Tag Archives: defence

Should the UK Home Secretary be linked to ‘charity’ that supports persecution of Palestinians?

Bloodthirsty: Priti Patel.

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel, who was sacked as International Development Secretary for trying to carry out her own foreign policy in Israel, is linked to a so-called charity that supports the persecution of Palestinians.

Patel used a family holiday in Israel to carry out secret political meetings with members of that country’s government – she pretended she had told the Foreign Office about them but had not.

When she got back to the UK, she tried to divert part of the Foreign Aid budget to fund the Israeli military occupation of the Golan Heights – land that belongs to Syria.

Eventually – after some dithering by then-prime minister Theresa May, Patel was forced to resign, only to be restored to an even more important Cabinet position by Boris Johnson.

Now we see a reason for Patel’s behaviour nearly four years ago: she is linked to the Henry Jackson Society, a (so-called) charity whose leaders support Israeli Defence Force (IDF) soldiers occupying – and carrying out atrocities – in the Occupied Territories of Palestine.

I’m sure we all remember the IDF’s war crimes against Palestine in April, when it bombed civilian infrastructure in Gaza including apartments, offices, government facilities, business and roads.

The IDF justified this by saying it was attacking assets of the Palestinian group Hamas, and the uninvolved individuals it killed – including many children – just happened to be in the way.

It is right to say that Hamas has itself committed war crimes, but that does not mean the IDF should do the same in return, and it is currently being investigated by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity including apartheid and persecution.

Henry Jackson Society executive director Dr Alan Mendoza justified Israel’s violence in Gaza on LBC News in May as legitimate self-defence, making no mention of Israel’s occupation and systematic discrimination against Palestinians.

Byline Times tells us about Patel’s involvement with this questionable organisation:

Until 2016, Priti Patel was a member of HJS’ Political Council, and in 2014 HJS sponsored her to fly to Washington DC to attend a conference organised by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

During the involvement of … Patel, two of HJS’ US directors have been involved in charities with close ties to the Israeli military.

In November 2020, Byline Times revealed that between 2015 and 2018, HJS’ US-based non-profit vehicle operated under the directorship of Joshua Swidler and Liad Meidar, both of whom are Republican Party donors. Swidler is also a Conservative Party donor and his late wife Alisa Swidler was a member of the Conservative Party Leaders Group who had given a total of £336,686 to the party.

Both former HJS director Swidler and current HJS director Meidar are simultaneously directors of a number of charities which support Israeli soldiers.

The Byline Times article goes on to mention more links between directors of the HJS and IDF-supporting charities. It continues:

Patel [was] involved with HJS during its US directors’ active involvement in these IDF supporting charities.

Here’s the point:

Involvement with this alleged charity (the involvement of its personnel in both US and UK politics may infringe Charity Commission rules on political independence) means Patel has, at the very least, been in contact with people who support Israeli military atrocities against innocent civilians.

And it was after she had been a member of that organisation’s political council that she visited Israel, met politicians including then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and tried to use UK government money to fund IDF activities in an occupied territory.

The charity says it hasn’t done anything wrong, but is that true if its directors have been using the connections it allows them to make in order to increase aid to the political causes they support?

So the question has to be asked:

Is it true that Patel supports the IDF in its atrocities because she has been radicalised by her association with the Henry Jackson Society and its directors – or that she became involved because their beliefs coincide with her own?

And, given that this may be the case:

Isn’t it also true that Priti Patel is a bloodthirsty racist who should not be a member of Parliament, let alone a hugely-powerful minister in the Tory Cabinet?

To help you remember why this is important, here’s a mild reminder of the way Israeli settlers, supported by the thugs of the IDF, treat Palestinians who are trying to work on their own land:

Priti Patel supports this violence.

It seems clear that, as long as she remains in government, the UK will continue to support Israeli war crimes in Palestine.

As long as people like her – puppets whose strings are being pulled by shadowy pro-Israel organisations – are in power, there will never be peace in the so-called Holy Land.

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’s money-grasping forces new call to fund Mike’s libel defence

If Rachel Riley hadn’t insisted on grabbing cash from me after she lost her bid to strike out my defences against her libel claim, I wouldn’t have to make this appeal.

I’ve just had a note from my solicitor to say that, after she had more than £3,600 from me to pay for the costs of her failed application, I’ll need around £2,000 to pay for work to finalise the new defence I shall be putting before the High Court in the near future – if Riley doesn’t launch another vexatious attempt to waste our time and cash.

It will be very strong indeed.

The public interest defence focuses on why I thought publishing my article was in the public interest, and on the information that persuaded me that I had good reason to put it before the public.

I have always been very confident about these elements of my defence – and I feel more confident than ever, after spending the last few weeks working on it.

There have been strange upsets during this time – involving delays in getting information to my legal team. For an unknown reason, my email software failed to send text and image documents across, on three occasions. I don’t know why this happened – it certainly wasn’t because the files were too big; they were well within the limits of the email platform.

That slowed us down and, as a result, I may need to request an extension of the deadline for submitting the new defence. I mention this to make it clear that it is due to logistical problems; there is no problem at all with the arguments I will be making.

Looking forward, the trial itself is likely to cost another large amount of money so it would be welcome if the fund received a boost beyond its immediate needs. The future is uncertain; while we all may enjoy an increased income if lockdown restrictions really are finally lifted in the middle of next month, I cannot count on that to ensure that I can continue paying for this case.

I should also remind you that this has always been about the ability of rich celebrities to buy justice; Riley’s costs demand shows that she still doesn’t want this to go to trial and will do anything she can to drain my funds.

So please continue to do all you can to foil her – by the usual methods:

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.

While it may have seemed as though the last few weeks have been pleasantly quiet, there’s a lot going on that could affect the case, both positively and negatively. It is therefore vital that I continue to demonstrate the financial wherewithal to go on.

I will, of course, keep you updated.

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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Time is running out! Help Mike fund his appeal against wrong-headed Riley ruling

Happier 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.

The week after a judge struck out my defence against Rachel Riley’s libel case against me was… eventful, wasn’t it?

In many ways it was one of a kind I hope I’ll never see again: extremely stressful, with a large amount of hard work.

The element that kept me going through this struggle was certainly the response to my appeal for funds to fight back. You provided around £11,000 in a single week and this has enabled me to get started on an appeal, and on submitting another defence.

Even though I am taking the strike-out to the Court of Appeal, the trial is still going on, and I don’t currently have any defence against Riley’s false allegations.

(They are still false, you see. They will always be false. She deliberately targeted a teenage girl with anxiety problems for psychological manipulation, coercion and bullying and made her a target for dogpiling and for threats to her safety, traumatising the young person concerned. That is the fact of the matter, whether a High Court judge accepts it or not.)

If the Court of Appeal accepts my application, then it may be possible to delay the trial – it should be, in the interests of justice. But it seems nothing is certain. And I must present something to defend against Riley’s allegations in the meantime.

Fortunately, there is a large amount of material available for me to use. She is extremely loose-lipped, especially (albeit metaphorically) on Twitter, and seems to delight in making daft statements.

For example, she recently made a comment about “the need for anti-black racism”. It may well have been a Freudian slip – she seemed to be discussing the need to oppose such racism – but the fact that it happened shows that she is a person whose pronouncements must be questioned, whose words cannot be trusted.

And this means that she cannot claim to have suffered significant harm to her reputation; any harm she has suffered, she has done to herself.

Nor can she claim that anything I have said can possibly have harmed her – for reasons I’ll keep to myself for the moment. Her legal team watch this site like hawks; while I may not have much cash, I think I can afford to let them stew for a while.

The fact remains that, even with the £11K that you raised for me in a single week – and I’m still reeling with amazement at the size of that response – the appeal alone is expected to cost around £30,000. If I win, I believe I will get it back, along with the cost of defending the strike-out application, and this may make the trial much easier – but we are a long way from that point now.

And time is running out. I have nine days in which to lodge my appeal and file a new defence.

So, once more, I have to say, 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 appeal.

From the way she behaves, one would think Rachel Riley has already won this case.

Let’s remind her that she is gravely mistaken.

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’s lawyers attack Mike’s crowdfunding site

Before anyone comments, I know that UK courts don’t use the gavel. This is for illustrative purposes.

What are they afraid of?

Well, there’s a simple answer to that: Rachel Riley’s legal team knows that a judge’s decision to strike out my defence against her libel claims is not safe and wants to ensure that I don’t have the financial ability to challenge it.

Initially, according to my own solicitor (I don’t have any direct contact), Patron Law took a very strong line that many of the assertions in my updates on CrowdJustice had been proved to be defamatory by Mrs Justice Collins Rice’s judgment of January 20 and that my fundraising web pages should be taken down completely.

That has now been moderated. The firm now says it has written to CrowdJustice asking only for defamatory comments and updates to be removed. But Patron Law has not provided any information on what its members believe those comments and updates to be.

The demand would only be reasonable if I were not appealing against the judgment – and we all know that I am.

Already I have looked at the judgment in relation to the evidence I provided and have identified significant issues, in terms of both fact and law, where her judgment may be challenged. So my representatives will definitely be lodging an appeal.

This makes it entirely possible for the judgment to be cancelled (annulled?) and for my defence to be reinstated. If that happens, then it would be premature to remove any of the information from the CrowdJustice site.

I have to take a balanced view of this and have said to CrowdJustice that it is right to abide by the law and I will remove any words that offend against it at the appropriate time. Now is not the appropriate time.

Meanwhile – here’s the good news: since I made my desperate appeal for more funding, you have donated more than £9,000 to the CrowdJustice site – or to me personally. That’s in just three days! And most of it came in on the first day – around £7-8,000.

Because of this, I reached 90 per cent of my stated target and CrowdJustice asked me if I wanted to extend it. Considering the new financial demands – the appeal, costs of continuing the case in the High Court, the possibility of having to pay the costs of Riley’s application – I have raised it to £200,000.

I consider this to be a monstrous amount to have to pay for justice.

It really reinforces what I have said all along – that this case is not about the facts. It is an attempt to hijack the justice system and use it to bully somebody with fewer funds out of what little they have.

That is deplorable in itself.

The attempt to stop me from crowdfunding makes it very much worse.

My appeal is continuing and it is possible to contribute in these ways:

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.

You have given a lot in the last few days. Most significantly, you have given me hope.

There is more to do, though.

Let’s keep going. We can win.

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: hope for the best – but we must plan for the worst

As I write this, the judge has still not handed down her verdict on Rachel Riley’s application to have my defence against her libel accusation struck out.

In a week’s time it will have been a month since the hearing. Even with Christmas between then and now, it seems a very long time to wait for a judgment.

On one hand, this could be a good thing – it could indicate that she is inclined to find in my favour and dismiss the application, and has spent the time ensuring that such a judgment is corrrect in law.

On the other, she could be finding ways to justify a verdict in favour of Riley.

Either result could be contested; both sides could appeal, if they could find a justification for it – and if one of us has the funds.

Then there is the question of the actual trial. That is unlikely to happen until 2022, I am told, but it will still need to be funded.

If the judge finds for me in the current application, some of the pressure will be relieved as my £29,000 legal fees would have to be paid by Riley – but we cannot rely on that.

We can only rely on the CrowdJustice cash – and that fund is running low.

This case has always been about whether justice should be allowed to be bought by the person with the biggest bank account.

If you still believe that justice should be decided on the evidence instead, then I must ask once again:

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.

I hate making these requests.

But I have no choice.

I believe in justice – as do you.

It seems this is the only way any of us can get 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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Court hears evidence that Rachel Riley bullied vulnerable teen

The High Court in London: The judge was here, but This Writer was at home in Mid Wales because the hearing took place remotely, via the magic of the internet.

ADDITIONAL, 12/12/2020: I woke up this morning to discover my personal Twitter account – @MidWalesMike – has been suspended. I have received no email providing any reason but can only conclude it is because I tweeted the link to this article, and somebody complained. It is not a breach of Twitter rules to tweet a link to a fair and accurate article like this.

Please contact Twitter to request the restoration of my account.

Judgment was reserved – I could have screamed!

It means the judge will consider the evidence and deliver a written judgment in due course, stating whether or not she considers there to be enough evidence to support my defence against Rachel Riley’s claim of libel against me – and for a trial to take place in order to establish whether I libelled her or whether I was right to make the statements I did.

But the fact that a public hearing took place today (December 11) that mentioned some of the evidence means we can discuss that evidence here.

The claim is that I libelled Riley by saying that she had engaged upon, supported and encouraged a campaign of online abuse and harassment of a 16-year-old girl, conduct which has also incited her followers to make death threats towards her.

There are also claims which are defended as matters of honest opinion, based on these facts.

The judge seemed most interested in the way Riley was alleged to have bullied a girl who was aged 16 at the time, and who had mental health issues.

She heard that:

“Celebrity adult claimant” Riley first heard of the vulnerable “child victim” (as my counsel characterised them both) after she tweeted in support of claims that left-wing journalist Owen Jones acted an in anti-Semitic way when he tweeted in support of Lord Sugar leaving the UK if Jeremy Corbyn became prime minister.

The “child victim” tweeted in support of Jones, and this attracted the attention of Twitter followers of Ms Riley, who replied with abuse. They would not have seen the girl’s tweets if they had not been followers of Riley, and she sent a tweet to the celebrity, pointing out the abuse she had received.

This led to more abuse, to which the girl responded at one point by saying Riley had been “encouraging a smear campaign” (against Jones).

Riley responded with seven tweets, all sent to the girl within a 13-minute time frame. Some right-thinking people have questioned whether sending a teenager with mental health issues a tweet every two minutes is harassment.

The content of those tweets is also questionable. My counsel argued that Riley ignored the subject matter – her smearing of Owen Jones – and instead tried to gaslight the girl into doubting both her views and herself.

While recognising the abuse the girl had been subjected to, it was claimed that Riley failed to condemn her own supporters who had perpetrated it, patronised the girl, questioned her motives and suggested she was a dupe for the opinions of undesirable other people.

This led to a “dogpile” on the girl, with many more abusive comments from Riley’s Twitter followers. Riley herself wrote a second thread, but again failed to condemn the activities of her followers (despite the fact that every tweet was a reply to her – meaning she would have seen all the abuse).

By this time, she was referring to the “smear” as being about the Labour Party claiming accusations of anti-Semitism generally were smears, rather than about her having smeared Owen Jones.

She accused the girl of having called her a liar, and also of “helping to spread the virus that is antisemitism”.

The thread totalled 16 tweets over 44 minutes. Harassment?

The girl had certainly had enough, it seems, because she tried to end the dialogue, tweeting, “Have a lovely Christmas, I’m putting this debate behind me now.” [This was on December 17, 2018.]

Matters then became more sinister, because the court heard that Riley would not leave the girl alone. She tweeted: “Thank you for listening Rosie, I would appreciate an update to this please, so as to not encourage the smear rhetoric, if you now think there’s more to the story?” The girl also received more abusive tweets from Riley’s followers.

So the following day, she tweeted that she had blocked Riley. This means Riley was not allowed to read or respond to the girl’s tweets, or have anything directly to do with her on Twitter.

The judge took interest in this and wanted to know how we could be sure that Riley genuinely had been blocked. She mentioned it herself in a tweet on January 15 the following year: “I wouldn’t have been able to contact her even if I wanted to.” Riley certainly never contacted the girl directly again, indicating that she no longer could.

So how did she manage to acquire tweets the girl published on December 31, 2018, and January 8, 2019 – which she published in a 13-tweet Twitter thread on January 9?

This led to a discussion of stalking, and whether Riley had stalked this vulnerable teenager who has – let’s bear in mind – anxiety issues.

Riley’s counsel argued that the dialogue between her and the girl had been entirely polite and civilised, and denied that his client’s tweets contained any questionable material.

He said that when Riley mentioned the girl in her thread of January 9, and another on January 15, she had removed the girl’s Twitter handle in order to discourage any more dogpiles – but her name was clearly visible, along with her profile picture, and her father was fully identified in the January 15 thread, meaning anybody who wanted to do it could go back through Riley’s timeline and find all the contact details they needed.

Speaking for Riley, and in addition to his claims that the dialogue between his client and the girl was perfectly polite, John Stables said the “celebrity adult claimant” could not be associated with any abuse directed at the girl because she was not responsible for the behaviour of her followers.

The judge summed up his submissions as saying, not that there had been no online abuse of the girl but that Riley had not taken part in it or encouraged it, and any such campaign was nothing to do with her.

If that was the case, then why did the abuse follow – and refer back to – Riley’s tweets? Isn’t it more accurate to say that the abuse the “child victim” received would not have happened if Rachel Riley had not tweeted about her and to her?

Stables also suggested that we do not know to what extent the “child victim” suffered Twitter dogpiles. This is also not true, as the defence lists exactly the number of retweets, ‘likes’ and replies each of Riley’s threads received.

There was much more argument but these were the main sticking-points.

Bearing in mind that this hearing was only to establish whether there was enough evidence for a trial, what do you think?

If you reckon I have a strong enough defence, please help me fund it in the now time-honoured manner:

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.

The evidence may seem obvious from the above – but I have to admit that it is impossible for me to be objective about this case as I am the defendant. The judge may see matters differently.

It seems unlikely that the judge will throw the whole case out completely – as Stables had to retreat from a claim that my defence that I said what I did in the public interest should also be struck out.

But any decision in Riley’s favour could result in a crippling costs order against me.

And even if I beat this application to strike out my defence, I still need to fund the actual trial.

That won’t happen for some time yet, but I need to be ready for it, when it does happen.

I must thank everybody who has supported the crowdfunding effort already. Without your help I would not have been able to get to court at all.

Please help me see this through to the end.

Riley libel case: court hearing THIS FRIDAY. Help Mike win!

Before anyone comments, I know that UK courts don’t use the gavel. This is for illustrative purposes.

I am currently working with my legal team to put the finishing touches on our defence against Rachel Riley’s latest vexatious attack – a bid to have my defence against her libel action struck out.

The application will be heard in the High Court on Friday. Fortunately the court has agreed to hold it online – via Teams – as there is a risk that, having used public transport (trains and the Tube) to get there, I might carry Covid-19 back to my home town, which has been more or less virus-free throughout the pandemic. My situation applies to others who are appearing as well, I understand.

Most of the points in the Riley application appear to be either expressions of opinion that are not permissible in court or attempts to deny reality.

Part of the claim could be expressed as saying that Riley’s followers sent abusive messages to a teenage girl with anxiety problems at random, and they only happened to coincide with the TV celebrity’s Twitter threads attacking her.

That isn’t realistic.

Another claim is that Riley took pains to anonymise the girl she was attacking. This is also not true, as complaints on Twitter at the time, from concerned bystanders, made clear.

My personal opinion is that this is just another attempt to avoid having the evidence (and I have a lot of it) heard at a trial. Ms Riley seems highly averse to having this particular pile of dirty linen washed in public, which is exactly why it needs to happen.

But there is a possibility that she might win some of her points – and this could be extremely expensive for me.

She is throwing everything but the kitchen sink at this case, employing extremely expensive lawyers to make her case for her. If she wins even one point, the costs claim against me could be enormous.

That’s why she’s doing this, of course – to obstruct justice by making it impossible for me to continue. It has long been one of the strangenesses of this case that the defendant is the one who wants a trial and the claimant wants to prevent it from happening.

There are two ways to foil this plan. As I mention at the top of this update, I am working hard on the defence and hope to convince the judge with my arguments.

The other way is to ensure that I have enough funds to keep going, regardless of any minor wins the Riley team manage to score along the way.

My case is entirely crowdfunded and it is thanks to the contributions of thousands of people like you – possibly including you (I don’t know; many are anonymous) – that I have been able to get even this far.

Please help make sure I can take this all the way.

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 is a very uncertain time and I have to admit that the possibility of any kind of loss is preying on my mind. That’s exactly what the predators on the Riley legal team want, of course. Part of their strategy is to demoralise me with constant vexatious applications like this one.

Won’t they be disappointed – and I know I’ll be cheered up immensely – if I get a sudden financial boost, right before this hearing? Please help make it happen.

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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Look out! Defence funding boost means Johnson wants to start a war

Boris Johnson: all he wants to do is cause trouble.

Boris Johnson is up to no good.

“What’s new?” I hear you cry in one voice.

Fair point. But whereas recently he has focused his diabolical efforts on harming the population of the UK with an income of less than £80,000 a year, it seems he is now widening that focus.

He has announced plans to increase spending on defence by 10 per cent, even though his government simply doesn’t have the money.

It seems his answer to all the poverty and misery he has caused is “Let them eat bombs”.

His efforts to contain Covid-19 by giving billions of pounds to Tory crony companies that have provided very little in return have swelled the national deficit to the extent that his government has borrowed more even than Labour during the year of the great recession.

At that time, the Conservative Party that Johnson currently leads said that Gordon Brown’s New Labour had bankrupted the UK (a false claim; as a nation with its own currency it is impossible for the UK to be bankrupted), and won an election – in coalition with Nick Clegg’s turncoat Liberal Democrats – that has led to more than a decade of “austerity” cuts to government funding that helps people on low incomes.

(These have been bonanza years for the super-rich, though.)

All of Johnson’s words about the new funding boost are threatening.

A defence spending boost will ensure “the safety of the British people must come first”, Boris Johnson said.

Translation: “I intend to manufacture a crisis. Margaret Thatcher did it – and won an election that ensured the progression of her neoliberal project to increase poverty and uncertainty for working people and help the rich do whatever they want again, while also forcing Labour to become more right-wing and expel socialists.”

It will “end the era of retreat, transform our armed forces and bolster our global influence”, he said.

Translation: “I want to kill Johnny Foreigner.”

Johnson is probably hoping to ingratiate himself with new US President Joe Biden, if that leader decides to launch military expeditions over the four years of the term he has just won.

Such military adventures always lead to attempts at revenge attacks against the UK, and these have caused considerable injury and loss of life over the last 10 years. Johnson may consider this an acceptable risk when balanced against the economic activity created by attempts to prevent it.

Johnson may also be unconcerned at the harm he will do to the UK’s international reputation if he starts throwing his currently-negligible weight around internationally.

He has already ruined the UK’s reputation as a trading nation by announcing his contempt for international law with a Bill that would overthrow the terms of the EU Withdrawal Agreement.

This is what happens when you give the most important job in the United Kingdom to an idler.

Johnson wants to make an impression on history and doesn’t care what it is. He probably hatched this lunacy while self-isolating in the Downing Street flat, thinking it a more profitable use of his time than… I don’t know… releasing the report on whether Priti Patel is a bully or not.

There is a saying that the Devil makes work for idle hands. It seems the Devil is now Boris Johnson’s drinking partner.

Source: Defence funding boost ‘extends British influence’ – BBC News

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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