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.”
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.
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