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Wednesday 20 May 2020

Rachel Riley Court Victory WASN’T

Once again, the impression is given that someone kindly disposed to Countdown numbers person Rachel Riley, and her pal, minor thesp Tracy Ann Oberman, has been briefing the press. That impression was formed after both Mail Online, and to its shame the Evening Standard, told their readers that Ms Riley and her pal had secured a court victory, whereas in fact they had not. There had been a “meanings hearing”. What that?
Rachel Riley ...

A meanings hearing establishes whether statements made by a defendant in a libel action can be considered defamatory. A Judge hears submissions from representatives for both plaintiff and defendant, and finds accordingly. Also, and this is important and relevant to this case, it is also established whether any or all of those statements are merely statements of opinion, which opens up a further line of defence against the action.

So let’s see what Mail Online has claimed. “Countdown star Rachel Riley and actress Tracy-Ann Oberman have won the first round of a High Court libel battle against a barrister after a judge ruled a blog link she shared on social media 'could be considered defamatory.’ Ms Riley and Ms Oberman are suing barrister Jane Heybroek after she shared a link on Twitter to a blog published in January last year”. What is this about?
... Tracy Ann Oberman ...

Ms Heybroek had not made any of the statements at issue herself. She had merely Tweeted out a reference to a blog post by Shaun Lawson, who is not being targeted by either Ms Riley or Ms Oberman. That’s right, the author of the post that has so offended them is not being pursued, and, indeed, the post remains live as I type.

Have a think about that: the person who made the assertions over which two sides’ legal representatives have been arguing is not being sued. But Ms Heybroek, and blogger Mike Sivier, most certainly are. Having just left that one there, on to Ms Heybroek’s response.
... and their lawyer Mark Lewis. Not suing Shaun Lawson

The judgment in the Meanings Hearing is out, and I'm really pleased with the outcome” she Tweeted yesterday morning. This does not sound like someone who just lost. Moreover, she has also told “This was a hearing we asked for in order to narrow down the claimants’ claims and, in my opinion, we have successfully done so”.

Were the claimants’ claims narrowed down? Well, consider this: one of the four claims, that “The Claimants routinely use their followers to abuse and intimidate others” has gone. Vanished. Can Ms Riley and Ms Oberman no longer claim that the Lawson blog post says that? Or can they no longer claim that such an assertion is libellous?
Whatever, it’s gone. Moreover, as Ms Heybroek points out, “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”.

Those two meanings are the ones where the Mail, and the Standard, have suggested that Ms Riley and Ms Oberman “won”. Sivier has pored over the judgment (see it HERE), and counted eight paragraphs at which the Judge agreed with Ms Heybroek’s representative, and three more at which he disagreed with the representative for Ms Riley.
Mr Justice Jay. And a little light reading

So this was a hearing requested by Ms Heybroek and her team, the result of which have been claimed by two media outlets to favour her opponents, while she has formed the opposite conclusion, and where a perusal of the judgment appears to bear her out.

Sadly, it seems the press is not for listening: after the Standard’s Tristan Kirk had Tweeted out the claim that Ms Riley and Ms Oberman had won, Ms Heybroek responded “Am I not entitled to a right of reply, Mr Kirk? See my tweet here. You are clearly aware of it as you have cited my CrowdJustice fund. Please amend your article. Thank you”. But, it seems, she has remained unheard. And there is one more interesting detail.
Mr Justice Jay has noted at Paragraph 4 “I regret that it has proved necessary to conduct a further remote hearing after a draft of my judgment was provided to the parties”. Why would he use the word “regret”? Did someone leak something prematurely?

There was an apparently premature leak in a previous case where Ms Riley was taking action, on that occasion against Laura Murray. And just as in the action against Ms Heybroek, someone briefed the press that Ms Riley “won the first round”.
Anyone might get the impression that the same person was behind both briefings. As Private Eye magazine might have put it, I wonder if the two are in any way related?

[Jane Heybroek is crowdfunding her defence, and you can contribute HERE. Mike Sivier is doing likewise; you can contribute HERE. Or just Tweet out those links]
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Steve Woods said...

The judge's use of the phrase "I regret that..." usually denotes that M'Lud is actually very angry indeed.

Anonymous said...

What on EARTH are you implying, Tim?

Heh heh.

grim northerner said...

Funny how the milf and the bimbo seem unconcerned about the millions of comments regarding George Soros and globalists, alongside calls to censor any media outlet that dares to criticise an increasingly anti migrant government. Are they intentionally giving succour to genuinely fascist elements, if so why?

Pavi said...

It seems like the BARMY BIMBOS are short of work from the AWI Plc* and are getting their kicks from vexatious litigation now that Corbyn has taken a back seat and Starmer et al have sold out to the BoD.
*Antisemitism (Weaponisation) Industries

Anonymous said...

Weirdly, these two particularly venal attention seekers don't appear to be AS bothered as they used to about the "antisemitism issue" inside Labour now that Corbyn has gone. Could be wrong as I dont follow their posturings but I'm not aware of any mass purge of the hoards of swivel eyed fascists that apparently took over the party a few years ago, since the expensively attired, cure for insomnia that is the multimillionaire Keir (bore a glass eye to sleep) Starmer took control of the party. Presumably the same dark forces are still in the party, so why I wonder are these two not quite as vociferous in raling against the problem on a daily basis? What's settled the mind of these rich women so much I wonder and for that matter the mind of that spiv, billionaire, Alan Sugar and the mind of the very wealthy Margaret Hodge. I have absolutely no doubt what so ever that their intentions to rid the Labour party of nutters was entirely straight up. But what has allowed these rich people to cool it so much?