Verdict due in Arron Banks libel case against Carole Cadwalladr

The only time I actually attended the High Court in London for a hearing in my own libel case against Rachel Riley, this case was also being heard.

That’s not the only reason I’m interested in this case, though. See for yourself:

The landmark verdict will potentially have huge ramifications for press freedom and investigative reporting.

Banks, who donated a record £8m to the pro-Brexit Leave.EU campaign group, is suing Cadwalladr for defamation over two instances – one in a Ted video talk and another in a tweet – in which she said the businessman was lying about his relationship with the Russian state.

Cadwalladr’s defence rests on the longstanding journalistic principle of public interest: specifically whether it was “reasonable” for her to believe that publishing such statements was acting in that interest.

After four days of hearings in January, Cadwalladr’s lawyer, Gavin Millar QC, argued in closing written submissions that the journalist’s reporting on Banks and the Russian state was of the greatest public interest imaginable.

Proponents of a free press cite public interest as fundamental to a functioning democracy, saying it routinely forms the basis for investigative journalism.

My defence against Rachel Riley is based on public interest too.

Cadwalladr, who has won numerous awards for her reporting on a variety of controversial topics, has been the target of sustained online trolling, abuse and harassment, much of it seemingly motivated by misogyny.

Again, I identify with that. I’ve had to put up with three years of sustained hate – although none of it (to my knowledge) based on my gender.

This case will have crucial significance for press freedom – and possibly for my own case as well. And if Mr Banks wins, malcontents will almost certainly see the verdict as support for harassment of defendants.

I look forward to its conclusion.

Source: Test for press freedom as verdict due in Arron Banks libel case against Carole Cadwalladr

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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