I have been asked to talk about my experience of this case at a workshop on so-called ‘lawfare’ – using the courts to damage or de-legitimise other people, wasting their time and/or money, to gain a public relations victory.
The event will be at a Festival of Resistance taking place in Nottingham on October 16 and 17. Details are here: https://resistfest.co.uk/
It seems that – as one of the few people who have chosen to defend themselves against so-called ‘SLAPP’ lawsuits (it stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) – cases intended to censor, intimidate and silence people who make perfectly reasonable and relevant contributions to political debate by burdening them with the cost of a legal defence until they have to abandon their statement…
… and I think Rachel Riley’s case against me may be defined as an example of a SLAPP case, or lawfare, or both…
… I am in an excellent position to talk about how it is possible to fight these attempts to use the law as a bullying tool.
I will not refer to details of the Riley case. It is an ongoing lawsuit and as such I may not say anything that may prejudice the result.
But I will talk about how it feels to be attacked in this way, why it is important to resist such actions, and what anybody who is put in the same position can do about it.
The bullies would like us to think that we can do nothing apart from give up – that the cost of taking part in a court case is so huge that we cannot ever possibly afford it, because we are so small, so poor and so insignificant.
But my case proves that this is not true.
I am not part of a larger organisation that has been able to fund me. I am not a celebrity in my own right, able to fund my defence from my own resources. I am a carer living on the poverty line, who happens to be a qualified journalist and who therefore writes about politics in such spare time as is available.
And I have managed to bring the case against me to a trial that my opponent almost certainly did not intend to happen, because I asked for help and thousands of people – who have no direct connection with me apart from being readers of my work or being concerned about the issues surrounding my case – answered.
I still need help to bring the case to trial, of course – these cases are phenomenally expensive. So please help by doing one or more 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.
And please come to the Festival of Resistance – if you are able.
I would very much like to meet at least some of the people who have helped me get this far.
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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