Tag Archives: Heybroek

Riley libel case: what a shame we can’t rely on the national press to report fairly and accurately

For the recycler: many newspaper stories about the various libel cases brought by Rachel Riley aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.

A newspaper report on a recent libel defeat suffered by Rachel Riley illustrates a serious problem faced by those of us she has been dragging to court: we cannot hope for a fair hearing in the press.

The report, in the Mail, referred not to my own case but to that of Jane Heybroek, who beat Riley’s – and Tracy Ann Oberman’s – case against her, and forced them to pay… some… of her court costs.

I won’t do the Mail the courtesy of visiting its website to see the article. I can quote from the Zelo Street report on it instead:

Apparently, tacked onto a bit of throwaway celebrity gossip about some new acting role for Oberman was the following:

It comes after Tracy Ann and Rachel Riley dropped a libel action against an immigration barrister who retweeted an article accusing them of harassing a 16-year-old girl. Self-confessed ‘Buddhist Barrister’ Jane Heybroek shared an article by a blogger titled ‘Beneath Contempt: How Tracy-Ann Oberman and Rachel Riley harassed, dogpiled and slandered a 16-year-old child and her father’”.

It’s true that Riley and Oberman withdrew their case – it seems clear that they had to. They could not show that any defamation arose from Ms Heybroek’s tweet.

And what’s this about her being a “self-confessed ‘Buddhist barrister'”? That’s a label that I doubt any barrister would attach to herself. As Ms Heybroek herself tweeted:

I am not a ‘self-confessed Buddhist Barrister’. I am a Barrister and a practicing Buddhist. Do not attack me on the basis of my religion again, otherwise that is going straight to IPSO.

(That’s the Independent Press Standards Organisation – the often-toothless press watchdog.)

 I asked my solicitor to intervene the last time you did this, and you amended your article. I will be asking him to intervene this time. If this happens again, I shall go straight to IPSO as this is a ‘course of conduct.

She also sent – or more probably re-sent – her full statement on the end of the court case and demanded a correction from the Mail:

In the end, it seems she was forced to bring in her legal team. Zelo Street reported that the Mail removed references to anti-Semitism in the article: “The inference made by including those references was clear, and potentially defamatory.”

The Mail had also distorted a previous judgement in the case – on the meaning of the words forming the basis of the complaint.

It seems clear from this behaviour that so-called little people like Ms Heybroek and This Writer cannot expect our cases ever to be reported accurately by papers whose editors think they’ll make more cash by publishing positive material about so-called celebrities.

It seems I need to crowdfund – not just to protect myself from the court attentions of Riley, but also in case the newspapers publish false information about me and I have to challenge them.

You can help – 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.

I still don’t know when Riley’s application to strike out my own defence against her libel claim will come back to court, after it was adjourned from November 6.

Let’s make sure I’m ready to deal with whatever is thrown at me – and with whoever throws 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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Rachel Riley is caught in a contradiction: it seems it IS about money after all

What do you think of this apparent hypocrisy?

Last year, announcing that he had been hired by Rachel Riley and Tracy-Ann Oberman to prepare lawsuits against people they said had libelled them, lawyer Mark Lewis said:

“This is not about money… They’re not looking to enrich themselves by taking legal action. They’re looking to stop vile lies.”

You can read him saying it very clearly in The Guardian and also in MetroThe Mirror, the Evening Standard, the Daily Star and other news outlets.

How interesting – because if it isn’t about money, the following reason for this week’s decision to halt proceedings against Jane Heybroek makes no sense at all:

“Their libel insurers did not see any advantage in pursuing a case over the liability of a retweet that was deleted so quickly and therefore paid a very modest sum. Regrettably the defamatory tweeter lives in South America and has no visible assets.

“‘There are bigger fish to fry, in the pursuit of those who choose to maintain a serious libel.'”

[This is from a tweet by Ms Riley that she has since taken down. It referred to another case as well, so I won’t reproduce it here. I do have a copy, though.]

First let’s put one line straight: the case against Ms Heybroek arose from her decision to retweet a link to an article by Shaun Lawson – as did all the other cases to which Mr Lewis was referring in his 2019 comment. The description of him as “the defamatory tweeter” is false as he has never faced court proceedings. No judge has passed comment about him.

More important, though, is the fact that Ms Riley has never tried to bring any such proceedings directly against him. Because he “has no visible assets”? That would contradict Mr Lewis’s comment that “they’re not looking to enrich themselves… They’re looking to stop vile lies.”

If Ms Riley really wanted to stop any “vile lies” she claims are in the article that Ms Heybroek retweeted, then she would have pursued Mr Lawson. She hasn’t done so. The only reason for the decision, that I can see, is that it won’t result in a cash return.

If it wasn’t “about money”, then why did she and Tracy-Ann Oberman pursue Ms Heybroek, knowing that she had deleted her tweet and it was not possible to assert that it had influenced anyone?

If it wasn’t “about money”, then why are RR and TAO not personally paying Ms Heybroek’s costs in full?

If it wasn’t “about money”, then why did RR issue a tweet touting for new cases to bring to court, implying that she would give the proceeds to charities?

If it wasn’t “about money”, then why is RR pursuing me with vexatious court applications that seem intended to run down the crowdfunded cash that you have generously donated to help me? Like Mr Lawson, I don’t have any assets worth mentioning.

And if it is about “looking to stop vile lies” then why is RR trying to run down my funds now, rather than taking her evidence to a full trial? I have made it clear all along that I consider her behaviour to be an attempt to drain me of cash before a judge gets to hear the evidence in the case.

This week’s revelations make it clear that Ms Riley herself has contributed very little towards these court cases; her legal team is employed on a “no win, no fee” basis and she has also taken out insurance – it is her insurers who have paid compensation to Ms Heybroek.

So it seems all the risk is being taken by her victims – people like myself whose lack of funds make us highly vulnerable to predatory litigation.

Of course, I may be wrong. What do you think? Please feel free to answer by doing one or several of the following:

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.

These cases can be “about money” even if the people bringing them don’t directly benefit – because they can deprive other people of their own finances.

I’ve always said that’s what seems to be happening here – with the knock-on result that people like myself would be unable to fight the libel assertion and people like Ms Riley would have their way regarding “vile lies” too – without having to prove a thing.

Some of you might consider that to be a misuse of the justice system that should be stopped.

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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Jane got justice in Rachel Riley court case – will Vox Political’s Mike get the same?

Rachel Riley has withdrawn her libel case against Jane Heybroek, and it seems they will pay part of her costs in an agreement that – surprisingly – does not include a demand for confidentiality.

Here’s Jane’s statement on Twitter:

It states:

“I am Jane Heybroek, a barrister specialising in immigration work. I was the subject of discourse on Twitter, and reports in the mainstream media, earlier this year, as a result of a libel claim being brought against me by the television presenter Rachel Riley and the actress Tracy Ann Oberman.

“I am now able to report that the claim against me has been withdrawn and that Ms Riley and Ms Oberman have agreed to make contributions towards my legal costs. I wish to thank everyone who has helped me in the last 18 months; it will not be forgotten.

“Ms Riley and Ms Oberman are not personally known to me. Their claim saw them seeking damages and costs in respect of my re-tweet of a tweet by the blogger Shaun Lawson, which contained a link to a blog article he had written about them in January 2019.

“Mr Lawson’s article, which concerned the celebrities’ alleged behaviour towards a teenage Labour supporter on Twitter in January 2019, had been re-tweeted/shared by hundreds of people. Some of those people were threatened with legal action like me; others were not.

“Ultimately, despite press reports which suggested as many as 70 people might face legal action, I was the only person who was sued.” [Before people question this, she’s saying she was the only one sued for retweeting a link to the Lawson article. I’m being sued over my own piece that was based on it, and a member of the band Reverend and the Makers settled before proceedings went to court.] “This was despite the fact that I had deleted my re-tweet before I had even received Letters of Claim. I did not even know how long my re-tweet had been live for. Neither, it seems, did Ms Riley or Ms Oberman.

“There was no evidence, that I am aware of, to suggest that anyone had read the blog article as a result of clicking the link in my re-tweet. There were also various other ways in which the claim against me could have been (and would have been, had it proceeded) defended.

“Ms Riley and Ms Oberman were being represented, from the very outset, on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis, and had ‘after the event insurance’. This meant that there was almost no risk to them in bringing the claim. Many people would have felt forced to settle for reasons of pragmatism. Whilst I am in a more fortunate position than most, after having spent almost £30,000 by a very early stage, it was clear to me that I would have no prospect of funding my defence to trial without help. I therefore launched a fundraiser on the website CrowdJustice.com, and was overwhelmed by the response which I received.

“Due to the support of a great many people, I was able to continue to retain leading defamation lawyers, and properly contest the case.

“I am making this statement for the benefit of those who have supported me emotionally and financially, and to address one other issue.

“Ms Riley and Ms Oberman’s vocal stance against antisemitism (and perceived antisemitism) has been widely documented, as has their involvement in other legal cases. This claim, however, did not actually involve any allegations of antisemitism against me or indeed Mr Lawson.

“I understand that Mr Lawson is himself Jewish and that his grandmother was a holocaust survivor. For my part, I abhor all forms of racism. Unfortunately, as a result of the litigation, I was subject of a number of nasty comments from a small minority of people who simply presumed to know what the case was about and what the outcome would be. They were wrong on both counts.

“Finally, as I have said throughout to those who have supported me, I ask people, for their own sakes, not to discuss the content of Mr Lawson’s article, nor to comment on Ms Riley or Ms Oberman on social media more generally.

“Notwithstanding the fact that I am a lawyer by profession, this has been a long, and at times exhausting experience, and I would not wish anyone to find themselves on the receiving end of legal action.”

This is an excellent outcome for Jane.

And it gives hope for my own case.

Part of Ms Riley’s libel case against me concerns my own reference to Mr Lawson’s articles. I have applied to the court for this aspect of the case to be struck out and have no doubt that this will happen at a hearing on November 6.

With that and Ms Heybroek’s case in mind, and also considering Ms Riley’s recent tweet that appears to encourage her followers to provide information that she can use to start more libel cases, I think my own case is becoming stronger by the day.

Ms Heybroek’s case was crowdfunded and so was mine – and I still need help. If you would like to provide some, here are the details:

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 battle is won, but the war isn’t over yet.

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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2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

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

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

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

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

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

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

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

HWG PrintHWG eBook

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

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook