Why is the Laura Murray libel verdict taking so long? (And why it matters to me)

The High Court in London: it is now in recess, but the verdict in at least one case has yet to be handed down.

Why is the High Court taking so long to hand down the verdict in the libel case between Rachel Riley and Laura Murray?

The trial took place all the way back in May. It involved a tweet by Ms Murray in which she accused Riley of implying that Jeremy Corbyn was a Nazi, after he was attacked by an egg-wielding man at an event.

Riley had re-tweeted a message by the journalist Owen Jones (initially about a BNP leader) saying, “If you don’t want to be hit with an egg, don’t be a Nazi,” to which she had added the words, “Good advice”.

After Murray’s comment, Riley sued her for libel. And now, three months after the trial, we are still awaiting the result – impatiently, in my case.

And we may need to wait at least another two months for a verdict. The High Court’s summer ‘term’ is over and it won’t be back until October. It seems unlikely that a verdict will be handed down while judges are on holiday.

For me, though, it could be crucial. Newspaper reports have pointed out that if Riley loses that case, she may have to pay Ms Murray’s costs – possibly around half a million pounds in total.

If that happens, her insurers may raise concerns about backing her case against me – another matter which she has no guarantee of winning.

And then she would have to make a decision about whether she wants to continue pursuing me – or to try to come to a settlement. And then I would have to decide whether I want to come to terms.

At the moment, I’m not particularly keen to let bygones be bygones. This is a woman who has persecuted me for two and a half years with this vexatious court case and I think I deserve the chance to say my piece before a judge.

But my ability to do so still depends on being able to fund my defence. And interest seems to be dropping off.

A trial will cost tens of thousands of pounds – even the preparations will cost many thousands – and at the moment I have no idea when it is likely to be scheduled. If it happens early in the next High Court term then I will not have enough. Donations simply aren’t coming in fast enough.

I very much want to take this case all the way. I would like to have the funds behind me that would allow me to reject any call for a settlement.

And if Riley wins her case against Ms Murray, I need the funds to be able to fight an action against me that would have renewed vigour.

This case – and the urgency of this case – hasn’t gone away just because it is the summer.

That’s why I have to ask you today to do any or all of the following:

Consider making a donation yourself, 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.

You have backed me this far.

Please don’t let me fall at the final hurdle.

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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