Welcome To Zelo Street!

This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Thursday 25 May 2023

Conman Loses Libel Suit

Today brought the all too predictable news from the BBC: “Naturalist Chris Packham has won his libel claim against a website that alleged he misled people into donating to a tiger rescue charity. The presenter sued in the High Court over articles published on the Country Squire Magazine website”. And this website is edited by whom, exactly? As if you need to ask.

Winner: Chris Packham

It is the domain of serial shyster and con artist Dominic Wightman, who was believed to have been behind the first version of the “Traitors’ Chart”, a fabrication which momentarily conned those at the Murdoch Sun and was the basis for an article under the by-line of former non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn. The lawyers, it seems, ordered it to be pulled.

Wightman’s other scalps include then-Tory MP Patrick Mercer, who not long after that particular sting became an ex-MP. Another gullible mark was pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins. But when his online magazine went after Packham, Wightman soon discovered that he had targeted someone with the means to sue. Packham duly sued. And Packham has now won.

However, and here we encounter a seriously sized however, as I warned last year, Wightman is infamous for leaving a trail of bad debts in his wake. And the bill for legal fees is likely to be well into six figures, in addition to the £90,000 in damages awarded to Packham and against Wightman and his co-defendant. But enough: let’s see what happened at trial.

As the BBC report continues, “‘Mr Packham did not commit any acts of fraud or dishonesty,’ the judge said in his 58-page judgment … ‘Mr Packham did not lie and each of his own statements was made with a genuine belief in its truth … There was no fraud of any type committed by him in making the fundraising statements.'’’ The judge’s words for Wightman were harsher.

He and his co-defendant did not “come even close to establishing the substantial truth … Rather than approaching the task with an investigative mind, these defendants targeted Mr Packham as a person against whom they had an agenda … Any investigative journalism quickly gave way… to increasingly hyperbolic and vitriolic smearing of Mr Packham”.

Loser: Dominic Wightman (photo (c) Rob Todd)

Also, Wightman and his co-defendant “had ‘used this litigation as a device to introduce offensive material to smear Mr Packham’ … He added: ‘The tone descended into sinister threats and outright vitriol, including offensive references to Mr Packham's neurodiversity, and abuse of (solicitors) Leigh Day … These were not the product of any acts of responsible journalism’”.

Packham ended up fearing that someone believing the tirade of abuse emanating from Country Squire might rock up at his home or accost him in the street. This is alluded to by Matthew Sweet, who you can tell as he’s a doctor, who musedI’ve read materials associated with this case and the false allegations were so extreme and disgusting that the judge declined to repeat them in the summary”. He had more to say about Country Squire.

The magazine involved in this case publishes whackadoodle nonsense about the Rothschilds and Ukraine and ‘colour programming’. As a connoisseur of whackadoodle nonsense I award this a gold star”. He also unearthed something called the Workers of England Union.

Which, he concluded, was “Part of the Right Said Fred/Icke conspiracy brains trust”. And this time, the fantasy world of Dominic Wightman has met the real world and come off second best. But in his moment of victory, Chris Packham cannot rest: he has to make sure Wightman pays up. This is, after all, someone who has previously been declared bankrupt.

Maybe he’ll think twice before smearing and lying again. Just a thought.

Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by becoming a Patron on Patreon at



Anonymous said...

That’s a great result for Chris and hopefully he’ll get what’s due to him.

Anonymous said...

Henceforth, "Wrongman".

Anonymous said...

Forgot to add:

Wightman throwing a stampy tantrum at Packham's solicitors... he doubtless told them they smell, and similar witty Wildean epigrams.