The Court of Appeal has ordered a special hearing of my application for permission to appeal against the judgment in Rachel Riley’s libel case against me.
This is highly unusual. Practically unheard-of, in fact.
The decision was made by Lord Justice Warby, who has some knowledge of the case, having been a member of the panel that granted my appeal against Ms Riley’s application to strike out all my defences last year.
He has said that the case attracted considerable publicity at the time of the trial in July, and it is desirable for the decision on PTA to be open and transparent, whichever way it goes.
If he had thought that the appeal was plainly weak, he was perfectly entitled to reject it on the papers and draw the appeal to an immediate conclusion. The fact that he has listed a hearing suggests that he thinks there is something in my appeal that is worth consideration.
That might particularly be the case where he dealt with the previous appeal so understands the background well enough to reasonably make a decision on the papers.
If so, I appreciate that it will come as a terrible shock to the pro-Riley trolls on the social media, who have spent more than a month trying to convince my supporters that there is no point in continuing to fund me. Clearly – at least for the time being – they have been shown to have been misleading their readers.
On the other hand, the Appeal Court judge might have largely made up his mind but wants a public hearing so that neither I nor Ms Riley can later complain that the appeal was decided without either of us being heard.
I’m not inclined to believe this because it would not seem to be a good use of court resources to order a highly-unusual hearing, merely to make refusal to grant the appeal more emphatic.
The judge has provided guidance on what he wants my representative (and Ms Riley’s) to discuss and I am talking with my legal team about our response. It means I have spent Christmas going through the judgment and the evidence to identify the best information to use.
But all of this will be pointless if I can’t afford to fund my defence!
I think I have raised enough to pay my Counsel for the excellent appeal documents that he wrote, and that were filed with the court on December 7.That still leaves my solicitors to pay, and then funds must be raised for the work that is now being done, and for the hearing, which will be in mid-January and will last just one and a half hours.
It is vital that this hearing is funded. I know it is happening very soon after my last fundraising drive – and with the Christmas holidays taking place around us, and the timing is certainly unfortunate.
But this is about justice.
We won’t see it if we don’t do everything we can to get it.
Make a donation via the CrowdJustice page. Keep donating regularly until you see the total pass the amount I need.
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.
Use other social media in the same way.
And don’t forget that if you’re having trouble, or simply don’t like donating via CrowdJustice, you can always donate direct to me via the Vox Political PayPal button, where it appears on that website. But please remember to include a message telling me it’s for the crowdfund!
My appeal has turned a High Court loss into a fighting chance to win – but I can’t do it without you. Please help in any way that you can.
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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