Libel Case Against Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi and Jewish Voice for Labour

by Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Richard Kuper, JVL

Libel Case Against Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi and Jewish Voice for Labour

by Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Richard Kuper, JVL
Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Richard Kuper, JVL
Case Owner
We are JVL Officers being sued by John Ware over criticisms of his work
6
days to go
£63,410
pledged of £200,000 stretch target from 1,817 pledges
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Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Richard Kuper, JVL
Case Owner
We are JVL Officers being sued by John Ware over criticisms of his work
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Latest: Sept. 13, 2022

More help needed urgently to reach target funding

Defending ourselves against this libel charge has been extremely costly and it should be noted that all funds raised here before last week's settlement – just over £50 000 – had…

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John Ware, presenter of the BBC Panorama programme “Is Labour Antisemitic?” broadcast in July 2019, is suing Jewish Voice for Labour and two of its officers over their criticisms of his work.


For the past 15 months, Ware’s libel writ has been hanging over the individuals named:

  • Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, who was interviewed by Jeremy Vine on Radio 2 the day after the programme was screened
  • Richard Kuper, editor of JVL’s online blog which published reports on the subject
  • JVL as an organisation is also in the firing line, under sustained pressure because of the potentially crippling costs of defending a libel action while we are also battling on many other fronts.

We are now fundraising to cover our ongoing extensive legal costs in defending this libel case, and to ensure that we can cover the other side’s costs if necessary.

We appreciate there are many calls on your finances, but this case is very important to JVL and its supporters and we ask you to give generously. 

In the unlikely event that we raise more than we need, we will ensure that any unused funds are transferred to fund other case(s) that support JVL principles (see www.jvl.org.uk).

Please also share on all your networks. Thank you for your support.

Update 5

Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Richard Kuper, JVL

Sept. 13, 2022

More help needed urgently to reach target funding

Defending ourselves against this libel charge has been extremely costly and it should be noted that all funds raised here before last week's settlement – just over £50 000 – had already been spent, some of it on the mediation costs themselves. We have had to start again to raise the extra funds needed to settle as well as cover our own costs.

We have been gratified by the generosity of our supporters in donating towards our settlement costs, many directly through our bank account. Nevertheless we have some way to go to reach our match funding offer of £50 000 by the end of September as well as our final stretch target.

So we still need further donations now to get us through - and a reminder that any donations received before the end of September will be doubled by an anonymous donor.

We do appreciate the financial hardships that many are facing, but if you are able to donate now - in order that JVL survives to carry on our valued work - we would be very grateful. And do please share on all your networks.

Thank you.

Update 4

Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Richard Kuper, JVL

Sept. 6, 2022

Settlement has been reached

Mediation in the case brought by John Ware against Jewish Voice for Labour and two of its officers has now occurred and we can announce that terms of settlement have been agreed, including an apology from Naomi Wimborne Idrissi and JVL for defamatory statements made on the Jeremy Vine Show and included in a Facebook post which we reproduced on our website on 15 July 2019. Once a statement of apology has been read out in open court it will be put up on our website. 


We are pleased that a settlement has been agreed, allowing us to focus on the work of JVL going forward, rather than expending time, energy and money on litigation which is in neither party’s interests. However, it comes at considerable financial cost. We now need your help more than ever if JVL is to survive and continue doing the work which is so much valued within our movement. 

 

The legal costs we had to incur in order to bring about a successful settlement cannot be disclosed but are considerable and have to be paid in a very short space of time.

 

We are immensely grateful for all the contributions people have already made to support our legal defence.   Any new or further donations that you can give us now will be very gratefully received and will help ensure that JVL remains able to continue fighting for the causes that are close to our hearts.

*** YOUR DONATION WILL BE DOUBLED!***

GREAT NEWS: We have received a matching offer from a generous, anonymous donor who will match all donations up to a total of £50,000  up to the end of September! So every amount you donate NOW will be doubled in value to us - every £50 you give will give us £100! Whatever amount you can afford - big or small, ALL APPRECIATED - will be doubled ...

Please also share as widely as possible so that we can reach our target within the timeframe.

Update 3

Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Richard Kuper, JVL

Aug. 23, 2022

Will mediation result in a settlement?

A reminder that John Ware, presenter of the BBC Panorama programme “Is Labour Antisemitic?” broadcast in July 2019, is suing Jewish Voice for Labour and two of our officers over criticisms of his work:

• Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, who was interviewed by Jeremy Vine on Radio 2 the day after the programme was screened

• Richard Kuper, editor of JVL’s online blog which published reports on the subject

• JVL as an organisation 

We continue fundraising to cover our ongoing extensive legal costs in defending this libel case, and to ensure that we can cover the other side’s costs if necessary.

Meanwhile, as reported in our last update, following our application for summary judgement on the case – to have it struck out  - and attendance at a Case Costs Management hearing (CCMC) in Court in June, we are going to try mediation to see if the matter can be settled to the mutual satisfaction of all parties. We have a date for the mediation in September.

The Court requires the parties to attempt to settle rather than incurring the costs of pushing straight for trial. We have never wanted to be involved in litigation and so are happy to give this a try. 

If mediation doesn’t work then we have a hearing for our application on 7 December. All of this naturally costs money, including the costs of solicitors’ and mediator’s fees in attempting settlement.

With this in mind, we desperately need more funds to continue the fight.

We appreciate there are many calls on your finances, but this case is very important to JVL and its supporters and we ask you to give generously. 

Update 2

Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Richard Kuper, JVL

June 18, 2022

Application for Summary Judgement made

Since the last update we – and our excellent legal team - have been very busy preparing our defence case and have submitted lengthy witness statements as part of an application for summary judgement to end the entire case by Ware against us.

In October 2021 we submitted our defence of a “privileged right of reply to attack” in response to the very public attacks contained in the Panorama Programme against our members, the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn.


In our defence we stated that the Jeremy Vine programme had been broadcast on BBC Radio 2 the day after the evening broadcast of the Panorama Programme on BBC1. The relevant section commenced with Jeremy Vine presenting extracts from the Programme, which he described as “damning” of the Labour Party. These involved clips from John Ware’s interviews with four former Labour Party members, all of whom were highly critical of the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership in relation to antisemitism.


JVL were well known as being close supporters of the Corbyn leadership, with many invitations to air our opinions as Jewish members of the Labour Party on a variety of media, including the BBC, so it would have been expected that our views would have been heard as part of a ‘balanced’ programme and yet we were not invited to participate.


The Panorama programme had had extremely wide national coverage and Ms Wimborne-Idrissi was specifically invited by Vine to reply to these attacks on the Labour leadership, as a Jewish Party member and supporter of Mr Corbyn’s leadership. We maintain that she had a responsibility and interest to answer and challenge these attacks on the Jeremy Vine show.

 

Ware’s lawyers replied in January 2022 and, inevitably, rejected our defence.


Our lawyers, therefore, have now submitted an application to the court for summary judgement on the basis that the Claimant has no real prospect of overcoming the defence of reply to attack privilege, so there is no other reason for a trial. 


For this application each of us defendants (Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Richard Kuper as web editor and Jenny Manson, representing Jewish Voice for Labour Ltd) – as well as some other crucial witnesses - have submitted witness statements to the court. In these statements we provide our own Jewish and political backgrounds, we demonstrate our close contact and relationships with Jeremy Corbyn on a personal and a political level as well as detailing the number and breadth of our media appearances. With the focus that we have, one would rightly question why we were not invited to participate in the programme.  We felt strongly that we should have been able to criticise the programme on air as well as to publish our and others’ views.


Our application for summary judgement to dispose of Ware’s claim has yet to be heard and we do not yet have a date for the hearing.


A Case Costs Management hearing (CCMC) has been set for Monday 20th June.  This has required both sides to assess the likely costs for both sides – which are eye-watering. With this in mind, we desperately need more funds to continue the fight.


We are grateful for all donations received so far, but legal costs continue to mount. We are also aware of the financials pressures people may be suffering at this time. If you are able to donate, please do give generously and please share the link to this crowdfunder widely on all your social media outlets.

Thank You.


Update 1

Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Richard Kuper, JVL

Nov. 11, 2021

JVL defence has been filed with the court

In a document submitted on Monday October 25, barrister Richard Munden set out our defence against John Ware’s defamation claim.

In particular, given that the named defendants, and JVL as an organisation, were well-known supporters of Mr Corbyn, the Programme constituted a public attack on us to which we have a privileged right to reply.

The document outlines many reasons why there is no justification for the damages claimed against us.

John Ware has not suffered - or even claims to have suffered - any actual harm to his reputation. On the contrary, the Claimant’s reputation appeared enhanced as the Programme was nominated for a prestigious award at the British Academy Television and Film Awards, and he continues to have his journalism published and broadcast, including a recent high-profile Panorama programme on Martin Bashir and the Princess of Wales.

We now await a response from John Ware's legal representatives.

We are grateful for all pledges received so far but costs are mounting and much more will be needed if we are to stand a chance of winning this case on behalf of all who care about freedom of speech. Please dig deep and circulate this appeal widely.

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