Riley libel: is her fuss over trial length the return of an old fund-draining tactic?

Rachel Riley’s lawyers are making a mountain out of a mole hill, and I have to ask whether they are doing it simply to find another way to drain the funds you have been kind enough to give me.

If so, then it raises serious questions about the possible weakness of her case against me; if she is still trying to stop this case from getting to court, she cannot expect to win in a fair trial – right?

The issue is the expected length of the trial. Riley’s legal team say it will take only two days but I reckon it will take three.

If it is listed for two days but overruns, then it will have to be completed at a later date, incurring large costs because both sets of lawyers will have to re-familiarise themselves with the details, as will the judge. And judges tend to become very angry if cases overrun because of the necessity either to rearrange other work or delay part of the case for an extended time.

If I push for three days, though, Riley’s legals could ask the court to list the matter for a “costs and case management conference” so the court can determine the trial length. This will be a waste of time and money because the hearing would discuss nothing else.

And it could result in a ruling that a three-day trial is necessary, meaning both sides pay for the third day and the extra hearing.

Or we can have a three-day trial, knowing exactly how much it will cost, and just get on with it, in accordance with my wishes. If it underruns, both Riley and I will be better-off because a shorter trial means legal fees will be lower. And the judge will be happy because it will provide time for them to prepare for other trials and/or write up other judgments.

So why are Riley’s lawyers dragging their feet?

The only reason that makes sense is that they want to waste your money – the cash you have donated to help me fight this case.

Already my funds are being drained because of the constant back-and-forth trickle of correspondence between my solicitor and Riley’s at Patron Law, whose insistence on a two-day trial could lead to huge further financial burdens.

There is only one way to discourage this form of lawfare – in which the claimant does not expect to win but to intimidate and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defence until they abandon their opposition. That is to show them that they cannot win by this underhand tactic.

So I’m going to appeal for donations again.

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.

If donations keep coming in, it will show Riley’s lawyers that they really can’t win by trying to drain my cash and that they should concentrate on their legal arguments.

If donations to my cause are generous, it will mean their tactic has backfired and they will have strengthened me with a pointless quibble. Wouldn’t that be great?

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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