Category Archives: Crowdfunding

Riley libel case: the latest scam is demanding data that doesn’t exist

Rachel Riley’s lawyers have been trying to tie me up with an impossible problem.

A while ago, they demanded that I provide information on the number of hits my article, Serial abuser Rachel Riley tp receive ‘extra protection’ – on grounds that she is receiving abusehas received.

They threatened an application to the court if I did not provide it.

No problem, I thought, zipped over to the stats page for my website and sent the information to my own solicitor, for him to pass on.

Apparently this wasn’t good enough.

I’ve received a series of demands since then, narrowing the demand down to the point where, it seems, they want to know how many people read the article on the day it was published.

I don’t have that information – because the organisation that collects statistics for my website doesn’t keep it beyond a certain period, and that period has expired.

I have made this plain and am waiting for a response.

But it seems clear that Riley’s lawyers are fishing for something and think I am keeping it from them. I have no idea what it is.

But I fear they may drag me back to court for another fund-wasting sideshow anyway.

They know my defence is crowdfunded and I reckon they are calculating that you are all getting tired of funnelling cash to me while the case drags on and on. I think they are hoping that you will run out of patience and then they’ll achieve their principle aim of draining my funds before the case comes to trial.

Please prove them wrong – by doing one or several 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.

I honestly don’t know what this tactic aims to achieve so I can’t say what I expect to happen next.

But I bet they try to time it to ruin my Christmas!

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Resisting lawfare: my speech to the Festival of Resistance

You may be aware that This Writer spent last weekend (October 16-17) at the Festival of Resistance in Nottingham, where I had been asked to speak on a subject I know a little about: ‘Resisting Lawfare’.

Lawfare, as defined on the festival programme, is the misuse of our legal systems and principles, to damage reputations and delegitimise influential figures – for political purposes.

In the UK, for example, it is being used to attack left-wing and centre-left voices like This Writer’s, especially those that question the claims of anti-Semitism that have arisen against major political figures over the last five or six years.

Those who are targeted have to waste years, and spend fortunes, defending themselves.

The workshop, which I helped run on both days of the festival to great acclaim, aimed to explain the background to this David and Goliath struggle, and how to mount a counter-attack.

I left the background to my co-presenter, Ammar Kazmi, and will not presume to paraphrase him here. My mission was to explain how ordinary people like myself can fight lawfare and – hopefully – win.

I never gave my speech as I had written it. Time restrictions and a desire to adapt to the questions of attendees changed the structure of what I said (although not the meaning).

This is therefore the first time it has seen daylight as I initially intended it. I feel I should apologise to those of you who could not attend the workshops, as what follows is a pale imitation of what happened there.

Things to do when faced with lawfare:

First of all: NOTHING.

The most important thing to do when a solicitor’s letter lands on the mat is to NOT REACT IMMEDIATELY. The hasty stroke often goes awry. Before responding in any way, it is best to consider the situation in the round.

Does the other side have a case or are these people trying to bully you because they think they can, or in order to score a point in a political argument, or for some other reason?

(We’ll assume they DON’T have a case, for the purposes of this talk. We underdogs are always going to be on the side of right. Right?)

This is the more important question: Are you able to fight them in the courts, if it comes to that?

To answer this question affirmatively, you need to have access to three qualities. It isn’t necessary for you to possess any of them yourself, and I’ll explain the reasons for that in a moment.

I have defined these qualities as three S’s: Strength, Skill and Stamina.

(I did consider calling them Strength, Endurance and Expertise but the acronym for that would have been SEX. That would have led to some awkward lines, like: “Ask yourself: do you have SEX?”)

STRENGTH is obvious: do you have the will to go into a legal battle with your opponent – the strength OF CHARACTER to see it through?

It turns out that many people think they don’t. I have seen people with huge public profiles, who you might think were pillars of – yes – strength, wilt like flowers in the autumn when faced with a sternly-worded (and therefore probably misleading) letter from a lawyer.

I think these people underestimate themselves. Did they think they were right to do whatever the other side is complaining about? Do they still think so? Then they probably were!

Part of the problem here might be that they have been ‘softened up’ on the social media: I attracted attention because I wrote an article about… a certain television personality. The immediate response to it was that I was dogpiled by people who were either her Twitter followers or who claimed to support her and what she was doing.

Dogpiling – according to the Urban Dictionary – happens when a person says something that others consider to be wrong or offensive, and a large number of people comment in response to tell the person how wrong and/or horrible they are, and continue to disparage the original commenter beyond any reasonable time limit.

The aim is to join in with an angry group to yell at an easy target, or to get popularity points for being seen to agree with the group. They see that everyone else is doing something, and they copy it. The original commenter typically does not respond at all, because they are completely overwhelmed or scared off. Once a dogpile has been established, an apology from the original commenter is less likely to be effective.

Dogpiling doesn’t really work on me because I don’t often accept the assertion that I’m wrong. I also tend to take the time to answer every single dogpiling message – and the dogpilers tend to disappear when they’re faced with reason.

But this leads me to another consequence of dogpiling – the possibility of saying things that may be used against you – for example, in court. Is it intentional? To lure you into providing evidence that can be used in litigation? Whether it is or not, the result can be the same. And any material the other side picks up this way can be used to intimidate a potential defendant.

But! Any fears generated this way are likely to arise from a feeling of ignorance about the process that the other side is threatening to thrust them into – and that leads me to the next quality you need.

You need SKILL. In other words, you need to get lawyered-up. When I was threatened with litigation, I had never spoken to a solicitor in my life. I had no ideas about who to employ or how to find them.

Fortunately, I live in a time when we are blessed with the Internet. I looked one up! Libel litigation is a highly specialised field, so if you open up your favourite search engine and try to find libel lawyers in your area, you might have to widen the radius of that area quite a way before you find one.

You need to be able to reassure yourself that they can do the job, so check their online resumes for evidence of previous successes that may be similar to your case, or of the skills (there’s that word again) that you need.

If lawfare is becoming a major issue, then it might be worth someone compiling a database of solicitors with the necessary abilities…

I found a solicitor based in the Midlands – a fair few miles from my home in Mid Wales, but of course distance is meaningless when you have email and video meetings.

Finally, you’ll need STAMINA – a lot of it. I don’t just mean the ability within yourself to endure a long slog, either (which is a different quality from strength, I promise you!) – this also refers to the financial wherewithal to see you through.

I am as poor as a church mouse!

I gave up my career as a local daily newspaper reporter to become a carer for my disabled girlfriend – you may know her as Mrs Mike – because it offered me more financial security at the time (and that’s a bitter indictment against employment practices in modern Britain, isn’t it?).

I started Vox Political on the urging of a friend who thought I would be a good blogger. It seems his instincts were right because it has achieved quite a lot. I made it a commercial enterprise in 2014 and since then it has brought in a fair bit of pocket money. But I only made enough to sign off Carers Allowance in one year – and that was the year before Covid-19 hit, and brought all our incomes crashing down.

I knew I couldn’t win a lawsuit on my own meagre funds, so – after an initial discussion with my new solicitor, to make sure that I did indeed have a defensible case – I set about arranging some CROWDFUNDING.

I know that Chris Williamson has launched the Left Legal Fighting Fund, which doesn’t get nearly enough publicity, but this was not available to me in early 2019 because it hadn’t happened yet.

So I went to CrowdJustice. It’s not a perfect situation because the site takes a percentage of everything I raise, but it is staffed by lawyers who are entirely capable of defending you – and their site – against threats from opposing litigants.

I had tried fundraising with another site previously, but this was stopped when a (let’s call them a) malefactor threatened the site operators. The same thing has been attempted with CrowdJustice, but the nasties were sent away under no uncertain terms!

But starting a crowdfunding operation is not the same as having cash rolling in, so the next part is vital: PUBLICITY.

If nobody knows what’s happening to you, they aren’t going to help. That much is obvious, right?

What may not be obvious to victims of malicious litigation such as lawfare is that there are good people out in the world who are entirely able and willing to support a good cause – if they only know about it!

I was fortunate with my crowdfund, in that I had Vox Political – and all the social media networks through which I publicise that site’s posts – available to me to seek support for my crowdfund. I have thought very carefully about whether I would have fared as well without that infrastructure.

My conclusion was that it is entirely possible to raise a significant amount of cash, using the power of the Internet and other forms of networking. Almost all of us have a Facebook account, or Twitter, or one of the other forms of social media. We can – and do – use those to talk about our lives’ events, every day. This is no different from that.

You can publicise your struggle with the local (or even national) press, just by emailing them. Reporters are always keen on a good human interest story, and if it’s about a “David and Goliath” struggle it could be pure gold to them.

It is not a short-term prospect.

As I say, I started my CrowdJustice campaign around two and a half years ago. In order to keep it in the public eye, I’ve had to publish more than 100 updates during that time.

It is vital to keep the public informed.

It can also be extremely tiring.

There will be developments in the case, and you will need to inform your funders of those as a matter of duty – good or bad; they are paying for your defence so you must tell them what is happening.

There will also be times when nothing happens for weeks on end. You will still need to publish regular updates or your funders will think your case has petered out and drift away. It can be challenging to come up with something to write at such times.

But it is possible. All you have to do is be aware of what’s going on around you. For example, other events in the news might be relevant to your case – or you could comment on them as a way of drawing attention to your crowdfund.

There’s another aspect of having a crowdfund, and of publicising your case on the social media, that may be overlooked: The support you’ll get from the public.

This cannot be overstated or underestimated.

I was in a pretty low place when I launched my CrowdJustice fund. I knew I was a fairly low-profile political commentator and feared that nobody would bother too much if I sank into a mire of legal debts, even if I did not deserve to be saddled with them.

And I hit my initial funding target within a single day. How wrong can a person be?

The comments I received were a joy to read – and still are. These were people who had become aware of the lawfare being waged against people like myself and were absolutely opposed to it, so they saw their contribution to be doing what they could to fight injustice.

They have buoyed me up during the hard times, and given me the resolve to keep going, even when all seemed lost.

And there have been a few such moments – because the other side, in cases like mine, is likely to use all the legal trickery available to its lawyers’ imaginations and experience.

My own belief is that my case has been artificially lengthened to an exorbitant degree with repeated, costly, applications to the court by the other side. The aim – it seems to me – has been to drain off any funds I have gained and put me in a position where I cannot afford to pay my own legal team. I am still in danger of that today.

There have been arguments over the meaning of the words my opponent was complaining about.

There was a “shifting sands” application in which it was claimed that I had changed the meaning of my article because the author of two pieces it referenced had taken them down. I’m still not sure why I was to blame. I simply asked him to put them back up and that was the end of that.

There was an application to strike out my defences, that nearly finished me off. It seems to me that neither set of lawyers, nor the High Court itself, had a clear idea of the rules for such an application. In the end, it seemed that the judge wanted to see every scrap of evidence and hold a mini-trial – in contradiction of logic – and then struck out my defences – all of them – because I had not put it all before her.

Fortunately my funders leapt to my aid and I was able to raise enough to take the case to the Court of Appeal and have the decision reversed – for one of my defences.

There may be other such battles still to be fought.

The reason for these sideshows seems clear to me: the last thing my opponent wants is for the case to go to trial. I am in a bizarre situation where, after having a lawsuit thrust upon me, I am dragging my opponent into court.

My impression is that the other side is terrified of having the details of the case discussed in great detail – in full view of the public – because it is likely to make them look, well, very bad indeed.

I think they expected me to be like some of the others I mentioned earlier – to wither like a flower in the autumn – allowing them to take my money, publicise their victory in the most prejudicial terms, and put me out of business. That has not happened – and some might say that that is a very good reason for me – or anybody – to fight.

In summary:

1. Don’t react without thinking. Think carefully about what has happened. What are they really claiming? How can you defend against it?

2. Ask yourself whether you have the strength and stamina to fight the claim.

3. Seek legal advice.

4. Crowdfund.

5. Be prepared to have to deal with multiple ‘sideshow’ court applications by the other side.

6. Report everything to your crowdfunders because it will bring in more donations.

7. KEEP GOING.

My case is still under way. If you don’t know about it, you can find many details here. The CrowdJustice site provides a chronicle of the way the case has developed, and shows how it has changed in response to decisions from the High Court and the Court of Appeal in London.

If, after reading all this, you are encouraged to contribute – in the spirit of fighting against the manipulation of our legal system for political purposes, please follow the following instructions:

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.

Lawfare is a clear and present threat to free speech in the UK and elsewhere – principally because it relies on the ability of the privileged and powerful to secure legal decisions in their favour because they have money; the details of their cases are often unsupportable.

I hope to be able to demonstrate this when my case comes to trial, hopefully next year.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Riley libel: her lawyers react about her failure to show losses

What a strange way to behave!

After my previous update on Rachel Riley’s libel case against me, in which I pointed out that she had failed to demonstrate any evidence that she had suffered financial losses as a result of my article, her solicitors seem to have taken offence.

You see, Riley may claim for general and special damages: general damages refers to the level of compensation that would make up for any harm caused to her reputation. Special damages is a loss of specific opportunities.

Her solicitors say no claim for special damages has been made, nor is such a claim pleaded on her behalf – which is also, as it happens, exactly what I’m saying.

My point was that they had threatened to make such a claim, as stated in Riley’s Particulars of Claim, paragraph 12: “The Claimant relies upon the inference that the publication of such serious allegations has caused and is likely to cause serious harm to her reputation. Should it be necessary, she relies on the following particulars in support of her case on serious harm to reputation…”

In paragraph 12.2: “The Claimant makes her living in the public eye: her reputation is crucial to the goodwill among public audiences and among broadcasters, production companies and others she relies on for her career.”

And in paragraph 12.3: “The Claimant in her professional and personal life is closely involved in projects and activities concerning children and young persons, such that allegations of misconduct towards a child or young person would be especially harmful.”

Her disclosures show no evidence that Riley has suffered any loss to her reputation among “broadcasters, production companies and others she relies upon for her career”, nor in the loss of involvement in “projects and activities concerning children and young persons”. It simply hasn’t happened.

When describing the damage she has suffered at paragraph 13, Riley expressly links back to paragraph 12.2 and 12.3 then makes a claim for “damages for libel” without distinguishing between general and special damages: “She relies upon the particulars of serious harm set out at paragraph 12 and its sub-paragraphs.”

So I had reason to expect evidence that she had lost work as a result of my article – and she has not provided it.

She can still claim general damages – but her failure regarding special damages suggests that nobody who makes much difference to her has actually changed their opinion of her because of my article.

I look forward to hearing her explain how my words have harmed her reputation among the general public any more than it has been harmed already by her own highly-self-publicised antics.

I would provide examples but I am also very much looking forward to the spectacle of her legal team shooting themselves in the feet (metaphorically) at the trial.

Of course, it means we still need to get this case to trial, so please…

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.

Matters are starting to accelerate again – this isn’t even the only issue between the parties at the moment, and I’m sure there will be more.

I will provide more information when I’m able to.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Riley libel case: she can’t show any losses due to Mike’s article

Rachel Riley has not shown that she has suffered any financial losses at all, that she can relate to her libel claim against me. Isn’t that revealing?

We are currently going through a “disclosure” exercise. In my case, this means providing material that would have been available to me before I wrote the article that she considers libellous.

In hers – well, she would have provided proof of financial harm if she could, I feel sure. The court will still have to assess general harm to her reputation, although this may be difficult when taking into account the hugely deleterious effect of her own public behaviour since early 2018, when she began her career as an activist.

She lists 107 of my articles – all written after the article about which she’s complaining, meaning they’re not directly relevant to the case – without explaining why. My best guess is she’ll be calling them aggravating factors if she wins.

Then come 235 Vox Political articles under the tag “anti-Semitism”. The subject of hatred against Jews is much-discussed on This Site and it was a major issue in the dialogue between Riley and a teenage girl, that forms the basis of the case. But I wonder what Riley hopes to gain  – does she think these are examples of me being anti-Semitic? If so, she’s likely to have a nasty shock.

She also includes the other three articles I published on January 26, 2019. Again, I have no idea why. Perhaps she’s suggesting that if I wrote these as well, I didn’t have time to research the material in the article about her? If so, then – again – she’s going to be in for a shock.

Then she starts listing material in general terms – Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and CrowdJustice updates. I have instructed my solicitor to seek clarification of exactly what material this may be. I’m particularly interested in the Reddit material because I do not have an account with that platform!

On Twitter, she seems to have focused on my announcement that I had won my appeal against her strike-out application, on May 14 this year – and the subsequent messages of congratulation from former MP Chris Williamson, Jackie Walker, and former Canary Editor-in-Chief Kerry-Anne Mendoza. These are all people who have been tarred with the “anti-Semite” brush by Riley and others, so I suspect she will be trying to suggest guilt through association.

It’s a long list – even when abbreviated so that I have to seek clarification of it.

And it is weak.

Without being able to show that my article has harmed her, Riley’s position is severely weakened. My evidence will show that I had good reason to write my article, and that it addresses several issues of public interest. Her case is in trouble.

Of course, none of that will count at all if I can’t get the matter to court.

So please, if you want to see me win…

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.

I’ve said all along that this case is about buying justice; if Riley can afford a trial and I can’t, then I will lose automatically.

But if I can afford the trial, the situation may well be reversed. And we’d all like to see that – wouldn’t we?

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


Vox Political needs your help!
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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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Riley libel trial: there’s only one way to beat these online bullies

A nasty incident occurred while I was discussing the Labour Party conference on Twitter earlier this week.

An online supporter of Rachel Riley butted into the thread to threaten me, although it might not seem obvious from his words:

He was implying that, when I am defeated in court by Rachel Riley, the cost will be so much that I will have to sell my house to pay it off – or give it to Riley.

People like him have been saying it since early 2019 when I was first threatened with litigation.

One one level it is a completely false threat because I rent, but that doesn’t stop them.

My response, as you can see, was to throw it back in his face; I’m more likely to win than she is, and her costs would be equally high.

On another level, of course, it is psychological intimidation. I could lose the case, and if I do, I will not have the wherewithal to pay a huge combined costs and damages bill.

And I still have to get the case into court. At the moment, even that is looking decidedly dicey as donations have plummetted.

It is the easiest way for Riley to win, of course – for me to be unable to defend myself because I cannot afford to pay my legal team.

I need around £60,000 more than I have, if I’m to be in a comfortable position – and although I’m not expecting the trial to happen until next spring, that time will creep up on us surprisingly fast.

And in September the crowdfund increased by £2,000. A good figure! But not enough if that trend continues.

If I can’t fund my defence at trial, everything we have achieved so far will be for nothing.

I know you don’t want that.

And I certainly don’t think you want that odious Twitter troll to have the last laugh!

So, please, if you can afford it:

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.

I know it’s a lot to ask, especially as this case is now well into its third year. But this is a fight for justice, against those who think they can buy it because they have more money.

I can’t change the system so I’m hoping that we can change their minds.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
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1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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Vox Political writer to speak on resisting ‘lawfare’ at Festival of Resistance

Happy days: Vox Political’s Mike Sivier with the correction he secured from the last organisation to publish falsehoods about him. Hopefully, one day soon, you’ll see an image of Mike with an apology by Rachel Riley.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Riley libel trial: common sense prevails

Rachel Riley’s lawyers have relented and agreed to the trial lasting three days on the basis that – as stated in the previous update – it is a waste of time having a day in court arguing about whether or not to have a day in court.

I cannot claim that the update I posted at lunchtime today (September 9) had anything to do with the change; my solicitor sent an email informing me of it immediately after I had posted the article, which suggests that the decision happened as I was writing it.

I did not see the email until much later.

Yes, I could claim it as a victory for my side of the case, but it’s really a victory for common sense. I’m glad that the team at Patron Law agreed that there was no point in arguing about something that would not benefit anybody.

I still need funds though!

Those of you who saw the last update have responded admirably and the fund is almost £1,000 better-off as a result. The trial will cost a lot more than that, though, and the best thing to do is keep a steady stream of funds flowing, so I can build up to readiness by the time the hearings happen – probably next April.

So if you haven’t donated today, please do 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.

We are now closer to getting this case behind us.

Next come disclosures – of documents that influenced our choices regarding the facts of the case. I have very little to add to what is already known to the court.

It will be very interesting to see what Ms Riley produces.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


Vox Political needs your help!
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but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
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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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


Vox Political needs your help!
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1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

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3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

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And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

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Riley libel trial: will her lawyers waste your money by getting trial length wrong?

It seems Rachel Riley’s lawyers are sticking to their guns – they reckon the High Court will only need two days to hear her libel trial against me.

Of course, the length of the trial is within their gift, to a large extent. If they decide they don’t need a lot of time to cross-examine me, they could probably reduce the court’s time significantly.

But if they get it wrong; if they overrun and force an adjournment, with all the extra expense that entails, then they will be ramping up my costs by more than half as much again, just for a single day (there would be extra “reading-in” costs for both legal teams and for the judge, among other spending requirements, no doubt).

That would be unreasonable, so I’ve told my solicitor they only way I would not oppose their demand for a two-day trial is if Riley promises to pay all costs associated with any adjournment.

I’m willing to bet a pound to a penny that I’ll be told I can’t make such a demand, but I think it is important to stand up to people who would use money as a coercive device without a second thought.

On a more positive note, it seems that even though I cannot influence the choice of judge (I was concerned that the judge who got last year’s strike-out application wrong may then go on to hear the trial), the judiciary does tend to take a pragmatic approach and the judge in question may prefer not to hear a public interest defence she has already – wrongly – struck out.

Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to you all for pushing the CrowdJustice donations up to £170,000 by the end of August. That’s a brilliant achievement at a time when developments have been relatively slow.

I’m hoping to hit £180k by the end of September (the trial will cost a lot) so please keep donating if you can and encourage others to donate too. Here’s how:

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.

Next up is the issue of disclosure – telling the court about background documents that are relevant to the case, even if they might harm our relative sides.

I have already been up-front about the material that influenced me. I look forward to discovering whether Riley can show the same honesty.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
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1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

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3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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Riley libel: will Vox Political’s Mike get a fair hearing at the trial?

Good news/bad news:

It seems I’m likely to be able to agree directions for the trial of Rachel Riley’s libel claims against me. Just about the only bone of contention is the length of time it is likely to take.

Her legal team says two days; I reckon three. It’s better to plan in too much time than to have too little and go to the expense of coming back at another date, with all the lawyers involved, including the judge, having to ‘read in’ again in order to remember what’s going on.

It might be a last gasp for Riley’s old plan to spend all the crowdfunded money you’ve provided on time-wasting side-issues. Hopefully it will be dismissed as a bad idea.

More worrying is the choice of the judge. What if Mrs Justice Collins Rice – who got the strike-out application wrong – is chosen to hear the trial?

I would have serious concerns about that.

I am told that, as defamation cases are usually heard by full-time High Court judges, I will end up with one who has already dealt with it in some way – Mr Justice Nicklin, Mr Justice Saini or Mrs Justice Collins Rice – although there are some other judges who deal with defamation.

My concern is obvious and logical: after her performance at the strike-out hearing – when her decision was wrong – I do not believe I would get a fair hearing.

Let’s face it – I didn’t get one last December.

I have passed my concerns to my own solicitor and am awaiting a response.

In the meantime, please keep your contributions coming, as and when you are able to make them. It is only with your help that I can fight this case at all. By the end, it is likely to have cost around a quarter of a million pounds to defend – and the total raised so far is still a long way from that!

Here are the instructions:

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.

Hopefully the trial will happen in the not-too-distant future, although obviously I won’t object if it is delayed while the claimant has her baby.

I’ll keep you informed of developments.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
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Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook