Tag Archives: meaning

Newspapers distort libel case to make it seem that Rachel Riley is winning. She isn’t

How sad to see that the London Evening Standard (oh, and Mail Online, although this is less surprising) is incapable of reporting a simple judgment in an ongoing libel case properly!

The High Court, in the case of Rachel Riley and Tracy-Ann Oberman v Jane Heybroek, has reached a judgment with regard to the meaning of the words that are at issue, and whether they are statements of fact or expressions of opinion.

And the Standard‘s interpretation of this judgment is arse-backwards.

“Rachel Riley and Tracy-Ann Oberman win first round of libel battle” trumpets the headline – wrongly. The judgment was neutral. Nobody has won or lost anything.

But if any advantage were gained, This Writer would say it had to have gone to Ms Heybroek.

Here are her own comments:

Note her words [italics mine]: “This was a hearing we asked for in order to narrow down the claimants’ claims and, in my opinion, we have successfully done so.”

“Significantly, the Judge has found that the first meaning… and the italicised words in the second meaning… were statements of opinion. This is a potentially crucial development because statements of opinion are afforded a defence where the basis of the opinion is indicated, and an honest person could have held the opinion on the basis of facts existing at the time.”

Reference to the judgment on the court website Bailii shows that Ms Heybroek’s representative, Mr Helme, won more points than the claimants’. Consider the Judge’s agreement with him at paragraphs 61, 63, 72, 75, 77, 79, 81 and 83; and the Judge’s disagreement with the claimants’ representative, Mr Stables, at paragraphs 58, 59, and 65.

In brief, Ms Heybroek won her arguments that the words at issue were expressions of opinion rather than statements of fact. Whether they were defamatory was never likely to be in doubt – but of course that doesn’t mean that they were libellous. If they were statements of honest opinion, and the facts on which they were based were accurate to the best of her knowledge at the time, then they were not.

And it is to be noted that these are all secondary considerations; Ms Riley and Ms Oberman’s complaint is not about an article by a third party (the matter on which this judgment is made) but about whether Ms Heybroek libelled them by retweeting a link to it. Ms Heybroek states: “Note that this ruling on meanings is without prejudice to my contention that I am not liable for publication of the article by virtue of my re-tweeting a tweet containing a hyperlink to it. That issue remains to be determined, either at trial or before.”

So it seems clear that Ms Heybroek won far more than Ms Riley or Ms Oberman. But that information seems to have zoomed right over the head of whoever reported the case to the Standard and the Mail.

Far be it from me to attribute malign intentions, but this failure of accurate reporting can have a serious harmful effect on justice.

Libel cases are hugely expensive and people like Ms Heybroek and myself – This Writer is fighting an ongoing case brought by Ms Riley, remember – cannot afford to defend against the accusations without help.

We ask sympathetic members of the public to support us with donations – but they may be discouraged from doing so, if they read or hear a report claiming that Ms Riley (and Ms Oberman, in Ms Heybroek’s case) is somehow winning.

Conversely, if they discover that such claims are false, I would hope members of the public would find their determination to support the defendants redoubled.

The expense of the hearing has put Ms Heybroek out-of-pocket. She is crowdfunding to pay for her case and if you can afford to help, her CrowdJustice site may be found here.

As for my own case – the request is the same as usual. Please:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, via my own 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.

It would be nice to see Ms Riley and/or Ms Oberman distancing themselves from the inaccurate media reports.

But, considering my own belief that they would be as happy to win their cases by starving us of funds as they would in a courtroom, I fear I may have to wait a long time for that.

Source: Rachel Riley and Tracy-Ann Oberman win first round of High Court libel battle | London Evening Standard

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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Judgement reserved on another Riley libel case: how will the media mess this one up?

The Countdown has begun: but will certain commentators be able to wait until judgement is handed down in a Riley libel case before reporting it (inaccurately)?

The High Court held a hearing on another libel case involving Rachel Riley yesterday (April 28).

This time the object of her ire was Jane Heybroek, who is facing proceedings because she tweeted a link to an article about Ms Riley,

As with Laura Murray’s recent hearing, the issue under discussion was the meaning of Ms Heybroek’s words, and whether they constituted assertions of fact or expressions of opinion.

After it took place, Ms Heybroek tweeted that Mr Justice Jay had reserved judgement after the hearing, which took place remotely.

Judgement will be delivered in two or three weeks, and Ms Heybroek made it clear that nothing may be said about that judgement until after it is handed down (that is, after it has been made public).

Depending on what the judge decides, this may come as a burden to the people who – for example – prematurely shared details of the Laura Murray judgement with the Daily Mail and the Guido Fawkes blog.

But then, those people may have their own problems anyway – as the court should be pursuing them with a view to prosecuting them for contempt.

We shall all have to see what happens in two or three weeks’ time.

The ‘meanings’ hearing on my case took place last December, of course, and the news media garbled the result to make it seem Ms Riley came out with the upper hand (she didn’t).

In fact, she had to re-write her accusation against me. I then submitted a defence to the court and Ms Riley’s lawyers are now trying to argue about it.

I take this as yet another attempt to waste the money my supporters have contributed to my CrowdJustice site. I have said many times that libel cases are highly expensive and whenever Ms Riley’s lawyers raise an issue, my own legal team have to counter it – at a cost of thousands of pounds.

I believe she never expected to have to go to court. She thought I would not be able to raise any funds to fight her accusations and that – instead of facing justice – she would be able to buy the result she wanted.

The distortions in the newspapers seem to be an attack on a second front – a propaganda war to undermine faith in people like myself, Ms Heybroek and Ms Murray.

We aren’t media darlings. We don’t have many friends in the right-wing press. We have to rely on you, and on your generosity. That’s why I always have to make this appeal:

Consider making a donation yourself, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

On Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

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

It seems some people want you to think they’re giving you the facts because the shout about them the loudest.

But you can always get accurate information here.

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: her team just made a terrible mistake

Rachel Riley is a serial litigant; besides suing me, she is also pursuing Laura Murray, who bit back at one of the Countdown co-presenter’s tweets in March last year.

Referring to the incident in which Jeremy Corbyn had been punched by an egg-wielding man in a London mosque, Ms Riley had dug up an old tweet by Owen Jones which said “If you don’t want eggs thrown at you, don’t be a Nazi. Seems fair to me.” To this, she added the comment: “Good advice.”

Ms Murray, who was working in Mr Corbyn’s Labour Party office at the time, tweeted her opinion that Ms Riley was saying Corbyn was a Nazi who deserved to be attacked violently. She added that, in her opinion, Ms Riley was a dangerous and stupid person who risked inciting unlawful violence – and nobody should engage with her in any way.

Mr Justice Nicklin, in a judgement based on paper evidence due to the coronavirus pandemic, ruled that Ms Murray had made a statement of fact when she said Riley had stated that Corbyn deserved to be attacked violently.

That’s the extent of the difference.

His statement that the words have a tendency to be defamatory isn’t a ruling that Ms Murray is guilty of libel; the defendant may say that her statement was factually accurate and back it up with evidence, and she may also provide information to support the opinions that she expressed.

Riley hasn’t won the case; this was a ruling on the meaning of Ms Murray’s words and whether they were statements of fact or expressions of opinion. There will be a trial at some point in the future.

But Ms Riley and her friends seem to have started celebrating victory prematurely.

And someone went one step further – by publicising the case prematurely.

The image above shows that the right-wing Guido Fawkes blog ran an initial piece on the ruling on April 23, albeit with no further information than a claim that Riley had won. The Mail went further, publishing at 6.21am the following:

 

But the ruling was not published by the High Court until 10am on April 24 – more than a day later.

So it seems somebody has committed contempt of court.

This was a reserved judgement. That meant that the hearing was some time ago and the judge prepared a written judgement to be handed down on April 24. Prior to handing down, the judge would have sent a draft to the parties. The rules on drafts say:

2.4 A copy of the draft judgment may be supplied, in confidence, to the parties provided that—

 (a) neither the draft judgment nor its substance is disclosed to any other person or used in the public domain; and

 (b) no action is taken (other than internally) in response to the draft judgment, before the judgment is handed down.

 2.8  Any breach of the obligations or restrictions under paragraph 2.4 or failure to take all reasonable steps under paragraph 2.6 may be treated as contempt of court.

I imagine Mr Justice Nicklin would be very keen to find out who’s been playing fast-and-loose with court rules and his judgement. And I can’t blame him.

I can’t comment on who leaked the story to the press too soon – but I will keep an eye on it.

As for people who prematurely claim a legal victory that they haven’t won … if you’re as nauseated by this as I am, then please remember that Ms Riley is attacking me in the same way she is attacking Ms Murray – and I don’t have the cash to fight her.

If I can win my case in court, then it should discourage Ms Riley and her friends – harshly – from this vile behaviour. But I can only do it with your help.

Please consider making a donation yourself, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

On Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

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

It would be bad enough if Ms Riley had won. The fact that she hasn’t, and is claiming she is, is toxic. In my opinion.

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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Date set for preliminary hearing in Riley libel case

I know judges don’t actually use gavels in UK courts. This is just a representative image.

A preliminary trial in Rachel Riley’s libel case against me is to take place on December 11.

This is the hearing to decide the meaning of the words in my article that Ms Riley claims are libellous, and whether those words were statements of fact or of honest opinion.

It is the hearing that would have taken place on October 11, if Ms Riley’s legal team had not insisted on what was, in my opinion, an ultimately-meaningless and time-wasting ‘directions’ hearing (the Judge decided in favour of the case progressing as I had previously requested).

And it is vitally important. The result of this hearing will determine how the case is heard at the full trial that may follow.

It is, therefore, crucial that I and my legal team have the funds to carry out our defence, so I am appealing to you yet again:

Follow the following instructions, if you would still like to help me win:

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site. The address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

If you’re on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

If you use other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

And if you can afford it, please consider pledging some cash yourself.

We are coming to the end, now.

I have said from the start that this is about money – that it seems clear Ms Riley wanted to buy justice by taking me to court in the belief that I would not have the funds to defend myself.

It is only because of you, and people like you, that I have managed to get this far.

And my future success – or failure – is still in your hands.

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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Project Yellowhammer – and the consequences of ‘no deal’ Brexit – explained!

“Stop Brexit!”: Even British comic legend Andy Capp has a reason to fear it.

This was on a friend’s Facebook page so I make no guarantees as to authenticity.

That said, it makes about as much sense as anything we’ve had from the Conservative government.

See what you think:

Yellowhammer summary for those who haven’t read it but want to know what it says explained by someone with a vague idea.

(Note: This is currently being called the ‘Reasonable Worst Case Planning Assumptions’ It only has that title because of Gove being caught lying about it to the select committee, and had to retract that it is, in fact, the base scenario. In many areas I’ve got business experience of, this is optimistic).

1) Most businesses aren’t ready. Big companies are likely to be more ready than smaller companies because they’ve been paying idiots like me to do so for the past months/years.

So some companies will struggle.

2) Leaving in October means also having our national inability to deal with any weather that isn’t moderate.

3) We leave around the time of half-term school holidays, which isn’t great.

4) We hope Ireland won’t cut supply of power to NI. but we can’t make them keep it going

5) Goods through Dover will drop by half. It will be slightly better in a few months. If you have family in Kent, you’ll need a helicopter to visit them at Christmas

6) If you’re going abroad (in the EU), it will take longer to get through customs. Hopefully not US Border durations.

7) Energy costs will go up, some energy companies might (will) go bankrupt.

8) We’ll have a shortage of some medicines. This also includes Vet medicines needed for animals that farmers might want to export.

9) Do you like fresh food? Shame about that. Come back in six months. Also less choice of food in general, and Christmas might be chicken in a tin.. Also we (govt) are saying we can’t assess how bad it is, despite all the unions and businesses telling us, so it’s not our fault when it’s worse than we’re saying here.

10) We think we’ll all have clean water. .Maybe a few hundred thousand people won’t. They might need bottles, or street bowsers, or rain water, rain water is good.

11) Financial Services companies might be fucked. Good job they’re not one of our biggest contributors to GDP and tax or anything.

12) International criminals and terrorists are in for a bonanza.

13) If you’re a Brit living in Europe, err, we don’t have a clue, hope the country you live in is better than us.

14) If you’re an IT company, travel company or anyone who has to send data back and forth with Europe then, err, bollocks. Not looking good. We’re not really sure.

15) Gibraltar’s fucked

16) Riots, public disorder, more homeless, people stealing bread, good job we haven’t slashed police numbers or anything, isnt it?

17) The Dartford crossing could be blocked by the traffic from Dover, which means fuel supplies in Kent, London and the SE in general might all run out. Also about 2000 job losses from refineries closing, and weeks of fuel shortages.

18) Insurance companies (that haven’t mitigated it, ahem) are going to have some problems.

19) If you’re poor, you’re going to be worse off. Actually if you’re poor, struggling, middle class or anything but rich, then you’re going to be worse off.

20) Northern Ireland is more fucked than Gibraltar. Job losses, food shortages, protests, dissident groups etc.

21) Cod Wars mark 2

22) Care homes could collapse en masse. Like, lots of them.

As you can see, nothing to worry about, certainly not all the things they also haven’t included.

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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