Tag Archives: appeal

Court of Appeal to hand down judgment in Riley v Sivier: 2pm, May 14

The Court of Appeal will hand down its judgment on my appeal against the striking out of my “public interest” defence against Rachel Riley’s libel accusation at 2pm on May 14.

At the time of writing, that’s tomorrow. By the time you read this, it may be today.

This is extremely short notice. At the time of writing (again), I do not know whether the Court of Appeal wishes my legal team to attend the hearing. I won’t be able to, in any event.

Usually, a hearing like this is simply a mention whereby the Court of Appeal says that it has handed down its judgment.

But it is sometimes necessary to give further directions – for example, the court might find in my favour on the basis that the High Court did not address the strike out application correctly and send it back to the High Court to re-hear the application.

I hope that is reasonably unlikely – either the court will decide that my public interest defence is too weak and no amount of re-hearing will make any difference, or that it is so fact-specific that we need to get on with the trial.

I will be hoping for the latter.

Alternatively, if I win, there might then be a debate about how the High Court’s costs order should reflect the fact that both I and Riley won certain aspects.

The timing of this is interesting. It is happening right after the hearing of Riley’s case against Laura Murray came to an end?

I wonder what Riley will do if she loses both this appeal and that other case.

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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Confused by the Riley libel appeal? Here’s what it all meant


I was just looking at viewing figures for the Court of Appeal on YouTube.

The case before mine came in at 156; the one after, 67.

Riley v Sivier: 3,400.

How nice to be popular!

But I wonder how many of those were repeat views by people trying to understand what was going on. The suited and bewigged inhabitants of Court 70 seemed to be arguing about things to which the casual viewer wasn’t privy.

This article is an attempt to address that.

So for a start, let’s look at my grounds for appeal.

One of my defences was that I had published my article about Rachel Riley and the teenage girl with anxiety issues who suffered sustained abuse on the social media for daring to criticise the TV parlour game-player because it was a matter of public interest.

According to the Defamation Act 2013, it is a defence to an action for defamation for the defendant to show that— (a) the statement complained of was, or formed part of, a statement on a matter of public interest; and (b) the defendant reasonably believed that publishing the statement complained of was in the public interest.

In determining whether the defendant has shown this, the court must have regard to all the circumstances of the case, and must make such allowance for editorial judgement as it considers appropriate.

For the avoidance of doubt, this defence may be relied upon, irrespective of whether the statement complained of is a statement of fact or a statement of opinion.

So the task for our justice system was to determine three issues:

i) was the statement complained of, or did it form part of, a statement on a matter of public interest?

If so,

ii) did the defendant (that’s me) believe that publishing the statement complained of was in the public interest?

If so,

iii) was that belief reasonable?

The first and third issues are objective – it either was or wasn’t, depending on whether it meets the relevant criteria. The second issue is subjective – it’s about what I believed at the time I published the article.

In respect of the second and third issues, the truth or falsity of the allegation complained of by Rachel Riley is irrelevant. The defence can apply to an untrue statement (or in this case, a statement for which insufficient evidence was provided to the strike-out hearing to establish that it was true).

My public interest defence was separate from, and in addition to my other defences, which were that my statements were true and that they were statements of honest opinion.

The judge at the strike-out hearing, Mrs Justice Collins Rice, struck out my truth defence on the grounds that I was unable to provide a tweet by Rachel Riley declaring that she was a bully and that she published the tweets mentioned in my article in order to cause a teenage girl with mental health issues to suffer an enormous amount of abuse.

She then struck out my honest opinion defence on the grounds that I could not have an honest opinion about statements that were not true.

Her finishing touch was to strike out my public interest defence on the basis of a false submission by Rachel Riley that it must fail as a consequence of the truth defence being struck out.

Here’s what Riley said, in paragraph 71 of her strike-out application:

“71. Similarly the defence brought under s.4 DEA 2013 cannot have been reasonably believed if the facts relied on in the truth defence are incapable of supporting a plea of truth.”

This was a clear error of law.

Riley’s counsel accepted in oral submissions (that’s during the strike-out hearing itself) that this statement was wrong.

Riley’s case concerning my public interest defence was otherwise undeveloped and did not occupy the court’s time.

Nevertheless the judge, in her judgment, seemed to have swallowed Riley’s submissions whole and did not address any of the requirements of the defence.

She did not address the contents of my actual pleading (what I said).

In fact, she showed no evidence that she had given my public interest defence any due consideration at all.

Not only that, but the conditions in which my truth defence was judged – which had been laid down by a different judge, Mr Justice Nicklin – had nothing to do with the public interest defence.

Mrs Justice Collins Rice appeared – although we cannot be sure because her judgment was so vague that she did not even provide the reasons on which it was made – to have proceeded on the assumption that “the statement complained of” in a public interest defence against the allegations against me was the same as the single meaning of the words complained of, as found by Mr Justice Nicklin. Not true; “the statement complained of” refers to the actual words that I published. There’s a difference!

And, by the way, I pointed out that there was a difference, through my own representative, at the strike-out hearing. She couldn’t even say she hadn’t been told.

If she had considered my defence as pleaded – as she was bound by law to do – it would have been readily apparent that she had no power to strike it out, because it is unsuitable for such an action. “The court must have regard to all the circumstances of the case” – so it is impossible to determine whether it was reasonable for me to believe that publishing my article was in the public interest without hearing any actual evidence from me.

I’ll come back to this, because there’s an assumption here that my article is dishonest – and I take the greatest offence to anyone – High Court judge or whoever – bandying about such a claim without even showing any evidence for it.

Furthermore, the public interest defence is a developing area of the law. Mr Justice Nicklin (remember him?) said, “In an area of law which is developing, and where its boundaries are drawn incrementally on the basis of decided cases, it is not normally appropriate summarily to dispose of the claim or defence.

“In such areas, development of the law should proceed on the basis of actual facts found at trial and not on the basis of hypothetical facts assumed to be true on an application to strike out.”

Are we clear, so far? The strike-out application did not provide any admissible grounds for my public interest defence to be struck out, and the judge made an error in law by doing it.

So, in her response to my appeal, Riley put forward a completely new case that was longer than the whole of her previous application to strike out all of my defences. Not allowed!

So in my appeal, I submitted that Riley should not be permitted to advance her new case, on the following grounds:

Whilst a respondent may provide “reasons different from or additional to those given by the lower court” it does not extend to mounting an entirely new case, unheralded in that lower court. It is confined to “reasons” which were open to the lower court, but which it did not rely on. In order for these reasons to have been open to the lower court, they had to have formed part of the respondent’s case. And these hadn’t.

It was incumbent on Riley to bring forward the entirety of her case in her original application. As a matter of procedural fairness it is objectionable for her to withhold the entirety of her application until my appeal.

This was addressed in the appeal hearing when my Counsel pointed out that the proper place for Riley to bring forward her new arguments was the High Court, and in not doing so, she had deprived me of the opportunity to consider and respond to them there – putting me (and contributors to my CrowdJustice fund) to the extra expense of an appeal court hearing that could otherwise have been prevented.

My public interest defence cannot be determined in the absence of my evidence as to my belief that publishing the statement complained of was in the public interest. Concerning as it does my subjective belief, this is an in inherently fact-sensitive inquiry. In the absence of a clear case that the defence is bound to fail – which this is not – it is not amenable to summary determination (in other words, strike-out by a judge on the basis of barristers’ arguments rather than on the basis of evidence).

Possibly the most important point is that my appeal had to be on a “pure point of law”. By the same token, Riley should not be permitted to raise a new case in the Court of Appeal because it is not a “pure point of law”.

So, having failed to put forward a permissible argument in the High Court, Riley had no right to make an entirely new and separate case against me in the Court of Appeal.

That said, I still had to show that her new arguments were wrong, so let’s look at them.

She claimed that the statements I made were not on a matter of public interest because:

It discloses no grounds capable of giving rise to a reasonable belief by me that publishing the statement complained of was in the public interest. Further or alternatively:

The particulars of the defence are deficient such that the pleaded defence stands to be struck out as being likely to obstruct the fair disposal of proceedings.

I responded without prejudice as follows, to Riley’s new case:

My defence (the original document, written in early 2020) pleads four matters of public interest addressed in the Article:

  • Online bullying and harassment including death threats; I highlighted the online bullying and harassment including death threats to which C has been exposed, as well as Rose.
  • The power of an adult celebrity compared to the relative powerlessness of a vulnerable child suffering anxiety.
  • Mental health; this point is connected with that of Riley’s power in comparison with that of her teenage victim, emphasising that the girl is a vulnerable person, quite apart from the fact that she was a child at the time of the events to which my article referred.
  • Anti-Semitism.

Riley’s contention is that none of the last three matters “is the focus or purpose of the article. None of these topics is examined in the article or forms any material part of it”. This is demonstrably wrong . Amazingly, she even made a general assertion to the effect that they aren’t even matters of public interest – although she did not provide overt arguments.

In respect of “Online bullying and harassment including death threats”, Riley does say that this is not a matter of public interest. This is a curious position for at least three reasons:

i) The article explains that Riley herself is the victim of such bullying, harassment and threats, as reported in a national newspaper. The first portion of the article is specifically concerned with The Guardian’s reportage and includes Riley’s own words.

ii) The article then sets up a counter-narrative by addressing the online bullying and harassment including death threats, suffered by the teenager. This remains a matter of public interest not least as it again concerns Riley, albeit as perpetrator, not victim.

iii) In terms of wider context, it is indisputable that online bullying and harassment is not just a matter of public interest, but pressing public interest – consider the recent Online Harms White Paper and Law Commission consultation on reform of communications offences (as I did, in my written submissions).

On the claim that I could not reasonably believe that my article was on matters of public interest, I had the following to say:

Riley was proceeding from a false premise – a limited selection of the tweets that formed the basis of my article. The full facts were not considered by the High Court. The judge excluded relevant tweets showing that the teenage victim was trying to retreat from the debate (and from the abuse she was receiving) – but Riley kept dragging her back to it, culminating in a thread on December 18 in which she said:

“I’m not finding Rachel Riley to be a nice person at all. I said I wanted to move on from this debate and end it, then she tweets me about retracting my comments after I said I stand by my opinion but will always listen to others.

“She said that she isn’t singling me out but all she has done has encouraged an onslaught onto me. I tried to be respectful and mature to her by saying I understood her stance but she’s just thrown it in my face.

“I may be sixteen but that doesn’t automatically make me an idiot. I will not sit here and let her dictate what I say and how I feel. I do not feel threatened by you, Rachel and I would have hoped you could have listened to everyone else’s opinions instead of just your own.”

According to Mrs Justice Collins Rice, the dialogue between Riley and this girl was entirely civilised and respectful until the teenage changed her attitude in January (nearly a month after this thread was published). The judge expressed the belief that other people had persuaded the girl to change her stance but this is clearly untrue.

No consideration is given to tweets by anybody other than Riley and her teenage victim.

In addition, the Twitter accounts of various third party followers of Riley’s, including their tweets, had since been deleted.

Riley does not challenge my belief in the public interest in publishing my article, whether in terms providing a counter-narrative to the Channel 4 News broadcast, The Times article, The Guardian article and her own widely-published tweets, or in highlighting perceived hypocrisy in her own treatment of the teenager or her record on anti-Semitism. These are not addressed.

These omissions are significant, as I will explain in his evidence at trial – should I ever get to provide it! I will demonstrate that:

a) The version of events presented in the mainstream media appeared incomplete. Riley was reported as being targeted by Labour supporters but the reportage did not detail how Riley had engaged with and attacked those same Labour supporters with whom she disagreed.

b) Primary sources in the form of the tweets of Riley, Tracy-Ann Oberman and the teenager were available and I checked them. Riley and Oberman are blue-tick Twitter celebrities whose tweets could be attributed to them (the blue tick on Twitter means the account is only used by the celebrity claiming ownership of it). I considered Rose’s tweets and the bullying narrative they conveyed (including those in which she specifically implicated Riley). I saw the abusive messages to which the girl had been subjected by Riley’s followers and noted the intensity and unpleasantness of the campaign waged against her and her father by Oberman, who had tagged Riley into her tweets. Oberman’s campaign coincided with Riley’s own tweets about Rose.

c) In my judgement this was a matter of public interest. It was not a minor Twitter spat. A child, who faced mental health challenges, reported being subject to online abuse culminating in death threats which had extended to attacks upon her parents. This was as a result of the conduct of adult celebrities whose power was wholly disproportionate to that of the child. The protections afforded to those adult celebrities were also disproportionate, Riley receiving extra security in her role as a television presenter whereas no protections were available to the child. There was a wider context to the hypocrisy alleged against Riley, given her record concerning anti-Semitism.

d) Riley’s story was prominent in national broadcast and print media and had been publicised on Twitter to her 600,000-plus followers. By contrast, the girl’s story had a much narrower audience. I sought to draw the public’s attention to both stories in parallel, highlighting a counter-narrative which in his judgement was of public interest.

e) I published urgently – at my earliest opportunity – in order to challenge the narrative in the mainstream media most recently conveyed in newspaper articles that morning. I am an experienced journalist. The decisions I made with regard to the article were in the exercise of my editorial judgement.

This is only a summary of the evidence I will give. But it serves to illustrate that my reasonable belief is unsuitable for summary determination by any judge in the absence of actually hearing my evidence.

Nevertheless, Riley squarely challenged the honesty of my belief that publishing the statement was in the public interest. To say, as my Counsel did, that “This is objectionable” is a devastating understatement. I take deep offence to unevidenced claims that I am a liar and of course no judge should ever support unevidenced claims made in a courtroom. Case law must be about facts, not fanciful tittle-tattle from the top of a TV game show girl’s head.

Put another way: “dishonesty must be specifically alleged and sufficiently particularised” and “The purpose of giving particulars is to allow the defendant to know the case he has to meet” – Sofer v Swissindependent Trustees SA [2020] EWCA Civ 699 per Arnold LJ at paras 23(1) and 24(1). That’s your actual case law.

According to the Defamation Act, when considering a public interest defence, “the court must make such allowance for editorial judgement as it considers appropriate”. Riley did not address my editorial judgement as described in my defence. Instead, she simply asserted that “the article as a whole was not on a matter of public interest”. This assertion is untenable.

That is the gist of what I said in my written submissions to the court, and what Riley’s Counsel (and the judges, at times) tried to argue against.

When the judges announced they were retiring, after the evidence had been heard on Tuesday (April 27), I thought they were going to come out with a verdict straight away – that they had already made up their minds.

It was a huge surprise when they said they were reserving judgment and would submit it in written form in the future. On the day I tweeted that this may be because – as the public interest defence is a new area of law – they need to consider the possible repercussions of any decision in either direction.

As time stretches on, I don’t mind admitting that there have been discussions about whether the judges are trying to find an excuse for a verdict against me.

If that happens – well, you’ve seen the arguments. You can see that they are all on my side.

And it’s only a short hop to the Supreme Court.

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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Another ‘reserved judgment’ after Riley libel appeal hearing

I suppose we should not have been surprised.

After a hearing of slightly longer than two hours, judges at the Court of Appeal have reserved judgment on my bid to reinstate my defence against Rachel Riley’s libel claim.

This is the defence that I published my article on a matter of public interest.

It has been suggested to me that this is because they need to consider the effect, if any, that their decision will have on the effectiveness of that defence in the future. Will they make it pointless to use it, just in order to shut down a single defendant’s case?

Alternatively, will their decision make it a “get out of trouble free” card for defendants?

I’ll keep you informed of future developments but I can tell you that I already know what I’m going to do if this appeal is dismissed.

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 appeal hearing: at last, the details!

The Royal Courts of Justice in London: you don’t have to go there to watch my appeal – it’s happening on YouTube.

The April 27 appeal hearing has been listed at “not before 10.30”, so it would be sensible to have the YouTube link open by 10.30am.

This is the link:

The Court of Appeal (Civil Division) – Live streaming of court hearings

We also know the identity of the judges! They are:

1. Dame Victoria Sharp: the President of the Queen’s Bench Division. I understand that Sharp is quite experienced in these sorts of cases. Hopefully, she will be slow to allow a public interest defence to be struck out when that defence expressly depends on a reasonable belief which has yet to be articulated in my own words, let alone tested at court.

2. Lord Justice Launcelot Henderson. Henderson is an incredibly intelligent and academic commercial judge. Hopefully, this works in my favour because the technical analysis of a public interest defence should require the court to hear and test my evidence.

3. Lord Justice Mark Warby. He is a highly specialised defamation lawyer.

In theory, I have good reason to feel optimistic. However: it is impossible to guess the outcome based on the identity of the judges.

The appeal will stand or fall on the basis of the legal arguments.

I am heartened that my solicitor thinks we have put forward a compelling argument – and that the High Court’s judgment is a dangerous precedent for other public interest defences.

How will it all resolve itself?

Tune in and find out.

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 appeal is to be livestreamed – so the world can watch it


There have been developments.

The Court of Appeal has decided to proceed with an “in person” hearing of my appeal against Rachel Riley’s bid to strike out my defence – but on the basis that the proceedings will also be live streamed rather than conducted as a hybrid hearing, as I requested.

This is less than ideal for me because it means there will be a delay before I see what is happening. I won’t be attending in person but will be watching the live stream.

But it is excellent news for you because anyone will be able to watch the livestream of the hearing, and the recording will remain available on YouTube – in perpetuity, as I understand it, afterwards.

This means the integrity of all participants is on the line because – whatever the outcome, the analysis of Rachel Riley’s engagement with a vulnerable teenager who suffered very strong anxiety will be available for all the world to watch.

My team will be doing everything possible to expose the failings of the case put forward by Riley’s team.

I will publicise the link to the hearing when it becomes available. I am obliged to remind you that it is illegal to make any recordings of proceedings at the hearing – although, considering it will be available on YouTube anyway, why would you want to?

I’m also obliged to remind you of the various ways you can donate to the CrowdJustice fund:

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 still can’t tell you the time of the hearing next Tuesday (April 27).

Be assured that I will pass it on as soon as I know.

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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Rachel Riley libel: appeal hearing is APRIL 27 – but we still don’t know the time or venue

Less than a week before This Writer’s hearing in the Court of Appeal, I regret I cannot say whether it will be an “in person” hearing or one that may be viewed remotely on the internet. I don’t even know what time it is likely to start!

My legal team had believed the hearing would be “remote”, and received notification yesterday that this was the case. But it seems the same letter also stated that the court was minded to re-list the case – for the same day – as an “in-person” hearing instead.

There are good reasons for attending the hearing in person. It is easier for Counsel to properly judge and pitch submissions when one is in the same room as the judge. That is even more the case with the Court of Appeal where there are three judges. It is also easier to really engage judges in a debate in person.

However, the Court of Appeal has decided that the hearing should last no longer than two hours – despite Rachel Riley’s team having filed an 80-paragraph response to my appeal, despite having given only one paragraph to this aspect of the case in their strike-out application last December. It was the responsibility of Riley’s team to ask for more time but they have chosen not to do so. In these circumstances, it seems likely that, if the hearing is listed to start in the morning and “in person”, the judges may allow it to run on – and I am advised that this is more likely to benefit Riley than me. That does not strike me as being fair.

There are also difficulties relating to my own ability to attend. I don’t have a car at the moment – it failed its MOT a couple of weeks ago and has been in the garage, being repaired, ever since. This makes travel to London  from Mid Wales extremely difficult – I would have to catch a train to Bristol and stay there overnight (at a time when staying with people outside of one’s ‘bubble’ is still forbidden) before catching a further train to London. This would also necessitate considerable unnecessary expense.

Then there are the issues relating to Covid-19, which haven’t gone away just because many of us have had a first dose of a vaccine. My concerns about carrying the virus back to my ill and disabled partner (I’m her carer, remember) remain valid – and also the court’s own social distancing rules mean it will be practically impossible to discuss the case with my legal team before the hearing. We would not be able to hold them in private, would have to sit a long way apart and would be wearing masks, meaning we would have to shout at each other to be heard – in a public place. That is not a good idea.

And while my solicitor would find it easier to pass on instructions to Counsel if they were both in the courtroom, his own travel expenses are likely to add more than £2,000 to my costs. Having just spent a month raising £20,000 at very short notice, we all agree that this is undesirable.

So I have suggested to the court that a “hybrid” hearing should take place, with Counsel present in court and the rest of us tuning in via the internet. This runs the risk of the court demanding that the hearing be either wholly remote or wholly in person, but it strikes me that I’ll be no worse-off for having suggested it. If it transpires that I can find no way to attend, at least my reasons will be clear.

And of course, Rachel Riley has never attended a single hearing in this case, so it should not be held against me.

I’m not begging for cash this time – this update is purely for information. The CrowdJustice campaign is likely to need more at some point, though, so if you are inclined to donate, the methods are the same as always:

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 will provide further updates when the situation becomes clearer.

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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Nearly there! But Mike still needs help for his appeal against Riley libel case to hit its target

You’ve done the impossible – nearly.

When I appealed for you to help me raise £20,000 that I need to fund my appeal against Rachel Riley’s libel case, I honestly thought it was too much to ask.

But in nearly three weeks you have raised most of the cash!

As I write this, the fund stands around £3,000 short of the target. It’s a staggering achievement.

But this is an all-or-nothing situation. Either I make the full £20,000 and fund my legal team to appear at the hearing, or it doesn’t happen.

I know you want me to succeed.

I also know that, last time I wrote an update, you donated £3,000 within as many hours.

I know, as well, that you all have other pressures on your money and I hate having to come back and ask you again.

But if I don’t, Rachel Riley will win the case and all the fundraising will have been for nothing.

None of us want that. So please – and only 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.

Let’s get the fundraising part of this behind us so I can concentrate on winning this case.

Because I can win it. All I need to do is have my day in court.

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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Defence against Rachel Riley’s libel claim could fail for lack of funds. Don’t let it!

Time is running out and donations to Mike’s CrowdJustice find have dwindled to a trickle. Can you help?

My defence against Rachel Riley’s claim that I libelled her is in danger of failing – not because I cannot beat hear legal arguments but because I don’t have the funds for the next court hearing.

At the time of writing, despite heroic efforts by hundreds of supporters that have brought in more than £11,000 of the £20,000 that my legal team told me (two weeks ago) that I needed… well, I’m sure you can do the mathematics. We still need nearly £9,000.

I know that some funders are getting tired of putting money into a campaign that seems to be going on forever. I’ve seen messages attached to donations from people saying this contribution will be their last – and I understand. Everybody has their own life to live and I’m grateful for the difference they have made.

But it will all come to nothing if Riley is allowed to buy justice, simply by having forced me into a situation where I couldn’t raise enough cash to get back into court. All the cash raised so far – more than £138,000 in total – will have been for nothing.

I can’t let that happen uncontested.

I don’t want to let down everybody who has funded my case so far. Indeed, if we hit the target, I’m positive that I will be able to win my appeal against Riley’s ridiculous strike-out of my defence.

Then I’ll be able to take the case back to the High Court and win.

But we need to hit that target. Please help. 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.

The last three of these requests – asking you to encourage friends and other contacts to donate – is just as important as the request for you to donate cash yourself. The more people know about this case, the more likely I am to succeed.

We have come a very long way together – it is now more than two years since Riley’s legal team initially contacted me with a threat of court action unless I paid her a ridiculous amount of money that I didn’t have (and still don’t).

Help me see this through to victory.

Riley libel case: The clock is ticking again. Can we raise enough to get Mike’s appeal heard in court?

The clock is ticking: Rachel Riley seems to be forcing a court hearing next month because she thinks Mike will run out of money. Only you can stop that from happening.

What a great response! After my appeal last week, supporters like you have donated nearly £8,000 to the CrowdJustice fund. But it’s still less than half of what I need.

I reported last week that the Court of Appeal has listed my appeal against the High Court’s decision to strike out my defence against Rachel Riley’s libel claim against me – to take place over just two hours on April 27.

After the court announced the tight schedule, Riley’s legal team submitted their skeleton argument against my appeal, totalling 80 paragraphs, mostly consisting of new pleadings that were not in the original strike-out application – which was shorter.

It is this new document that is forcing my own team to do much more work – and that, in turn is why I need so much money.

Riley’s people could have asked the court to re-list the hearing to allow more time but they didn’t. It seems clear that they hope the extra work they have created – and the short timescale in which it needs to be done – will cost more than I can raise.

In other words, Riley is still trying to make justice too expensive.

I think everybody on her side knows that, if my case gets into court, hers is finished. Despite having initiated the litigation, they have done everything they could since Day One to prevent me from getting into a witness box and saying my piece.

That is how we got to be here, with £12,000 left to raise and little more than a month to go.

It can be done.

We managed it before, when I needed cash simply to be able to launch an appeal.

But I can never take your support for granted.

That’s why I have to beg, yet again, for your kindness.

If you haven’t donated to the current drive yet, or if you are able to donate more, then 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.

A month can seem like a long time. But time has a habit of slipping away from us.

Please help foil this dreadful bid to price me out of justice.

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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Mike’s appeal against Riley libel action is in danger due to court SCHEDULING

I have to raise around £20,000 within a month or my lawyers will not be able to prepare my appeal properly before it goes before the court on April 27.

That was the stark fact my solicitor put before me in a lengthy email yesterday evening.

The sudden push for funding has happened because the Court of Appeal has scheduled my case on an “expedited” basis, meaning the hearing will take place at its convenience rather than that of either party.

It has allowed only two hours for the appeal to be heard – one hour for me, one for Riley – but the arguments she has submitted amount to a completely new case against me.

My solicitor tells me he initially thought that two hours was “tight but workable” – until he saw Riley’s skeleton argument.

She is really running a whole new strike out application deploying legal arguments that she did not deploy before.

She is entitled to raise new arguments that support the High Court’s decision to strike out my defence, it seems – but normally this would involve putting the case she had already made in a new way rather than presenting the course with a completely new case.

And because it is a new argument, her legal team at Patron Law would be expected to challenge the Court of Appeal’s time estimate. But they have not.

As matters stand, this means my own team now – suddenly – need to an enormous amount of work in a very short time. Indeed, the court ordered yesterday (March 18) that my legal team had to submit its legal paperwork and any revision of our own skeleton argument by March 16 – two days previously. As this is impossible it means my team has had to scramble to try to obtain a revised timetable.

On top of all this (or rather, underlying it – because this was what we expected to have to do), because my case relies on a defence that is not extensively defined, the Court of Appeal may wish to refine or restate the law on the “public interest” defence and my legal team needs to be prepared to guide it.

Given the lack of time provided by the court, it is possible that I will be faced with one of several unwelcome decisions. It could decide that Riley is running a new case and if so, it could grant my appeal but send the matter back to the High Court and I would have to try to raise even more funds to fight the new allegations. It could dismiss my appeal, simply to draw a line under the matter (although this would be an unusual and, in my opinion, unjust outcome). It could say it wants more time and adjourn for a further hearing, possibly far in the future, meaning I would have to try to raise more funds because my legal team would have to carry out their preparation work again. Or it might make do with the current time estimate and either tell the lawyers to pick their best points or cut them off after an hour each, no matter what they were saying.

Given the above, my point of view is that I’m being asked to beg you – my funders – for £20,000 in very short order, to fund a hearing that is unlikely to have adequate time for all the issues to be aired and may either be cut short (which seems to me to be against the interests of justice) or either adjourned or postponed to what may be a much later date, incurring equal or greater costs.

Given those options, I have told my solicitor that I think it would be reasonable to remind the court that my resources are extremely limited in comparison to those of a Claimant who has effectively put an entirely new case before us all but has failed to request extra time for it to be discussed, and that I believe it would be in the interests of justice to vacate the hearing to a date when all the issues can be given the proper weight.

Whatever happens, you can see that the underlying tactic by Riley’s legal team is still to drain my funds, so I won’t have enough to defend myself.

If the appeal happens with a short, two-hour hearing, then I will have been forced to try to raise a large amount of money in a tiny period of time, which is unfair on my funders (meaning you).

If I manage that, but the case is sent back to the High Court because it involves new arguments, or is adjourned to a later date to allow more time, then I will have to ask you for even more money – which is again unfair on you.

It seems clear to me that Mark Lewis and his team at Patron Law know perfectly well what they are doing. They could have requested an adjournment to allow the longer hearing that they know their new case deserves, but they deliberately chose not to. I think that was to put pressure on you – my funders – to put you off helping me.

So I find myself in the awful position of having to ask you to support me with anything you can, as soon as you can – and to urge anybody you know, who might still by sympathetic to justice, to do the same – knowing that I am asking a lot and you may run out of patience.

And I have to do this, knowing that I may have to ask you for even more, possibly very soon after the April 27 hearing.

By now you are probably tired of reading the instruction, but I have to repeat them. Please:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, 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 CrowdJustice site.

It is a diabolical situation and I am sure that Patron Law – and Rachel Riley – intended it.

Riley has tried to use her huge wealth to buy justice in this case, ever since she started her case against me nearly two years ago.

With your help, I have come a long way. My public interest defence has a very high chance of success, if I can bring it to a trial.

I think that is why Riley and her people are trying so hard to make this appeal unaffordable for me.

As I say, I have asked my own lawyers to request a postponement that will allow all the necessary work to happen, provide enough court time for all the arguments to be properly aired, and allow me to raise the funds necessary for all of it.

But I must proceed on the basis that this will not happen and a very short, two-hour appeal will happen on April 27.

Please help me ensure that, if that is what must happen, I can not only bring my case to the court, but also bring my best case.

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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