What a pleasure to be writing about a court case involving Rachel Riley, that doesn’t involve me as well!
The TV parlour game-player was in the High Court today, giving evidence in her libel case against Laura Murray, a former aide of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The details of the case are laid out clearly in the Yahoo News report, here:
Ms Murray had posted [a] tweet on March 3, 2019, after an egg was thrown at Mr Corbyn, who was then the Labour leader, by a Brexit supporter when he was visiting Finsbury Park Mosque, in north London.
She had been responding to a tweet posted by Ms Riley, Mr Justice Nicklin was told.
Ms Riley had initially retweeted a January 2019 tweet by Guardian columnist Owen Jones, about an attack on former British National Party leader Nick Griffin, in which Mr Jones had said: “I think sound life advice is, if you don’t want eggs thrown at you, don’t be a Nazi.”
She had added “Good advice”, with emojis of a red rose and an egg.
Later, Ms Murray had tweeted: “Today Jeremy Corbyn went to his local mosque for Visit My Mosque Day, and was attacked by a Brexiteer.
“Rachel Riley tweets that Corbyn deserves to be violently attacked because he is a Nazi.
“This woman is as dangerous as she is stupid. Nobody should engage with her. Ever.”
The article continues:
Ms Riley was questioned by Mr McCormick.
He suggested that Ms Riley’s tweet had generated a Twitter debate around whether or not she had called Mr Corbyn a Nazi.
Ms Riley accepted that she regarded Mr Corbyn as “anti-Semitic”.
But she said she had not called Mr Corbyn a Nazi and added: “I didn’t use the word Nazi.”
In fact, Mr Justice Nicklin had already made a ruling on the meaning of Ms Murray’s words that did not include any claim that Riley had called Corbyn a Nazi.
That being said, when he reviews the case, he will see that on the day Mr Corbyn was attacked with an egg, Riley published a tweet saying people who don’t want to be attacked with eggs should not be Nazis, adding the remark “Good advice”.
Riley might have meant any number of things when she published her tweet, and she can say whatever she likes about it now. We have no way of knowing whether any of her claims about it now are accurate. That’s why the judge has to rely on the tweet as published, in the context in which it was published at the time.
His job will be to decide, not whether Riley wanted to indicate that Corbyn is a Nazi, but whether a right-thinking member of the public was likely to draw that conclusion from what she had published.
Please don’t respond to this article with your own interpretation of the tweet’s meaning (at least, not until after the judge returns his verdict).
But feel free to consider for yourself what you think Riley’s tweet meant.
The case is continuing throughout the week and should be extremely interesting to all of us.
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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