Tag Archives: Rachel

Vox Political writer to speak on resisting ‘lawfare’ at Festival of Resistance

Happy 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.

I have been asked to talk about my experience of this case at a workshop on so-called ‘lawfare’ – using the courts to damage or de-legitimise other people, wasting their time and/or money, to gain a public relations victory.

The event will be at a Festival of Resistance taking place in Nottingham on October 16 and 17. Details are here: https://resistfest.co.uk/

It seems that – as one of the few people who have chosen to defend themselves against so-called ‘SLAPP’ lawsuits (it stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) – cases intended to censor, intimidate and silence people who make perfectly reasonable and relevant contributions to political debate by burdening them with the cost of a legal defence until they have to abandon their statement…

… and I think Rachel Riley’s case against me may be defined as an example of a SLAPP case, or lawfare, or both…

… I am in an excellent position to talk about how it is possible to fight these attempts to use the law as a bullying tool.

I will not refer to details of the Riley case. It is an ongoing lawsuit and as such I may not say anything that may prejudice the result.

But I will talk about how it feels to be attacked in this way, why it is important to resist such actions, and what anybody who is put in the same position can do about it.

The bullies would like us to think that we can do nothing apart from give up – that the cost of taking part in a court case is so huge that we cannot ever possibly afford it, because we are so small, so poor and so insignificant.

But my case proves that this is not true.

I am not part of a larger organisation that has been able to fund me. I am not a celebrity in my own right, able to fund my defence from my own resources. I am a carer living on the poverty line, who happens to be a qualified journalist and who therefore writes about politics in such spare time as is available.

And I have managed to bring the case against me to a trial that my opponent almost certainly did not intend to happen, because I asked for help and thousands of people – who have no direct connection with me apart from being readers of my work or being concerned about the issues surrounding my case – answered.

I still need help to bring the case to trial, of course – these cases are phenomenally expensive. So please help by doing one or more 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.

And please come to the Festival of Resistance – if you are able.

I would very much like to meet at least some of the people who have helped me get this far.

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 trial: common sense prevails

Rachel Riley’s lawyers have relented and agreed to the trial lasting three days on the basis that – as stated in the previous update – it is a waste of time having a day in court arguing about whether or not to have a day in court.

I cannot claim that the update I posted at lunchtime today (September 9) had anything to do with the change; my solicitor sent an email informing me of it immediately after I had posted the article, which suggests that the decision happened as I was writing it.

I did not see the email until much later.

Yes, I could claim it as a victory for my side of the case, but it’s really a victory for common sense. I’m glad that the team at Patron Law agreed that there was no point in arguing about something that would not benefit anybody.

I still need funds though!

Those of you who saw the last update have responded admirably and the fund is almost £1,000 better-off as a result. The trial will cost a lot more than that, though, and the best thing to do is keep a steady stream of funds flowing, so I can build up to readiness by the time the hearings happen – probably next April.

So if you haven’t donated today, please do one or more 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.

We are now closer to getting this case behind us.

Next come disclosures – of documents that influenced our choices regarding the facts of the case. I have very little to add to what is already known to the court.

It will be very interesting to see what Ms Riley produces.

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: is her fuss over trial length the return of an old fund-draining tactic?

Rachel Riley’s lawyers are making a mountain out of a mole hill, and I have to ask whether they are doing it simply to find another way to drain the funds you have been kind enough to give me.

If so, then it raises serious questions about the possible weakness of her case against me; if she is still trying to stop this case from getting to court, she cannot expect to win in a fair trial – right?

The issue is the expected length of the trial. Riley’s legal team say it will take only two days but I reckon it will take three.

If it is listed for two days but overruns, then it will have to be completed at a later date, incurring large costs because both sets of lawyers will have to re-familiarise themselves with the details, as will the judge. And judges tend to become very angry if cases overrun because of the necessity either to rearrange other work or delay part of the case for an extended time.

If I push for three days, though, Riley’s legals could ask the court to list the matter for a “costs and case management conference” so the court can determine the trial length. This will be a waste of time and money because the hearing would discuss nothing else.

And it could result in a ruling that a three-day trial is necessary, meaning both sides pay for the third day and the extra hearing.

Or we can have a three-day trial, knowing exactly how much it will cost, and just get on with it, in accordance with my wishes. If it underruns, both Riley and I will be better-off because a shorter trial means legal fees will be lower. And the judge will be happy because it will provide time for them to prepare for other trials and/or write up other judgments.

So why are Riley’s lawyers dragging their feet?

The only reason that makes sense is that they want to waste your money – the cash you have donated to help me fight this case.

Already my funds are being drained because of the constant back-and-forth trickle of correspondence between my solicitor and Riley’s at Patron Law, whose insistence on a two-day trial could lead to huge further financial burdens.

There is only one way to discourage this form of lawfare – in which the claimant does not expect to win but to intimidate and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defence until they abandon their opposition. That is to show them that they cannot win by this underhand tactic.

So I’m going to appeal for donations again.

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.

If donations keep coming in, it will show Riley’s lawyers that they really can’t win by trying to drain my cash and that they should concentrate on their legal arguments.

If donations to my cause are generous, it will mean their tactic has backfired and they will have strengthened me with a pointless quibble. Wouldn’t that be great?

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 trial: will her lawyers waste your money by getting trial length wrong?

It seems Rachel Riley’s lawyers are sticking to their guns – they reckon the High Court will only need two days to hear her libel trial against me.

Of course, the length of the trial is within their gift, to a large extent. If they decide they don’t need a lot of time to cross-examine me, they could probably reduce the court’s time significantly.

But if they get it wrong; if they overrun and force an adjournment, with all the extra expense that entails, then they will be ramping up my costs by more than half as much again, just for a single day (there would be extra “reading-in” costs for both legal teams and for the judge, among other spending requirements, no doubt).

That would be unreasonable, so I’ve told my solicitor they only way I would not oppose their demand for a two-day trial is if Riley promises to pay all costs associated with any adjournment.

I’m willing to bet a pound to a penny that I’ll be told I can’t make such a demand, but I think it is important to stand up to people who would use money as a coercive device without a second thought.

On a more positive note, it seems that even though I cannot influence the choice of judge (I was concerned that the judge who got last year’s strike-out application wrong may then go on to hear the trial), the judiciary does tend to take a pragmatic approach and the judge in question may prefer not to hear a public interest defence she has already – wrongly – struck out.

Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to you all for pushing the CrowdJustice donations up to £170,000 by the end of August. That’s a brilliant achievement at a time when developments have been relatively slow.

I’m hoping to hit £180k by the end of September (the trial will cost a lot) so please keep donating if you can and encourage others to donate too. Here’s how:

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.

Next up is the issue of disclosure – telling the court about background documents that are relevant to the case, even if they might harm our relative sides.

I have already been up-front about the material that influenced me. I look forward to discovering whether Riley can show the same honesty.

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: will Vox Political’s Mike get a fair hearing at the trial?

Good news/bad news:

It seems I’m likely to be able to agree directions for the trial of Rachel Riley’s libel claims against me. Just about the only bone of contention is the length of time it is likely to take.

Her legal team says two days; I reckon three. It’s better to plan in too much time than to have too little and go to the expense of coming back at another date, with all the lawyers involved, including the judge, having to ‘read in’ again in order to remember what’s going on.

It might be a last gasp for Riley’s old plan to spend all the crowdfunded money you’ve provided on time-wasting side-issues. Hopefully it will be dismissed as a bad idea.

More worrying is the choice of the judge. What if Mrs Justice Collins Rice – who got the strike-out application wrong – is chosen to hear the trial?

I would have serious concerns about that.

I am told that, as defamation cases are usually heard by full-time High Court judges, I will end up with one who has already dealt with it in some way – Mr Justice Nicklin, Mr Justice Saini or Mrs Justice Collins Rice – although there are some other judges who deal with defamation.

My concern is obvious and logical: after her performance at the strike-out hearing – when her decision was wrong – I do not believe I would get a fair hearing.

Let’s face it – I didn’t get one last December.

I have passed my concerns to my own solicitor and am awaiting a response.

In the meantime, please keep your contributions coming, as and when you are able to make them. It is only with your help that I can fight this case at all. By the end, it is likely to have cost around a quarter of a million pounds to defend – and the total raised so far is still a long way from that!

Here are the instructions:

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.

Hopefully the trial will happen in the not-too-distant future, although obviously I won’t object if it is delayed while the claimant has her baby.

I’ll keep you informed of developments.

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: will this case questionnaire open up a ‘procedural quagmire’?

Rachel Riley’s case against me is moving closer to court with a demand for me to fill out a ‘directions questionnaire’.

The court will expect both sides to spend time and money budgeting and planning the case, even though both sides are likely to have much – if not all – of those aspects already worked out.

It is possible that Ms Riley’s side may be sucked into this ‘procedural quagmire’ (not my words), either unwillingly or in yet another attempt to drain my funds – the cash that you are providing for me to defend myself.

Admittedly, if she tries to string out this stage to waste my money, she is likely to waste much more of her own – but she has much more of her own money to waste and, with the evidence at trial likely to make her look very bad indeed, this may still seem a worthwhile option to her.

I have instructed my solicitor to write to her legal team, suggesting an approach that cuts out as much of the cost (and time involved) as possible. But I need to be sure that I can afford it if they disagree.

So – as you’ve probably guessed – please contribute in the way you find most appropriate:

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.

I appreciate that this may not be the most exciting update I’ve every published, but the danger is as present, and as urgent, as ever.

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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Riley libel latest: she insults anybody who has supported Mike. Does that include you?

That’s right – Rachel Riley’s latest tactic is to insult you, saying no reasonable person would come to the conclusion I reached about her.

So, if you’re among the thousands of people who have helped fund my defence against her libel claim, she’s saying you are not a reasonable person because not only did you come to that conclusion, but you have funded my defence on the basis of it.

The new revelations come in her reply to my amended defence against her.

She says a reasonable person reading the source material I say that I read (we’ll come to that shortly) would not have reached the same conclusion – but neglects to provide any explanation for the claim.

She then says that, if my research had been as thorough as I have said, I would have taken account of other tweets that should have changed my mind. What other tweets? She doesn’t say. Do such tweets exist? Well, it’s debatable.

The case is based on exchanges on Twitter, and one aspect of that platform is that conversations begin to resemble trees, branching off in different directions. I concentrated on tweets by Riley and her teenage victim – about each other and the original subject of their dialogue.

That’s the reason I didn’t pick up Riley’s admission that she believes it is possible for ‘blue-tick’ Twitter users to whip up their supporters to attack and abuse other people until this year, that she contradicted in her failed bid to strike out my defences last year; it was in a response to Owen Jones.

And those tweets support me, not her.

If she produces tweets that support her claim, she’ll have to place them in context to show their relevance, and explain why I should have been able to find them. I look forward to that evidence.

She’s also claiming that I’m lying about the tweets I did read – that I didn’t actually read them all before writing my article – on the grounds that I haven’t produced them all previously.

The reason is simple: I didn’t have to.

I did read those tweets – around 200 of them. But none of the material provided to the court so far has been evidence; it has been what’s known as pleading. A pleading is not supposed to produce all of the material that will come out in disclosure and witness evidence.

And Riley knows this – or at least, her solicitor Mark Lewis knows this, and as he is the one who signed and dated this reply (with the wrong date, I notice), perhaps we should conclude that he is the one making all these claims. Why? Is she running away?

To sum up: Riley (and/or her lawyer) is claiming that I lied and misled you – with a false claim that I did not read all the tweets I’m saying I did – before writing my article accusing her of hypocrisy.

And she’s saying that, having read the evidence I have produced, you have to be unreasonable to agree with me.

There is only one way for you to counter this insult effectively – and that is to make sure I can defeat her claim in court.

That is by no means certain at the moment. The CrowdJustice fund has just covered the cost of creating the amended defence and hefty new costs are going to start mounting up now.

So if you are as angry at Riley’s insulting attack on you as I think you should be, then please do at least one 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.

I know this case has been going on for a long time now, but it seems to me that Riley – and her lawyer – is getting desperate.

On the basis of this reply, I think that she will lose her case in court.

But the case has to get to court first.

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/


Vox Political needs your help!
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but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
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Don’t fund this fake cause – give your money to Mike instead

It seems Rachel Riley just can’t help herself.

She took to Twitter on July 16 to promote a new crowdfunding effort by the fake charity Campaign Against Antisemitism:

 

This page is also supported by Tracy-Ann Oberman and Riley’s solicitor, Mark Lewis.

Clicking on the page link – on July 16 – revealed that the aim was to raise £100,000 with which to sue a person named Sally Eason:

 

Justified? That’s not entirely for me to say. I haven’t gone deeply into Ms Eason’s affairs.

But I can say that she was mentioned by the teenage girl involved in Riley’s libel case against me, as having been hugely supportive of her while Riley and her cronies had been bullying and abusing her on Twitter, between December 2018 and January 2019.

So it seems to me that Riley is trying to attack someone who has upset her, through a third party.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism (or CAA for short) is itself a fake charity that seems to pursue individuals in public life with accusations of anti-Jewish hatred. It is odd that it would then wish to attack Ms Eason, who is Jewish.

Its focus appears to be political in nature, attacking people on the left wing of politics far more than anyone else, despite the fact that, according to statistics, anti-Semitism is far more common among right-wingers. This political bias invalidates its charitable status as Charity Commission rules state that charities must not be seen to be acting for political gain.

It mixes fake accusations with genuine cases of anti-Semitism in order to make its political attacks seem more plausible.

I state this from a position of experience – the CAA published false accusations against me, way back in 2016. You can read about it – and see my rebuttals of the false claims, in this article.

My piece, from 2017, shows that the CAA exists to raise funds for private prosecutions against people it brands as anti-Semites – so one has to question why someone called Caroline has had to launch a page on a separate site to make it possible for this to happen. Perhaps people have seen through its cover story?

Viewing the Total Giving page now, it presents a different reason for the crowdfunding, removing the name of the individual under attack and replacing it with a more generic cause:

 

I got in touch with the victim and she told me the change happened after she had contacted the site’s owners and suggested that they rethink their decision to host this funding campaign.

That’s all very well but it seems clear that she will be the first person to be sued using money gained under the pretences put forward on that page – not because of any anti-Semitism on her part, but because she supports a political view that Riley and her cronies despise, and because she provided help to a person that they attacked.

And Ms Eason won’t have access to £100,000 of crowdfunded money when the CAA launches its proceedings against her, so it seems to me that this is another attempt to buy justice – exactly as I’ve always believed Riley’s case against myself has been.

I say: don’t support this fake fundraiser at all! And tell your friends not to support it either.

Instead, tell them to support my defence against the libel case that Riley has already brought – against me.

Funding the defence of a person Riley is already persecuting via the legal system will send a clear message that she and her fellow travellers may not manipulate justice to support their political campaigns.

Here’s how you can do it:

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.

The fact that Riley is supporting another organisation’s hate campaign, rather than launching legal proceedings herself, suggests that she has less of a taste for litigation than before. Perhaps it is not going as well as she originally expected.

Your contribution could help finish off her court claims – for good.

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: she consents to Mike’s amended defence but claims he’s misleading over delays

The High Court in London: by the time Mike’s case gets there, Covid-19 restrictions will have been lifted, it seems. At least that removes one form of pressure!

Even in accepting elements of this case, Rachel Riley manages to be graceless.

Her solicitor has accepted the amendments to my defence against her libel claim – no, it doesn’t mean I’ve won; it simply means she won’t try to stop me putting forward my points at trial.

But the letter from Patron Law suggests that this is being done to prevent me from continuing “misleading his followers and supporters that our client has somehow delayed matters in order to avoid a trial of these issues”.

It is nearly two and a half years since Riley filed her libel claim against me and if I had had my way, the case would have gone to trial long ago. I haven’t caused any delays.

Even now, Riley is quibbling: she reckons I am repeating my Truth and Honest Opinion defences that were dismissed by a High Court judge. In fact, I will rely on factual evidence that was quoted in those defences, and will show how that material brought me to particular conclusions about the events of the case.

She intends to make submissions about it at the trial, which I expect a judge to hear politely before batting them away without a second thought – as has happened previously with other submissions she has made.

My opinion – to which I am entirely entitled, I remind everybody reading – is that this will be an attempt to drag out the hearings, and therefore the costs associated with them.

Even when denying that she’s trying to artificially lengthen the case, that’s exactly what Riley tries to do.

Or so it seems to me.

In practical terms, this means the case can move forward to trial – at long last!

In turn, this means I must make another appeal for funds. As I understand it, everything raised so far has been spent fighting off Riley’s previous applications – whether she accepts that they were time-wasting money-drainers or not – so in real terms, I’m back at square one.

So, please:

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.

The pressure is likely to ramp up and up from now until the end.

So far, I’ve been extremely fortunate in having your support, for which I am enormously grateful.

Now we’re coming to the last lap, the home stretch, the endgame or whatever other sporting or narrative term you wish to use for it.

I’ll have a lot of things to think about over the next few months.

Please help me make sure money isn’t one of them.

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/


Vox Political needs your help!
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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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