Tag Archives: application

Riley libel: new statements show she’s flailing – so support Mike

 

Remember that new witness statement that had me concerned about Rachel Riley’s libel case against me?

I have now seen it and it seems I need not have worried so much.

I can’t say much about it because I don’t want to prejudice anything that happens in the hearing on November 6.

This will be her attempt to strike out parts of my case – and mine to strike out a significant part of hers.

I expect to succeed in my bid. Hers is looking less and less likely.

But I still need funds if I am to get anywhere at all. After my last update there was a welcome surge in contributions and we are now within £2,000 of that £100,000 milestone.

Reaching that before the hearing next week would be a huge psychological victory for all of us, so please – if you can afford it in these Covid-ridden times – follow these instructions:

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 appeal.

Riley wanted this hearing – pointless as I expect it will be for her. I reckon she thought she could use it to drain my campaign of its funds.

Let’s show her that this was a bad mistake – and knock her off-balance before next Friday’s court hearing.

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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November 6 libel hearing: Rachel Riley is submitting a new witness statement

 

The High Court has now confirmed that the hearing of Rachel Riley’s application to strike out part – or all – of my defence against her ridiculous libel claim will be heard on November 6.

I live in Wales and will still be in a lockdown imposed by the Welsh Government, so it will have to take place online.

This is likely to take some of the force out of Ms Riley’s advocates – she may have two barristers, including a QC, but only the QC will be allowed to speak.

Meanwhile her solicitor, Mark Lewis, has indicated that he intends to submit another witness statement. I have concerns about this.

Obviously I don’t know whose statement it will be or what it will contain. More pertinent, though, is when will my team get to see it?

November 6 is only 10 days away. I’m wondering whether Lewis intends to ambush me with a statement delivered late on the evening before the hearing – as the Labour Party did with its skeleton statement of defence against my ‘breach of contract’ case at the beginning of October.

Of course a new witness statement against me means more work for my solicitors and more expense for me, so I must appeal to your generosity again.

The response to my last update was fantastic, meaning we are now less than £4,000 away from the milestone of £100,000! I had not expected to reach that until the end of 2020 at the earliest and it would be a huge psychological victory to manage it with months to spare.

And the closer we get to the £125,000 target, the more obvious it will be to Ms Riley’s advocates that they can’t expect to win by draining my funds. So:

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 appeal.

This case needs to go to court, so all the details – embarrassing as they are – can be heard.

With your help, it will.

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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A small victory as judge in libel case postpones Rachel Riley’s ‘strike out’ bid


Rachel Riley’s attempt to drain my funds – by demanding that the High Court holds an early hearing on her libel case against me – has been foiled.​

She wanted a court to hear her application to strike out part of my defence before the end of July, which would have hugely strained my entirely-crowdfunded budget for the case.

But I argued that the court must treat us fairly – as detailed in my previous update – and a judge has agreed.

The application will be listed in the next term – between October and December.

This means we now have more than two months to raise the money needed to pay for my defence at that hearing.

Please continue donating to the CrowdJustice site – but bear in mind that there is now considerably less urgency and you should (as always) put your own needs first.

Here are the details as usual:

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 appeal.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

This small victory shows that the Riley machine can be defeated; she’s not having it all her own way.

And don’t forget that I’m making an application of my own, to strike out a significant proportion of her case against me.

My only immediate concern, now, is that she will dream up yet another vexatious plan to waste my time and our money.

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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Haste for hearing on Riley libel application – to drain Mike of all his funds?

The clock is ticking: Rachel Riley seems desperate to force a court hearing this month because she thinks Mike will run out of money. Only you can prove her wrong.

The High Court has suggested that an application by Rachel Riley to strike out part of my defence against her libel claim should be heard before the end of July – despite the fact that this will create a huge strain on my funds.

There is absolutely no urgency for this application to be heard and there is likely to be no shortage of urgent cases that could take priority over this one – and there is no date before the end of July on which both my solicitor and my Counsel will be available.

I understand Ms Riley’s solicitor, Mark Lewis, has written to the court with a suggestion that I want to delay in order to crowdfund the cash I need to fund my defence, saying he is concerned that this would establish a precedent that will clog up the administration of justice.

He has suggested that, besides being deprived of time to raise funds for my defence, I should also produce the extra cash that would be needed to obtain and instruct alternative Counsel.

We should all be concerned if this argument has swayed the court, because it is unjust.

Firstly, my reason for wanting to delay the hearing is that my Counsel is not available – not because I need to crowdfund. Courts are obliged to make efforts to accommodate Counsel, especially in a case in which the court would benefit from hearing from the Counsel who wrote my defence.

Secondly – yes, forcing me to change Counsel, to meet a July hearing date, will almost certainly put my defence fund in debt. Allowing the case to be heard later in the year will almost certainly not do so.

While the strain on my finances may not burden Mr Lewis, the court is required to deal with cases justly and at proportionate cost to ensure that the parties are on an equal footing. This means that the court must take account of the financial position of each party.

Let’s have a look at Ms Riley’s financial position in relation to mine: she is a very highly paid television celebrity who is able to afford both leading and junior counsel, while I am a full-time carer and am, yes, reliant on crowdfunding to finance my defence.

Speeding up this hearing deprives me of the ability to afford representation against a very well-resourced opponent. It is hard to see how the court can say this is just and proportionate treatment.

Finally, Ms Riley has put forward no reason to suggest that her case will be prejudiced if the hearing is not listed later; it will make no difference to her at all.

My own representatives have made these points to the court and we are awaiting a response.

But it seems clear that Ms Riley is once again trying to win her case by using my poverty against me. I think this is utterly despicable behaviour.

If your opinion of her behaviour is similar, then there’s only one way to help:

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 appeal.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

I had been hoping to write an update this week, saying that the pressure was off for a while, then this happened.

Please help foil this latest dark development in a very nasty story.

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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DWP caught LYING: it has tampered with thousands more benefit applications than it admitted

Remember when This Site reported that the DWP had admitted tampering with thousands of benefit claims in order to deny the claimants the cash they were due?

It turns out the DWP lied about the extent of its interference: it didn’t just mess with 2,300 claims in 2019 – the true figure was 3,490.

And in 2018, assessors marked down or rejected 3,360.

That makes a total of 6,850 claims that the Department for Work and Pensions deliberately altered – for no reason other than to deprive genuine benefit claimants of the money they genuinely deserved.

The Record exposed the secret audits over a year ago when a Scot with MS and mental health problems was sent before-and-after copies of his assessment for a Personal Independence Payment claim.

The original was submitted by a nurse after an assessment. It was then plucked from the files by a private firm and systematically marked down, leaving him without any support.

The changes show the auditor was routinely disregarding professional opinion on the claimant’s health.

In 2018, the IAS contractor marked down or scrapped 2240 files, followed by 2300 in the following year.

A second contractor, Capita marked down or rejected 1120 assessments followed by another 1190.

In This Site’s previous story about this scandal, I wrote: “In the benefit system, trust has always been a lopsided concept. The DWP questions everything claimants say, while they are supposed to accept every decision the DWP makes as fair and just.

“And now we know that it simply isn’t true.

“I guess it just proves the old adage that a liar won’t believe anybody else.”

And the DWP is still lying about this!

The department’s comment to the Record was: “We are absolutely committed to ensuring people receive the support they are entitled to.

“Assessments are carried out by qualified health professionals and we continue to work with them to ensure quality is continuously improving.”

It’s excuse for dismissing professional opinion was: “Sometimes assessment reports are returned to providers to ensure we have as much information as possible to reach an accurate decision.”

That makes absolutely no sense at all. The assessments were altered to remove information – not to add more.

It would be more accurate to state: “Sometimes assessment reports are returned to providers to ensure we remove information that would prohibit us from reaching the inaccurate decision necessary to hit our quota of rejections.”

After all, DWP bosses have to make sure they qualify for those huge bonuses we’ve just discovered, don’t they?

Source: DWP in tampering scandal after nearly 7000 health assessments changed or binned – Daily Record

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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Tories withdraw illegal leaflet telling disabled jobseekers to downplay their conditions

Arbet macht frei: There was a big fuss over an image like this recently, so I’ll tell you what: I’ll stop using it when Job Centres stop persecuting the benefit claimants they process.

A “well-intentioned” leaflet urging people with disabilities to mislead employers about their conditions has been withdrawn by the Department for Work and Pensions, after questions were asked in Parliament.

The official DWP leaflet, issued by a Job Centre in Dorset, told jobseekers to avoid using words like “chronic” or “depression” when applying for work. They were told to use “more general terms” and to avoid making things “sound worse than they are”.

It stated: “Avoid words that sound worse than they are, eg: chronic, degenerating, etc.

“You may find it helpful to use official diagnosis terms, eg multiple sclerosis, PTSD.

“Equally, you may wish to avoid terms such as depression, ME, or low back pain etc and use more general terms such as low mood or a mental health condition, a fatigue-related condition, an ongoing pain condition etc.”

Shadow minister for disabled people Marsha de Cordova raised the issue in a point of order in the House of Commons yesterday (Tuesday, October 8).

She said: “In essence, the DWP is encouraging disabled people to downplay their disability or health condition.

“It cannot be right that the Department expects disabled people to downplay their disability or health condition.”

Hours later, the DWP announced that the leaflet had been withdrawn.

A statement read: “This was well-intentioned local advice but has been withdrawn, as we would always encourage jobseekers to speak freely about a health condition or disability.”

The wording of the leaflet had been used before, in a “positive health statement” that was circulated by the Dorset NHS trust issued in 2013 – so it is reasonable to believe that the offending leaflet was produced in Dorset.

It was still against the law, though.

Under the Equality Act 2010, disabled people – including those with mental health problems – are entitled to protection if their disability has a substantial, adverse, and long term effect on normal day-to-day activities. It is therefore unreasonable to ask them to “downplay” their disabilities in any way.

So that leaves a thorny question still unanswered:

As the leaflet did break the law, and was passed to people who live with disabilities, who will be prosecuted for it?

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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Lottery bosses say they won’t withdraw funding if charities speak out about Universal Credit. Do we believe them?

This is a welcome announcement from the Big Lottery Fund – that it won’t withdraw funding from any organisation that speaks out on social issues like the human disaster known as Universal Credit.

But it is very easy to say such things. Considering the situation, it is important for us to see this organisation put its money where its mouth is.

Ellie Waugh, of the charity Humanity Torbay, made her situation as clear as crystal when she spoke out against the misery caused by Universal Credit in a video posted to Facebook last week.

And she made it clear that she had been told the charity would lose money if any of its representatives criticised the so-called benefit and its disastrous effects.

Now further details have emerged, courtesy of iNews.

An article states: “Ellie Waugh, who is CEO of Humanity Torbay, said she was visited by a Lottery official after she applied for £130,000 of funding for the charity… which would pay the rent on their building and pay two staff members.

“But she claimed the official told her to not express any more of her opinions about Universal Credit and the Government or she won’t receive any money.

“The Big Lottery Fund is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.

“Trustee Shirley Holbrook said she was in the room when lottery official allegedly made the statement.

“Shirley said: “She said categorically if we were to receive a big lottery grant we would be unable to speak out against Universal Credit or any other government measure that affected our clients adversely.

“We are not a political organisation. We speak out about homelessness because we deal with the results of it every day.””

Those are contradictory statements, and there is only one way for the confusion to be resolved – with a decision on the charity’s £130,000 grant application from the Big Lottery Fund.

If the grant application is honoured, then we will know that charities need not fear losing out on funding if they speak out on social issues that the Conservative government may find embarrassing.

If it isn’t, then we know Humanity Torbay’s story was right, and the Tories are trying to hide the effects of Universal Credit through threats – by a form of violence, if you like.

The arrogance of such a choice is staggering. The UK has an honourable tradition of free speech and it is intolerable that the Conservatives should try to make restricting such comment a condition of funding from them.

That goes for any kind of funding. Bear in mind the Home Office’s attempt to gag members of the Windrush generation with non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) before paying out fast-track compensation for the horrors they suffered under the Tories’ “hostile environment” policy.

The Home Office’s only comment on this is that NDAs are no longer used on the Windrush generation. Not exactly encouraging, is it? No admission, no apology, no willingness to change.

Humanity Torbay deserves to see all three, in addition to its funding: An admission of guilt, an apology for bad behaviour, and an undertaking to change for the better. And £130,000 of grant money, of course.

Source: Homeless charity boss ‘told she won’t get Lottery funding unless she stops criticising Universal Credit’ – inews.co.uk

Visit our JustGiving page to help Vox Political’s Mike Sivier fight anti-Semitism libels in court


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The future of the Tory class war? Job applicants to be questioned on their background

There used to be a saying about what happened to you if your face didn’t fit, didn’t there?

Now the Tories are extending it to your background.

They don’t want anybody from even relatively humble beginnings to have a chance at a position of influence.

All those jobs are to be earmarked for buffoons with Bullingdon and Eton backgrounds, like Boris Johnson, it seems.

It’s all part of the arse-backward Tory plan to ruin the UK as a viable economy.

The stupids are running the show – and trying to ingrain that stupidity into working culture.

Employers are to be encouraged to ask potential employees about where they fit in UK society and whether they see themselves as economically disadvantaged, under new plans that are likely to reignite concerns of a Tory class war.

Job applicants would face four multiple-choice questions under plans due to be rolled out in the civil service later this year, with questions including what school a worker or job applicant attended and whether they were in receipt of free school meals.

The Government claim the collected data will help to make workplaces for diverse and socially inclusive, but critics may argue the plans have ulterior motives and could see workers asked to divulge potentially sensitive information about their background.

Source: Tory plans will see job applicants asked about their social class


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First Mail/Miliband, now Mail/Mehdi – don’t they know two wrongs won’t make them right?

131004mailmehdiIt was a virtuoso performance, and one that earned Mehdi Hasan congratulations from Vox Political, just as soon as I could get to a keyboard.

For those who missed it, the panel on BBC Question Time was discussing the Daily Mail‘s veiled attack on Ed Miliband, which cast suspicion on the Labour leader’s motives by questioning those of his late father. It’s about the lowest kind of attack a newspaper could possibly launch – the kind that one might have expected from the News of the World in its latter days.

The piece in question was headlined The man who hated Britain and referred to Ralph Miliband’s “evil legacy”.

Mehdi Hasan, political editor of the Huffington Post‘s UK edition, tussled with Quentin Letts, a political sketch-writer for the Mail – winning the argument (and thunderous applause) with the following:

“Let me ask you a question,” he said. “When you talk about ‘Who hates Britain’ or ‘Who has an evil legacy’, who do you think has an evil legacy? A man who sucked up to the Nazis, who made friends with Joseph Goebbels and praised Hitler in the run-up to World War II – the owner and founder of the Daily Mail, Lord Rothermere – or a man who served in the Royal Navy, risked his life for his adopted homeland – Ralph Miliband. Who do you think hated Britain more?

“And this isn’t just about Ralph Miliband actually, because this has actually opened up a whole debate about the Daily Mail – if you want to talk about who hates Britain.

“This is a paper that, in recent years, said that there was nothing natural about the death of the gay pop star Stephen Gately, who said that the French people should vote for Marine Le Pen and the National Front, who attacked Danny Boyle for having a mixed race couple in his Olympics opening ceremony, who called Mo Farah “a plastic Brit”.

“So let’s have the debate about ‘Who hates Britain more’, because it isn’t a dead Jewish refugee from Belgium who served in the Royal Navy, it’s the immigrant-bashing, woman-hating, Muslim-smearing, NHS-undermining, gay-baiting Daily Mail.”

It did my heart a lot of good, typing that up – not just because of the Mail-bashing at its centre but because it was a speech that brings a few other groups together. Here was a Muslim praising the character of a Jew (for all those out there who think that adherents of Islam have nothing but hate to offer the rest of the world). He was also speaking up for homosexuals, mixed race couples, immigrants, women, the health service and anyone who opposes political extremism – especially of the right-wing variety.

Apart from the very last group, none of these include yr obdt srvt in their number, but I don’t think I’m alone in believing that anyone who agrees it is right to fight prejudice would support Mehdi’s opinion.

It seems the powers-that-be at the newspaper in question were listening carefully, and were keen to enter the next stage of the debate about the Daily Mail – by demonstrating just how much further they were prepared to debase themselves, just to smear the reputation of anybody who dared to stand up to them.

It seems clear that somebody in a high-ranking position at the Daily Mail went to their files and dug out a letter Mehdi had written in 2010, applying to become a writer for the newspaper. That letter then mysteriously made its way to those in charge of the Guido Fawkes blog, where it was published in full. It seems the intention was to prove that Mehdi was a hypocrite – how could this man apply for work at the Mail at one point, and then attack it so viciously only a few short years later?

Silly, silly mistake.

It seems that they didn’t read the letter very well at all.

“I am on the left of the political spectrum, and disagree with the Mail’s editorial line on a range of issues,” Mehdi2010 wrote.

“I could be a fresh and passionate, not to mention polemical and contrarian, voice on the comment and feature pages.”

In case the editors and proprietors of the Daily Mail are reading this: You seem to have mislaid your lexicons. A polemic is a passionate argument, against an established viewpoint (such as, perhaps, that put forward by yourselves) – and a contrarian is a person who always takes an opposing side.

Mehdi’s application letter was saying that he did not agree with the Daily Mail‘s opinions but he admired the forthright way it stood behind them and believed the paper would be strengthened by contributions from a writer with a different point of view to put forward.

This practice is not alien to the Daily Mail. One of the very earliest Vox Political articles praised the Mail for printing a piece by a columnist called Sonia Poulton, attacking the Coalition government’s treatment of the disabled in direct opposition to the paper’s established skivers/scroungers/shirkers rhetoric.

So it seems that, by ensuring that all journalists working in the UK now know that their confidential correspondence is likely to become public property the instant they upset the Mail‘s proprietors, by overreacting to fair, balanced and reasonable criticism of an extremely unreasonable article published in that newspaper, and by doing all this in defence of a piece intended to undermine support for one of Britain’s largest political parties – in line with its support for the most right-wing government in recent UK history, the Daily Mail has managed to destroy its own credibility (such as it was), render itself a no-go area for reputable journalists, and tarnish its readership by guilt-through-association.

Meanwhile, it has already boosted public support for Labour and the leader it hoped to harm and, if there is any justice, the current attack on Mehdi Hasan should bolster his career considerably as well.

That’s what happens when people who think a little too much of themselves overreact to criticism.

Daily Mail? It might as well be called the Daily Flail.