well-argued and filled with references. To ignore the content and context would be ridiculous; I know justice is supposed to be blind but it does not have to be dumb and certainly should not be hamstrung by obstinacy and selective myopia.

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