Tag Archives: Murray

#LauraMurray loses #RachelRiley #libel case – but was the judgment safe?

On the face of it, this may be seen as a blow to my own chances of winning a libel case against Rachel Riley: after more than seven months’ deliberation, a High Court judge has ruled that she has won her case against former Jeremy Corbyn aide Laura Murray.

But the reasons given by Mr Justice Nicklin do not ring true to me. I reckon there may be grounds for appeal against what may be an unsafe judgment.

The judge has partly acknowledged that the case is not cut-and-dry, because he has awarded Riley only £10,000 in damages. The reasons are explained below.

The case revolved around three tweets: one by the journalist Owen Jones, one by Riley and one by Murray.

The first, published by Mr Jones, referred to an incident in which former British National Party leader Nick Griffin was attacked with an egg. Published in January 2019, it stated: “Oh: I think an egg was thrown at him actually. I think sound life advice is, if you don’t want eggs thrown at you, don’t be a Nazi. Seems fair to me.”

On March 3 that year, then-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was visiting a London mosque when he was attacked by a man wielding an egg. Later that day, Riley quote-tweeted the Owen Jones tweet, adding her comment: “Good advice” plus images of a rose (taken to indicate the Labour Party’s ‘Rose’ emblem) and an egg.

Ms Murray responded twice to Riley’s tweet. First, in a direct reply, she stated: “You are publicly encouraging violent attacks against a man who is already a target for death threats. Please think for a second about what a dangerous and unhealthy role you are now choosing to play in public life.” Riley did not respond to this, nor did she take court action over it.

Instead, she took Murray to court for libel over a second tweet which was not a reply to her own (meaning Riley’s tweet would not have been seen by people reading Murray’s). It stated: “Today Jeremy Corbyn went to his local mosque for Visit My Mosque Day, and was attacked by a Brexiteer. Rachel Riley tweets that Corbyn deserves to be violently attacked because he is a Nazi. This woman is as dangerous as she is stupid. Nobody should engage with her. Ever.”

Murray offered up three defences: Truth (that her comment was factually accurate), Honest Opinion (that the opinions she expressed were honest, based on facts) and published in the public interest (and that her belief that is was in the public interest was reasonable).

Mr Justice Nicklin rejected all three defences because Murray had not published Riley’s tweet (again) in connection with her second tweet, and had not said that her comment was only one possible interpretation of Riley’s words.

The judgment states that another possible interpretation, put forward by Riley’s followers and supporters at the time, was that Owen Jones was a hypocrite for suggesting that people with views he doesn’t like should be attacked with eggs while those with views he does like shouldn’t.

But that’s not borne out by his actual tweet, as I’ve shown above – nor by Riley’s words. She said his tweet was “Good advice”, indicating that she agrees with his premise. And the context – the fact that the tweet coincides with such an attack on Jeremy Corbyn – implies that it should be applied to him, otherwise why would she have tweeted at all?

So she was apparently saying that Corbyn has objectionable views and may therefore be a target for egg attacks.

In her evidence at trial, Riley said that she had tweeted the “Good advice” tweet “sarcastically” – but there is no indication of sarcasm in the tweet itself.

She seems to have bolted on an interpretation of her tweet, based on what her followers/supporters put forward – with no evidence to justify them having done so – in her defence.

If readers have no reason to believe that a message is not to be read as a straight statement, then it seems to me that it should not be suggested that it wasn’t one. If Riley had included </sarcasm> or a similar indication, matters would be different.

She could have used an emoji to show her intent but she didn’t.

Her tweet provides absolutely no information suggesting that she did not mean anything other than what her tweet said – that Mr Jones’s tweet was good advice that may be applied to Jeremy Corbyn.

And why would she have waited more than two months before saying that Mr Jones’s tweet was hypocritical, and in such an opaque way? I feel sure that most of us would have forgotten his comment after such a long time.

So – to me, at least – it seems unreasonable that anybody may have come to a conclusion that Riley had tweeted sarcastically or was commenting on any perceived hypocrisy by Mr Jones.

And the judgment relies on that interpretation being one to which readers may have reasonably come.

The judge states that Murray misled her readers by misinterpreting the material. But with nothing in Riley’s tweet to support her claim that she was being sarcastic, or to support any claim that it referred to hypocrisy, it is hard to justify that claim.

And with only one alternative interpretation of Riley’s tweet – whose reasonableness seems clearly questionable – it seems that Murray may have been well within her rights to put forward her own interpretation as the only one possible.

In fairness to the judge, he does point out that Riley’s tweet could have been clearer and that the fact that it isn’t suggests “provocation”.

He wrote: “There is a clear element of provocation in the Good Advice Tweet, in the sense that the Claimant must have readily appreciated that the meaning of the Good Advice Tweet … could be read as suggesting, at least, that Jeremy Corbyn deserved to be egged because of his political views.

“In the context of her own high-profile campaign against anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, the risk of the Good Advice Tweet being read in that way was obvious.

“In that respect, the Claimant can hardly be surprised – and she can hardly complain – that the Good Advice Tweet provoked the reaction it did, including the Defendant’s Tweet.”

I’m not a lawyer, but it seems to me that there are clear grounds for appeal against this judgment, because the judge did not adequately demonstrate that there was another reasonable interpretation of Riley’s tweet.

The judgment as a whole gives me a certain amount of hope for myself (as there are points that support similar elements in my case), but also serious grounds for concern. Looking at the information above, I’m sure you can appreciate my reasons.

My CrowdJustice fund is still open – and will certainly be necessary if I end up facing a similar judgment and the possibility of having to appeal (again).

Please help by doing one or several of the following:

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.

Since Riley’s court action against me started, it seems I’m not going to be allowed to have a worry-free Christmas. I had hearings in December 2019 and December last year, and while this judgment does not affect me directly, it has potential ramifications for my case.

A show of (financial) support would make a very strong statement right now.

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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Labour is so shifty it won’t commit to help anybody

Clueless: when Starmer was talking up Labour’s barely-scraped-together win in the Batley and Spen by-election, who knew that this gesture was his explanation of his policies – a shrug.

Isn’t it the job of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition Party to say what it would do if it was running the UK?

Here’s Labour’s Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury – also known as James Murray – taking nearly two minutes to avoid giving a straight answer to a straight question: whether Keir Starmer’s newly right-wing party would reinstate the £20/week Universal Credit uplift:

He said: “I’ve been really clear.. it’s really important to be clear about this.”

Then he said three times that Labour opposed the cut, but he wouldn’t say if the party would reinstate it. That’s shifty, not clear.

His problem is that Labour is now sympathetic to the miserly billionaires who store all their cash in offshore tax havens, and this means it has no tax option to fund the £6 billion/year that would be needed to make it viable.*

For the same reason, Labour can’t commit to a higher-than-inflation public sector pay rise after Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that he was ending the current pay freeze:

Weak.

It makes Labour look like the Tories poorer little sister – unable to offer even a more imaginative alternative to big brother’s failed plans.

*We all know that the UK government can use the Bank of England to create as much money as it needs, but to be responsible it must prevent inflation via tax, right? Labour’s normal policy is to redistribute the nation’s funds (all money belongs to the government via the Bank of England, remember) by taxing the rich to pay for large-scale public services, but Keir Starmer wants to change that to a Conservative approach, and this means no cash for badly-needed social changes.

See:

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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Why is the Laura Murray libel verdict taking so long? (And why it matters to me)

The High Court in London: it is now in recess, but the verdict in at least one case has yet to be handed down.

Why is the High Court taking so long to hand down the verdict in the libel case between Rachel Riley and Laura Murray?

The trial took place all the way back in May. It involved a tweet by Ms Murray in which she accused Riley of implying that Jeremy Corbyn was a Nazi, after he was attacked by an egg-wielding man at an event.

Riley had re-tweeted a message by the journalist Owen Jones (initially about a BNP leader) saying, “If you don’t want to be hit with an egg, don’t be a Nazi,” to which she had added the words, “Good advice”.

After Murray’s comment, Riley sued her for libel. And now, three months after the trial, we are still awaiting the result – impatiently, in my case.

And we may need to wait at least another two months for a verdict. The High Court’s summer ‘term’ is over and it won’t be back until October. It seems unlikely that a verdict will be handed down while judges are on holiday.

For me, though, it could be crucial. Newspaper reports have pointed out that if Riley loses that case, she may have to pay Ms Murray’s costs – possibly around half a million pounds in total.

If that happens, her insurers may raise concerns about backing her case against me – another matter which she has no guarantee of winning.

And then she would have to make a decision about whether she wants to continue pursuing me – or to try to come to a settlement. And then I would have to decide whether I want to come to terms.

At the moment, I’m not particularly keen to let bygones be bygones. This is a woman who has persecuted me for two and a half years with this vexatious court case and I think I deserve the chance to say my piece before a judge.

But my ability to do so still depends on being able to fund my defence. And interest seems to be dropping off.

A trial will cost tens of thousands of pounds – even the preparations will cost many thousands – and at the moment I have no idea when it is likely to be scheduled. If it happens early in the next High Court term then I will not have enough. Donations simply aren’t coming in fast enough.

I very much want to take this case all the way. I would like to have the funds behind me that would allow me to reject any call for a settlement.

And if Riley wins her case against Ms Murray, I need the funds to be able to fight an action against me that would have renewed vigour.

This case – and the urgency of this case – hasn’t gone away just because it is the summer.

That’s why I have to ask you today to do any or all of the following:

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.

You have backed me this far.

Please don’t let me fall at the final hurdle.

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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Was Riley ‘deliberately provocative’ in tweeting about Nazis and eggs on day of Corbyn egg attack?

The Royal Court of Justice: because This Writer can’t be bothered to put an image of Rachel Riley on This Site.

Well, what do you think?

It seems only reasonable that after plastering Rachel Riley’s point of view all over the news media on Monday, the woman she’s suing for libel – Laura Murray – should have her side of the story published to the same audience.

I found a story in The Sun. What happened to everybody else? Why did the so-called “reputable” media force me to get my details from that rag?

Still, I guess now Ms Murray knows how This Writer has felt for the last two years of my own court case involving Riley. At least these media creeps are consistent with their favouritism…

As we all learned earlier this week, Riley said it was libellous for Ms Murray to say she had implied that Jeremy Corbyn was a Nazi when, on the day Corbyn was attacked by a man wielding an egg, Riley posted a retweet of a message saying that, if people don’t want to be hit with eggs, they shouldn’t be Nazis, along with the words, “Good advice”.

Ms Murray had also written that nobody should ever engage with Riley, and it was on this that much of the Sun report concentrated:

Ms Murray told the court Ms Riley was being “deliberately provocative” by tweeting “good advice” on the day that Mr Corbyn was egged.

Giving evidence, Ms Murray said: “All the tweets that I saw were saying ‘how can you call Jeremy Corbyn a Nazi?’

“I didn’t see any saying: ‘This is a comment on hypocrisy, this is a tweet on double standards’.”

‘The way it looked to be was that it was deliberately provocative and designed to provoke a reaction from the left.

“And it was getting that reaction, lots of people were saying ‘Jeremy Corbyn’s not a Nazi, that’s not a fair comparison to make’.

“Given that many, many people were criticising Rachel Riley like this, the purpose of my tweet was to advise people, as many as would listen, ‘don’t engage with this, it’s a waste of time, no one gets anything from it, it’s a huge waste of emotional resources’.

“Owen’s [Jones] tweet had always meant to me that Nazi’s deserve to get attacked, and she repurposed that advice and applied it to Jeremy Corbyn that was most obviously the language.”

In response to claims that Riley had been exposed to a Twitter “pile-on” (they meant a dogpile but Riley’s legal team seems to have difficulty using the correct language for these things; it’s as though they don’t understand what they’re talking about), Ms Murray said she was also subjected to an “explosion of abuse and hatred”.

So Ms Murray’s side is that, seeing Riley receiving a huge amount of criticism over her ‘Nazi’ tweet, she had tried to stop people from posting such material to the celebrity game-show host.

That’s a huge contrast with Riley’s claim that Ms Murray had triggered a dogpile against her. It seems more likely that she attracted her own criticism, in This Writer’s opinion.

And it seems that if Ms Murray triggered any adverse reactions, they were directed at her, not Riley.

But then, it’s up to the judge to decide.

The report also featured comments by Riley that she had feared for the future of her TV work as a result of Ms Murray’s tweet.

That’s all interesting background but it has nothing to do with whether Riley was libelled.

That can only be decided by Mr Justice Nicklin, on the basis of what Riley tweeted, what an ordinary, right-thinking, person might be reasonably expected to have thought she meant, and whether what Ms Murray tweeted in response corresponded with that.

I’ll provide further commentary next time I see a report on this.

Source: Ex-Corbyn aide who branded Rachel Riley ‘stupid’ claims star’s tweets were ‘deliberately provocative’ in court showdown

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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‘I didn’t call Corbyn a Nazi’ says Riley. Do you believe her?

Coming up roses: Jeremy Corbyn kept smiling both before and after the ‘egg’ attack at the Muslim Welfare Centre in Finsbury Park on March 3, 2019.

What a pleasure to be writing about a court case involving Rachel Riley, that doesn’t involve me as well!

The TV parlour game-player was in the High Court today, giving evidence in her libel case against Laura Murray, a former aide of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The details of the case are laid out clearly in the Yahoo News report, here:

Ms Murray had posted [a] tweet on March 3, 2019, after an egg was thrown at Mr Corbyn, who was then the Labour leader, by a Brexit supporter when he was visiting Finsbury Park Mosque, in north London.

She had been responding to a tweet posted by Ms Riley, Mr Justice Nicklin was told.

Ms Riley had initially retweeted a January 2019 tweet by Guardian columnist Owen Jones, about an attack on former British National Party leader Nick Griffin, in which Mr Jones had said: “I think sound life advice is, if you don’t want eggs thrown at you, don’t be a Nazi.”

She had added “Good advice”, with emojis of a red rose and an egg.

Later, Ms Murray had tweeted: “Today Jeremy Corbyn went to his local mosque for Visit My Mosque Day, and was attacked by a Brexiteer.

“Rachel Riley tweets that Corbyn deserves to be violently attacked because he is a Nazi.

“This woman is as dangerous as she is stupid. Nobody should engage with her. Ever.”

The article continues:

Ms Riley was questioned by Mr McCormick.

He suggested that Ms Riley’s tweet had generated a Twitter debate around whether or not she had called Mr Corbyn a Nazi.

Ms Riley accepted that she regarded Mr Corbyn as “anti-Semitic”.

But she said she had not called Mr Corbyn a Nazi and added: “I didn’t use the word Nazi.”

In fact, Mr Justice Nicklin had already made a ruling on the meaning of Ms Murray’s words that did not include any claim that Riley had called Corbyn a Nazi.

That being said, when he reviews the case, he will see that on the day Mr Corbyn was attacked with an egg, Riley published a tweet saying people who don’t want to be attacked with eggs should not be Nazis, adding the remark “Good advice”.

Riley might have meant any number of things when she published her tweet, and she can say whatever she likes about it now. We have no way of knowing whether any of her claims about it now are accurate. That’s why the judge has to rely on the tweet as published, in the context in which it was published at the time.

His job will be to decide, not whether Riley wanted to indicate that Corbyn is a Nazi, but whether a right-thinking member of the public was likely to draw that conclusion from what she had published.

Please don’t respond to this article with your own interpretation of the tweet’s meaning (at least, not until after the judge returns his verdict).

But feel free to consider for yourself what you think Riley’s tweet meant.

The case is continuing throughout the week and should be extremely interesting to all of us.

Source: Countdown presenter’s reputation damaged by ex-Corbyn aide’s tweet, court told

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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