Help Mike Sivier fight libel claim by Rachel Riley & Tracy-Ann Oberman

by Mike Sivier

Help Mike Sivier fight libel claim by Rachel Riley & Tracy-Ann Oberman

by Mike Sivier
Mike Sivier
Case Owner
I am a news reporter with more than 25 years' experience who currently runs the influential Vox Political website. I am also a full-time carer for my disabled partner.
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Mike Sivier
Case Owner
I am a news reporter with more than 25 years' experience who currently runs the influential Vox Political website. I am also a full-time carer for my disabled partner.
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Latest: Oct. 13, 2021

Riley libel case: she can't show any losses due to Mike's article

Rachel Riley has not shown that she has suffered any financial losses at all, that she can relate to her libel claim against me. Isn't that revealing?

We are currently going through a "disclo…

Read more

Most people who know of Rachel Riley and Tracy-Ann Oberman will consider them to be minor television personalities, known for Countdown and EastEnders respectively.

But I know them as a pair of Twitter bullies who harassed and intimidated a teenage girl who suffers extreme anxiety.

Who am I?

My name is Mike Sivier. I am a news reporter of 25 years' experience, currently running a political news and opinion website after giving up my day job to become a full-time carer for my disabled partner.

I am probably best-known for exposing the thousands of unexplained deaths of people who claimed sickness benefits but were denied them after taking the Conservative government's punitive work capability assessment.

More recently I have met criticism over my interest in the misuse of accusations of anti-Semitism for political purposes. My research and articles on this matter attracted libellous articles about me in the national newspapers in early 2018.

I took all of the newspapers involved to the press regulator IPSO, and all have been forced to publish articles correcting their false claims.

What happened?

When I wrote an article about their Ms Riley and Ms Oberman's bullying of a teenage girl, they threatened to sue me for libel, claiming that they did not behave in the ways I stated and that I had caused serious damage to their reputations.

You can read my article here. Another piece with further information can be found here. As you can see, both pieces are based on actions that are directly attributable to these people.

My piece on the intimidation of the teenager provoked a huge attempt at bullying on Twitter - known as a "dogpile". You can read my report about it here.

Why is this important?

Perhaps worst of all is the fact that Ms Riley and Ms Oberman justify their behaviour by saying it is part of the fight against anti-Semitism. It is nothing of the sort.

It is vital that this cynical manipulation of the debate on anti-Semitism should be fought. Bullying a school-age young person under the pretence of fighting anti-Semitism may lead to genuine hatred of Jews - on the grounds that they are using their ethnicity to seek unfair advantage over others.

And if they get away with this, who else are they likely to victimise? Already we have seen multiple political attacks on the leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, with accusations of anti-Semitism that have been proved false. Ms Riley is a part of that - and you can read more on this element of the story here.

How much am I trying to raise?

These are well-paid, well-resourced TV personalities. They are targeting people like myself, who have little money, with the cynical intention of embroiling us in legal proceedings that will cost more than we can afford, in order to force us into giving up and paying them money they do not deserve.

I have already committed nearly £5,000 in solicitors' fees to this case. It is likely to cost much, much more. I am hoping to raise an initial £5,000 with this appeal, with a "stretch" target of £25,000, to cover the costs of retaining solicitors and a barrister who can take this case to court and put a stop to this nonsense.

At the moment my solicitors are preparing my case and would like to interview witnesses. This alone may cost several thousands of pounds. We believe we have a very strong case but we need to be able to take it to court and have it heard.

Otherwise, this case will be a victory of wealth over justice.


Image Caption:

Mike Sivier has been the victim of false accusations before - in 2018 he was accused of anti-Semitism by newspapers including The Sunday Times and it took him nearly a year to secure corrections from them.

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Update 113

Mike Sivier

Oct. 13, 2021

Riley libel case: she can't show any losses due to Mike's article

Rachel Riley has not shown that she has suffered any financial losses at all, that she can relate to her libel claim against me. Isn't that revealing?

We are currently going through a "disclosure" exercise. In my case, this means providing material that would have been available to me before I wrote the article that she considers libellous.

In hers - well, she would have provided proof of financial harm if she could, I feel sure. The court will still have to assess general harm to her reputation, although this may be difficult when taking into account the hugely deleterious effect of her own public behaviour since early 2018, when she began her career as an activist.

She lists 107 of my articles - all written after the article about which she's complaining, meaning they're not directly relevant to the case - without explaining why. My best guess is she'll be calling them aggravating factors if she wins.

Then come 235 Vox Political articles under the tag "anti-Semitism". The subject of hatred against Jews is much-discussed on my site and it was a major issue in the dialogue between Riley and a teenage girl, that forms the basis of the case. But I wonder what Riley hopes to gain  - does she think these are examples of me being anti-Semitic? If so, she's likely to have a nasty shock.

She also includes the other three articles I published on January 26, 2019. Again, I have no idea why. Perhaps she's suggesting that if I wrote these as well, I didn't have time to research the material in the article about her? If so, then - again - she's going to be in for a shock.

Then she starts listing material in general terms - Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and CrowdJustice updates. I have instructed my solicitor to seek clarification of exactly what material this may be. I'm particularly interested in the Reddit material because I do not have an account with that platform!

On Twitter, she seems to have focused on my announcement that I had won my appeal against her strike-out application, on May 14 this year - and the subsequent messages of congratulation from former MP Chris Williamson, Jackie Walker, and former Canary Editor-in-Chief Kerry-Anne Mendoza. These are all people who have been tarred with the "anti-Semite" brush by Riley and others, so I suspect she will be trying to suggest guilt through association.

It's a long list - even when abbreviated so that I have to seek clarification of it.

And it is weak.

Without being able to show that my article has harmed her, Riley's position is severely weakened. My evidence will show that I had good reason to write my article, and that it addresses several issues of public interest. Her case is in trouble.

Of course, none of that will count at all if I can't get the matter to court.

So please, if you want to see me win...

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've said all along that this case is about buying justice; if Riley can afford a trial and I can't, then I will lose automatically.

But if I can afford the trial, the situation may well be reversed. And we'd all like to see that - wouldn't we?

Update 112

Mike Sivier

Sept. 30, 2021

Riley libel: there's only one way to beat these online bullies

A nasty incident occurred while I was discussing the Labour Party conference on Twitter earlier this week.

An online supporter of Rachel Riley butted into the thread to threaten me, although it might not seem obvious from his words:

He was implying that, when I am defeated in court by Rachel Riley, the cost will be so much that I will have to sell my house to pay it off - or give it to Riley.

People like him have been saying it since early 2019 when I was first threatened with litigation.

One one level it is a completely false threat because I rent, but that doesn't stop them.

My response, as you can see, was to throw it back in his face; I'm more likely to win than she is, and her costs would be equally high.

On another level, of course, it is psychological intimidation. I could lose the case, and if I do, I will not have the wherewithal to pay a huge combined costs and damages bill.

And I still have to get the case into court. At the moment, even that is looking decidedly dicey as donations have plummetted.

It is the easiest way for Riley to win, of course - for me to be unable to defend myself because I cannot afford to pay my legal team.

I need around £60,000 more than I have, if I'm to be in a comfortable position - and although I'm not expecting the trial to happen until next spring, that time will creep up on us surprisingly fast.

And in September the crowdfund increased by £2,000. A good figure! But not enough if that trend continues.

If I can't fund my defence at trial, everything we have achieved so far will be for nothing.

I know you don't want that.

And I certainly don't think you want that odious Twitter troll to have the last laugh!

So, please, if you can afford 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.

I know it's a lot to ask, especially as this case is now well into its third year. But this is a fight for justice, against those who think they can buy it because they have more money.

I can't change the system so I'm hoping that we can change their minds.

Update 111

Mike Sivier

Sept. 17, 2021

Mike to speak on resisting 'lawfare' at Festival of Resistance

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.

Update 110

Mike Sivier

Sept. 9, 2021

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.

Update 109

Mike Sivier

Sept. 9, 2021

Riley libel: is fuss over trial length a 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?


Update 108

Mike Sivier

Sept. 1, 2021

Will Riley's lawyers waste your money by getting libel 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.

Update 107

Mike Sivier

Aug. 25, 2021

Riley libel: will I 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.

Update 106

Mike Sivier

Aug. 13, 2021

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.


Update 105

Mike Sivier

Aug. 7, 2021

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

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.

Update 104

Mike Sivier

July 30, 2021

Riley libel latest: she insults anybody who has supported me

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.

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 libel suit.

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; 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.

Update 103

Mike Sivier

July 17, 2021

Don't fund this fake cause - give your money to me 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.

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.

*I don't think for a moment that readers of this article would support it. Others in the wider world might be more persuadable, though - and it is for them that the headline is intended.

Update 102

Mike Sivier

June 16, 2021

Riley's money-grasping forces new call to fund Mike's libel defence

If Rachel Riley hadn't insisted on grabbing cash from me after she lost her bid to strike out my defences against her libel claim, I wouldn't have to make this appeal.

I've just had a note from my solicitor to say that, after she had more than £3,600 from me to pay for the costs of her failed application, I'll need around £2,000 to pay for work to finalise the new defence I shall be putting before the High Court in the near future - if Riley doesn't launch another vexatious attempt to waste our time and cash.

It will be very strong indeed.

The public interest defence focuses on why I thought publishing my article was in the public interest, and on the information that persuaded me that I had good reason to put it before the public.

I have always been very confident about these elements of my defence - and I feel more confident than ever, after spending the last few weeks working on it.

There have been strange upsets during this time - involving delays in getting information to my legal team. For an unknown reason, my email software failed to send text and image documents across, on three occasions. I don't know why this happened - it certainly wasn't because the files were too big; they were well within the limits of the email platform.

That slowed us down and, as a result, I may need to request an extension of the deadline for submitting the new defence. I mention this to make it clear that it is due to logistical problems; there is no problem at all with the arguments I will be making.

Looking forward, the trial itself is likely to cost another large amount of money so it would be welcome if the fund received a boost beyond its immediate needs. The future is uncertain; while we all may enjoy an increased income if lockdown restrictions really are finally lifted in the middle of next month, I cannot count on that to ensure that I can continue paying for this case.

I should also remind you that this has always been about the ability of rich celebrities to buy justice; Riley's costs demand shows that she still doesn't want this to go to trial and will do anything she can to drain my funds.

So please continue to do all you can to foil her - by the usual methods:

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.

While it may have seemed as though the last few weeks have been pleasantly quiet, there's a lot going on that could affect the case, both positively and negatively. It is therefore vital that I continue to demonstrate the financial wherewithal to go on.

I will, of course, keep you updated.

Update 101

Mike Sivier

May 28, 2021

Money-grubbing millionaire: Riley grabs cash from Mike after LOSING libel appeal

The Court of Appeal has ordered me to pay £3,628 to Rachel Riley after she lost the appeal in her libel case - because it reckons she ran up more costs in presenting her failed case than I did in winning mine.

In fairness, it could be said that she won two-thirds of her application to strike out all my defences (because two of them remain struck out). But the starting-point for the appeal is that I won it outright, because the third of those defences was the only thing that took up all of the court's time.

I had done the chivalrous thing: suggested that we should simply write off all our costs and move on.

But it seems Riley wasn't happy with that. The millionaire was determined to wrench some money from the poverty-line blogger, any way she could manage.

The strategy seems clear: she still wants to run down my funds to make it impossible for me to take my own case to a trial - despite two years in which you have shown that you won't allow her to achieve that.

Of course, I could choose not to pay. But then, it seems likely that she would call in the bailiffs while seeking an order from the court that my defence should be struck out unless I pay. I would have to spend more money than the costs order itself if I wanted to resist those moves.

It isn't worth it, so I have instructed my solicitor to let her have the cash, if she's that desperate for it. It's still less than half the £7,500 she wanted earlier in the week.

The timing is unfortunate - I put it no stronger than that - because I am facing an expensive month.

My amended defence must go before the High Court on June 23, and this will take up an unavoidable amount of my legal team's time. I don't know how much this will cost.

So I have to return to my regular appeal. If you can spare 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.

It would have been nice to be able to tell you that I had received money from Riley, but the size of the costs bill she submitted for the High Court hearing (inflated because it came from a price list that, in my opinion, was not relevant) made that impossible.

Once again, those of us who are poor have to try to accommodate the selfishness of those who are very rich.

Update 100

Mike Sivier

May 25, 2021

After I won my libel appeal, Rachel Riley wants me to pay HER costs

That's not a typo in the header.

You may recall that, when I reported that I had won my appeal against the striking-out of my 'public interest' defence against Rachel Riley's libel claim, I said the awarding of costs had yet to be determined, but I would be happy to see my win at appeal and Riley's two-thirds win on the application (she did manage to strike out two of my defences) cancel each other out.

Riley has other ideas, it seems.

I have learned that Riley has rejected that proposal without engaging with the details. She says that, because she did not argue against the public interest defence in the High Court, she should not forfeit any costs for losing on that issue at appeal.

But the High Court’s costs order reflected the fact that the High Court struck out all three aspects of my defence.

Now, having restored the public interest defence, I could argue that I won in the High Court; Riley tried to destroy my entire defence but my defence survived. 

As for the appeal, Riley is trying to say that I only succeeded in relation to one-third of the appeal because two aspects did not receive permission. This is a false argument.

The starting-point under the rules is that I succeeded and so I am entitled to my costs. Also, the vast majority of my lawyers' time and all of the court’s time was spent on the successful aspect.

It gets worse: Riley then says that my Counsel was too expensive having regard to the amount of work involved, which is bizarre. My Counsel charged less than hers, who is more junior and had much less work.

The practical upshot of this is that Riley wants me to pay her £7,500 of your money.

She won't get a single coin if I can help it.

Because Riley has taken this unreasonable position I will now argue not only that the result of the appeal means she should pay costs money to me, but may also ask the court to impose an indemnity order - penalty costs.

I am entitled to take this step but had not intended to do so. If the court awards me the extra cash, then she should know she has brought it on herself.

But it's your money I'm using to make these arguments, and I would appreciate your approval for this course of action.

If you agree that I should go ahead as I have described, then please signal your support in the usual manner:

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.

It really is a squalid way for Riley to behave, after losing the appeal.

We know she doesn't need the money, so I think there's only one obvious conclusion.

She is still trying to drag the case out as long as possible, to drain my funds and prevent me from giving evidence in a trial that she knows she won't win. Let's make sure she can't.

Update 99

Mike Sivier

May 16, 2021

Will Rachel Riley use her Appeal Court drubbing to play the victim (AGAIN)?

What a reaction to This Writer's Court of Appeal victory over Rachel Riley!

After a tribunal of judges reinstated my "public interest" defence, it meant the case could go to trial - and the public got behind that idea in a big way.

From Friday afternoon onwards, my Twitter feed has been full of messages of support - thousands of them - offering me support and voicing the authors' opinions about Ms Riley and her lawsuit. Here are a few examples:

https://twitter.com/YagudMiriam/status/1393315712857526272

https://twitter.com/Anxybansh/status/1393271100319076353

https://twitter.com/shaunjlawson/status/1393238136763858947

https://twitter.com/HEvzWhu/status/1393255113586745347

https://twitter.com/Derrywan1976/status/1393222998673575936

https://twitter.com/StevenW69808657/status/1393244798732144642

https://twitter.com/Shambles151/status/1393200754647785483

https://twitter.com/Rajeev_OneWorld/status/1393690907128602628

As you can see, a significant proportion of the responses are, at the very least, highly critical of Rachel Riley.

Back when the appeal hearing took place, she also received a high volume of criticism and, only the day after, her husband Pasha Kovalev was in the Mirror saying that it could harm the health of their second child:

Countdown star Rachel, 35, has suffered vile anti-Semitic abuse and told the Mirror this week how trolls have “become part of my daily life”.

Yesterday her name was a trending topic on Twitter, swamped with negative messages.

She has previously told how she became “very stressed and upset” over such abuse while pregnant with first child Maven, now 16 months, adding: “My baby stopped wriggling for a couple of days.”

At the time she blocked trolls, deciding engaging online was “not worth the hormones”.

But now, as the couple expect their second baby in autumn, Pasha is calling out the “acidity” of social media platforms as he fears the same happening again.

There certainly are trolls out there. I have suffered the attentions of some of them, among the mountain of praise I've had over the last couple of days. I'm sure Riley has received a number of messages that go beyond reasonable criticism and I certainly do not condone such behaviour. I never have.

But for the sake of clarity, and with no prejudice against Mr Kovalev (whose work on Strictly Come Dancing was much enjoyed by me, and who I understand also does a lot for charity): if Rachel Riley is experiencing the health issues described by the Mirror, as a result of tweets expressing critical opinions in the light of my case, my view is that that has been her choice.

As far as I'm aware, nobody forced her to behave in objectionable ways on Twitter, to such a degree that people have responded harshly in return.

Nobody forced her to sue me.

And nobody is forcing her to persist with her case against me.

As it seems clear that she is pushing ahead with it, then she has made a decision that will attract criticism, and she is perfectly aware of that.

So, in my opinion, if her child's health is in any way endangered because of her emotional reaction to critical tweets about her court case against me, then that is her responsibility and nobody else's.

Now, it seems, we are being asked to sympathise with her over the costs she has incurred. I read in some of our favourite right-wing papers this weekend that Riley's legal bill could exceed £1 million:

Leading defamation lawyer Mark Stephens said Ms Riley is likely to have spent up to £70,000 in her fight so far.

Mr Stephens... added that the star could ultimately spend more than £1million on the case and said a full-scale libel trial 'as an absolute floor is £500,000'.

He added: 'If she wins she will get some costs back but she has lost this round so she will have to pay Mike Sivier's costs and his barrister for the appeal which will be [£15,000] - £20,000.'

I think he's more or less right about the "absolute floor" cost of the trial. My own costs are creeping up to the £200,000 mark and I know that her lawyers are charging much more than mine (although they appear to be supported by insurance, while I must rely on crowdfunding).

If her legal team is more expensive, then it seems unlikely that she has spent only £70,000 so far. Her legals tried to bill me £27,000 for the strike-out application alone (we objected to this, and my win on Friday is likely to have changed the argument on costs considerably).

But it seems odd to seek public sympathy over the amount she is having to spend. She is a millionaire, by all accounts. I am a carer, writing Vox Political in order to make enough money to scrape a living. Without the support I have received from thousands of people via the CrowdJustice fund, I would not have been able to fight her lawsuit.

And I do still believe that her intention all along was never to go as far as a trial. I think she expected to be able to bankrupt me, solely with the threat of an enormously expensive trial.

So articles like that in the Mail, that seem to be asking for public sympathy over the costs a millionaire is facing in suing a relatively penniless carer... well, they lack credibility, I think.

I am still relatively penniless, by the way. I'm not likely to receive any costs payout for winning the appeal because Riley still won much of the strike-out application, and my income declined sharply during the Covid-19 crisis and is only beginning to pick up again now.

You are therefore - as ever - invited to continue donating to my appeal, if and when you can afford 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.

I don't have armies of reporters in the right-wing media, lining up to provide supportive puff pieces for me.

But the reaction I've had this weekend shows I do have the support of thousands upon thousands of people.

As the poem states: we are many; they are few.

And while they may be able to shout louder, and get more attention, they don't have good arguments. We do.

Update 98

Mike Sivier

May 14, 2021

Joy for Mike as he wins libel appeal against Rachel Riley

The Court of Appeal has handed down its judgment on my appeal against the striking-out of my "public interest" defence against Rachel Riley's libel claim against me - and I have won.

You may recall that I appealed after a High Court judge struck out my defence without testing it in any meaningful way. Riley's legal team responded to my appeal with an entirely new set of arguments which the Court of Appeal ruled were not only impermissible - they should not have been introduced at appeal - but were also wrong.

My article, over which Riley launched her libel case against me, alleged that she was a hypocrite because she complained about social media abuse against her, while her own tweets had led to abuse and threats against a teenage girl with mental health issues.

The judgment by Lord Justice Warby (and agreed by Lord Justice Henderson and Dame Victoria Sharp, President of the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court), included some very sharp comments [boldings mine], and let's start with the big one:

"In my judgment, it is plainly arguable, at the very least, that the Article was about matters of public interest. Indeed, it seems to me to be barely arguable that it was not."

This statement alone - it seems to me - will make it very difficult for Riley to prove that my article was not in the public interest when the case finally comes to trial.

Lord Justice Warby stated:

"[Two] of the grounds relied on in the Respondent’s Notice are entirely new points. So too is the additional contention that we should reject Mr Sivier’s pleaded case that he believed publication to be in the public interest. I would decline Mr Stables’ [Rachel Riley's barrister] invitation to uphold the Judge’s decision on any of these additional or alternative grounds. These are not just points on which the Judge did not rely. None of them were argued before the Judge, in any form. We do not usually allow entirely new points to be taken on appeal. It is often procedurally unfair to do so, and normally wrong because appeals are by way of review not re-hearing. Ordinarily the place for arguments to be given their first run-out is the court of first instance. Any appeal would then be a first appeal. For those reasons I would be averse to upholding the Judge’s decision on any of these additional or alternative bases. But I would also reject these points on their merits. The Defence pleads all three of the essential ingredients of the public interest defence. Although it is imperfect in some respects it is not so deficient as to justify its summary striking out on any of these grounds."

On the imperfections of my defence: this was a strike-out application, for which legal teams are discouraged from providing every aspect of their evidence in meticulous detail. The fact that my team have been criticised because they didn't provide enough suggests that this is a matter for debate among those who work in the court system.

Lord Justice Warby continued:

"A major theme of the Article was the charge of hypocrisy. Mr Sivier was contrasting what Ms Riley had said to millions via the news media (Channel 4 News, The Times, and The Guardian) with her own public behaviour in front of hundreds of thousands on Twitter. Mr Sivier was suggesting that her public statements deprecating online abuse were at odds with her own conduct."

He said:

"As for Mr Sivier’s pleaded contention that he believed that publication was in the public interest, I am not persuaded that we should take the exceptional course of rejecting it on the papers. It is a rare case in which it is possible to find, on an interim application, that a party cannot have held a state of mind which they have asserted. The Court will be very cautious before rejecting such an assertion without hearing or even reading evidence on the point. Particular caution is required in this Court, when there is no first instance decision on the issue, and the reason for that is that the Court of first instance was not invited to make such a decision."

And he concluded:

"The appropriate time and place for an evaluation of these issues is at a trial."

The judgment as a whole appears to be highly critical of Riley's Counsel, Mr Stables. It also points out errors by the High Court judge, Mrs Justice Collins Rice.

So, you may ask: what's next?

The simple answer is: the trial (at long last).

My legal team and I will have to do a bit of work to ensure that the areas in which the Court of Appeal found my defence lacking are strengthened; I do not expect this to be particularly difficult.

I am also - again - calling for donations. While there is likely to be a costs order against Riley for the money I had to spend on my appeal, it is true that she won several aspects of her strike-out application, and it is likely that those amounts will cancel each other out - so I cannot rely on receiving a cheque from her to help me carry on, pleasant though such an outcome would be.

After more than two years of this, I'm sure you all know the drill:

Please - and only if you can afford 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.

I could not have taken the case this far without your help. You have been utterly invaluable and I cannot overstress my gratitude.

I'm seeing a huge amount of congratulations for me on Twitter and it is a joy to behold - but I would not be getting any of it without you.

Now let's see this through to the end. A job part-done isn't done at all, so let's get on and win this at trial!

Update 97

Mike Sivier

May 13, 2021

Court of Appeal to hand down judgment in Riley v Sivier: 2pm, May 14

The Court of Appeal will hand down its judgment on my appeal against the striking out of my "public interest" defence against Rachel Riley's libel accusation at 2pm on May 14.

At the time of writing, that's tomorrow. By the time you read this, it may be today.

This is extremely short notice. At the time of writing (again), I do not know whether the Court of Appeal wishes my legal team to attend the hearing. I won't be able to, in any event.

Usually, a hearing like this is simply a mention whereby the Court of Appeal says that it has handed down its judgment.

But it is sometimes necessary to give further directions - for example, the court might find in my favour on the basis that the High Court did not address the strike out application correctly and send it back to the High Court to re-hear the application.

I hope that is reasonably unlikely – either the court will decide that my public interest defence is too weak and no amount of re-hearing will make any difference, or that it is so fact-specific that we need to get on with the trial.

I will be hoping for the latter.

Alternatively, if I win, there might then be a debate about how the High Court’s costs order should reflect the fact that both I and Riley won certain aspects.

The timing of this is interesting. Is it just coincidence that it is happening at the same time as the hearing of Riley's case against Laura Murray is coming to an end?

I wonder what Riley will do if she loses both this appeal and that other case.

Update 96

Mike Sivier

May 5, 2021

Confused by the Riley libel appeal? Here's what it all meant

I wrote this for my Vox Political website and didn't add it here because it isn't direct fundraising. However, it is relevant, and has a lot of information relevant to last week's court hearing, so I have decided to present it here after all.

It is now eight days since the hearing, that was screened on YouTube and is still available for anybody to see (more than 3,500 people have, making it one of the most popular hearings the Court of Appeal has screened recently)... and at the time of writing I have yet to see even a draft decision.

I hope that, when it finally arrives, its quality reflects the length of the wait.

Here's the article:

I was just looking at viewing figures for the Court of Appeal on YouTube.

The case before mine came in at 156; the one after, 67.

Riley v Sivier: 3,400.

How nice to be popular!

But I wonder how many of those were repeat views by people trying to understand what was going on. The suited and bewigged inhabitants of Court 70 seemed to be arguing about things to which the casual viewer wasn't privy.

This article is an attempt to address that.

So for a start, let's look at my grounds for appeal.

One of my defences was that I had published my article about Rachel Riley and the teenage girl with anxiety issues who suffered sustained abuse on the social media for daring to criticise the TV parlour game-player because it was a matter of public interest.

According to the Defamation Act 2013, it is a defence to an action for defamation for the defendant to show that— (a) the statement complained of was, or formed part of, a statement on a matter of public interest; and (b) the defendant reasonably believed that publishing the statement complained of was in the public interest.

In determining whether the defendant has shown this, the court must have regard to all the circumstances of the case, and must make such allowance for editorial judgement as it considers appropriate.

For the avoidance of doubt, this defence may be relied upon, irrespective of whether the statement complained of is a statement of fact or a statement of opinion.

So the task for our justice system was to determine three issues:

i) was the statement complained of, or did it form part of, a statement on a matter of public interest?

If so,

ii) did the defendant (that's me) believe that publishing the statement complained of was in the public interest?

If so,

iii) was that belief reasonable?

The first and third issues are objective - it either was or wasn't, depending on whether it meets the relevant criteria. The second issue is subjective - it's about what I believed at the time I published the article.

In respect of the second and third issues, the truth or falsity of the allegation complained of by Rachel Riley is irrelevant. The defence can apply to an untrue statement (or in this case, a statement for which insufficient evidence was provided to the strike-out hearing to establish that it was true).

My public interest defence was separate from, and in addition to my other defences, which were that my statements were true and that they were statements of honest opinion.

The judge at the strike-out hearing, Mrs Justice Collins Rice, struck out my truth defence on the grounds that I was unable to provide a tweet by Rachel Riley declaring that she was a bully and that she published the tweets mentioned in my article in order to cause a teenage girl with mental health issues to suffer an enormous amount of abuse.

She then struck out my honest opinion defence on the grounds that I could not have an honest opinion about statements that were not true.

Her finishing touch was to strike out my public interest defence on the basis of a false submission by Rachel Riley that it must fail as a consequence of the truth defence being struck out.

Here's what Riley said, in paragraph 71 of her strike-out application:

“71. Similarly the defence brought under s.4 DEA 2013 cannot have been reasonably believed if the facts relied on in the truth defence are incapable of supporting a plea of truth."

This was a clear error of law.

Riley’s counsel accepted in oral submissions (that's during the strike-out hearing itself) that this statement was wrong.

Riley's case concerning my public interest defence was otherwise undeveloped and did not occupy the court’s time.

Nevertheless the judge, in her judgment, seemed to have swallowed Riley's submissions whole and did not address any of the requirements of the defence.

She did not address the contents of my actual pleading (what I said).

In fact, she showed no evidence that she had given my public interest defence any due consideration at all.

Not only that, but the conditions in which my truth defence was judged - which had been laid down by a different judge, Mr Justice Nicklin - had nothing to do with the public interest defence.

Mrs Justice Collins Rice appeared - although we cannot be sure because her judgment was so vague that she did not even provide the reasons on which it was made - to have proceeded on the assumption that "the statement complained of" in a public interest defence against the allegations against me was the same as the single meaning of the words complained of, as found by Mr Justice Nicklin. Not true; "the statement complained of" refers to the actual words that I published. There's a difference!

And, by the way, I pointed out that there was a difference, through my own representative, at the strike-out hearing. She couldn't even say she hadn't been told.

If she had considered my defence as pleaded - as she was bound by law to do - it would have been readily apparent that she had no power to strike it out, because it is unsuitable for such an action. "The court must have regard to all the circumstances of the case" - so it is impossible to determine whether it was reasonable for me to believe that publishing my article was in the public interest without hearing any actual evidence from me.

I'll come back to this, because there's an assumption here that my article is dishonest - and I take the greatest offence to anyone - High Court judge or whoever - bandying about such a claim without even showing any evidence for it.

Furthermore, the public interest defence is a developing area of the law. Mr Justice Nicklin (remember him?) said, “In an area of law which is developing, and where its boundaries are drawn incrementally on the basis of decided cases, it is not normally appropriate summarily to dispose of the claim or defence.

"In such areas, development of the law should proceed on the basis of actual facts found at trial and not on the basis of hypothetical facts assumed to be true on an application to strike out.”

Are we clear, so far? The strike-out application did not provide any admissible grounds for my public interest defence to be struck out, and the judge made an error in law by doing it.

So, in her response to my appeal, Riley put forward a completely new case that was longer than the whole of her previous application to strike out all of my defences. Not allowed!

So in my appeal, I submitted that Riley should not be permitted to advance her new case, on the following grounds:

Whilst a respondent may provide “reasons different from or additional to those given by the lower court” it does not extend to mounting an entirely new case, unheralded in that lower court. It is confined to “reasons” which were open to the lower court, but which it did not rely on. In order for these reasons to have been open to the lower court, they had to have formed part of the respondent’s case. And these hadn't.

It was incumbent on Riley to bring forward the entirety of her case in her original application. As a matter of procedural fairness it is objectionable for her to withhold the entirety of her application until my appeal.

This was addressed in the appeal hearing when my Counsel pointed out that the proper place for Riley to bring forward her new arguments was the High Court, and in not doing so, she had deprived me of the opportunity to consider and respond to them there - putting me (and contributors to my CrowdJustice fund) to the extra expense of an appeal court hearing that could otherwise have been prevented.

My public interest defence cannot be determined in the absence of my evidence as to my belief that publishing the statement complained of was in the public interest. Concerning as it does my subjective belief, this is an in inherently fact-sensitive inquiry. In the absence of a clear case that the defence is bound to fail - which this is not - it is not amenable to summary determination (in other words, strike-out by a judge on the basis of barristers' arguments rather than on the basis of evidence).

Possibly the most important point is that my appeal had to be on a "pure point of law". By the same token, Riley should not be permitted to raise a new case in the Court of Appeal because it is not a "pure point of law".

So, having failed to put forward a permissible argument in the High Court, Riley had no right to make an entirely new and separate case against me in the Court of Appeal.

That said, I still had to show that her new arguments were wrong, so let's look at them.

She claimed that the statements I made were not on a matter of public interest because:

It discloses no grounds capable of giving rise to a reasonable belief by me that publishing the statement complained of was in the public interest. Further or alternatively:

The particulars of the defence are deficient such that the pleaded defence stands to be struck out as being likely to obstruct the fair disposal of proceedings.

I responded without prejudice as follows, to Riley's new case:

My defence (the original document, written in early 2020) pleads four matters of public interest addressed in the Article:

  • Online bullying and harassment including death threats; I highlighted the online bullying and harassment including death threats to which C has been exposed, as well as Rose.
  • The power of an adult celebrity compared to the relative powerlessness of a vulnerable child suffering anxiety.
  • Mental health; this point is connected with that of Riley's power in comparison with that of her teenage victim, emphasising that the girl is a vulnerable person, quite apart from the fact that she was a child at the time of the events to which my article referred.
  • Anti-Semitism.

Riley's contention is that none of the last three matters “is the focus or purpose of the article. None of these topics is examined in the article or forms any material part of it”. This is demonstrably wrong . Amazingly, she even made a general assertion to the effect that they aren't even matters of public interest - although she did not provide overt arguments.

In respect of “Online bullying and harassment including death threats”, Riley does say that this is not a matter of public interest. This is a curious position for at least three reasons:

i) The article explains that Riley herself is the victim of such bullying, harassment and threats, as reported in a national newspaper. The first portion of the article is specifically concerned with The Guardian’s reportage and includes Riley’s own words.

ii) The article then sets up a counter-narrative by addressing the online bullying and harassment including death threats, suffered by the teenager. This remains a matter of public interest not least as it again concerns Riley, albeit as perpetrator, not victim.

iii) In terms of wider context, it is indisputable that online bullying and harassment is not just a matter of public interest, but pressing public interest - consider the recent Online Harms White Paper and Law Commission consultation on reform of communications offences (as I did, in my written submissions).

On the claim that I could not reasonably believe that my article was on matters of public interest, I had the following to say:

Riley was proceeding from a false premise - a limited selection of the tweets that formed the basis of my article. The full facts were not considered by the High Court. The judge excluded relevant tweets showing that the teenage victim was trying to retreat from the debate (and from the abuse she was receiving) - but Riley kept dragging her back to it, culminating in a thread on December 18 in which she said:

"I'm not finding Rachel Riley to be a nice person at all. I said I wanted to move on from this debate and end it, then she tweets me about retracting my comments after I said I stand by my opinion but will always listen to others.

"She said that she isn't singling me out but all she has done has encouraged an onslaught onto me. I tried to be respectful and mature to her by saying I understood her stance but she's just thrown it in my face.

"I may be sixteen but that doesn't automatically make me an idiot. I will not sit here and let her dictate what I say and how I feel. I do not feel threatened by you, Rachel and I would have hoped you could have listened to everyone else's opinions instead of just your own."

According to Mrs Justice Collins Rice, the dialogue between Riley and this girl was entirely civilised and respectful until the teenage changed her attitude in January (nearly a month after this thread was published). The judge expressed the belief that other people had persuaded the girl to change her stance but this is clearly untrue.

No consideration is given to tweets by anybody other than Riley and her teenage victim.

In addition, the Twitter accounts of various third party followers of Riley’s, including their tweets, had since been deleted.

Riley does not challenge my belief in the public interest in publishing my article, whether in terms providing a counter-narrative to the Channel 4 News broadcast, The Times article, The Guardian article and her own widely-published tweets, or in highlighting perceived hypocrisy in her own treatment of the teenager or her record on anti-Semitism. These are not addressed.

These omissions are significant, as I will explain in his evidence at trial - should I ever get to provide it! I will demonstrate that:

a) The version of events presented in the mainstream media appeared incomplete. Riley was reported as being targeted by Labour supporters but the reportage did not detail how Riley had engaged with and attacked those same Labour supporters with whom she disagreed.

b) Primary sources in the form of the tweets of Riley, Tracy-Ann Oberman and the teenager were available and I checked them. Riley and Oberman are blue-tick Twitter celebrities whose tweets could be attributed to them (the blue tick on Twitter means the account is only used by the celebrity claiming ownership of it). I considered Rose’s tweets and the bullying narrative they conveyed (including those in which she specifically implicated Riley). I saw the abusive messages to which the girl had been subjected by Riley’s followers and noted the intensity and unpleasantness of the campaign waged against her and her father by Oberman, who had tagged Riley into her tweets. Oberman’s campaign coincided with Riley’s own tweets about Rose.

c) In my judgement this was a matter of public interest. It was not a minor Twitter spat. A child, who faced mental health challenges, reported being subject to online abuse culminating in death threats which had extended to attacks upon her parents. This was as a result of the conduct of adult celebrities whose power was wholly disproportionate to that of the child. The protections afforded to those adult celebrities were also disproportionate, Riley receiving extra security in her role as a television presenter whereas no protections were available to the child. There was a wider context to the hypocrisy alleged against Riley, given her record concerning anti-Semitism.

d) Riley's story was prominent in national broadcast and print media and had been publicised on Twitter to her 600,000-plus followers. By contrast, the girl’s story had a much narrower audience. I sought to draw the public’s attention to both stories in parallel, highlighting a counter-narrative which in his judgement was of public interest.

e) I published urgently - at my earliest opportunity - in order to challenge the narrative in the mainstream media most recently conveyed in newspaper articles that morning. I am an experienced journalist. The decisions I made with regard to the article were in the exercise of my editorial judgement.

This is only a summary of the evidence I will give. But it serves to illustrate that my reasonable belief is unsuitable for summary determination by any judge in the absence of actually hearing my evidence.

Nevertheless, Riley squarely challenged the honesty of my belief that publishing the statement was in the public interest. To say, as my Counsel did, that "This is objectionable" is a devastating understatement. I take deep offence to unevidenced claims that I am a liar and of course no judge should ever support unevidenced claims made in a courtroom. Case law must be about facts, not fanciful tittle-tattle from the top of a TV game show girl's head.

Put another way: “dishonesty must be specifically alleged and sufficiently particularised” and “The purpose of giving particulars is to allow the defendant to know the case he has to meet” - Sofer v Swissindependent Trustees SA [2020] EWCA Civ 699 per Arnold LJ at paras 23(1) and 24(1). That's your actual case law.

According to the Defamation Act, when considering a public interest defence, “the court must make such allowance for editorial judgement as it considers appropriate”. Riley did not address my editorial judgement as described in my defence. Instead, she simply asserted that “the article as a whole was not on a matter of public interest”. This assertion is untenable.

That is the gist of what I said in my written submissions to the court, and what Riley's Counsel (and the judges, at times) tried to argue against.

When the judges announced they were retiring, after the evidence had been heard on Tuesday (April 27), I thought they were going to come out with a verdict straight away - that they had already made up their minds.

It was a huge surprise when they said they were reserving judgment and would submit it in written form in the future. On the day I tweeted that this may be because - as the public interest defence is a new area of law - they need to consider the possible repercussions of any decision in either direction.

As time stretches on, I don't mind admitting that there have been discussions about whether the judges are trying to find an excuse for a verdict against me.

If that happens - well, you've seen the arguments. You can see that they are all on my side.

And it's only a short hop to the Supreme Court.

[ENDS]

As I mentioned above, there was no appeal for funds attached to this piece.

That said, if my appeal does end up going to the Supreme Court, more cash will be required.

So - if, and only if, you feel so inclined, please by all means feel free to continue supporting the CrowdJustice fund in the following ways:

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'll keep you informed of new developments - as and when I am legally permitted to do so.

Update 95

Mike Sivier

April 26, 2021

Riley appeal hearing: at last, the details!

The April 27 appeal hearing has been listed at “not before 10.30”, so it would be sensible to have the YouTube link open by 10.30am.

This is the link:

https://www.judiciary.uk/you-and-the-judiciary/going-to-court/court-of-appeal-home/the-court-of-appeal-civil-division-live-streaming-of-court-hearings/

We also know the identity of the judges! They are:

1.      Dame Victoria Sharp: the President of the Queen’s Bench Division. I understand that Sharp is quite experienced in these sorts of cases. Hopefully, she will be slow to allow a public interest defence to be struck out when that defence expressly depends on a reasonable belief which has yet to be articulated in my own words, let alone tested at court.

2.      Lord Justice Launcelot Henderson. Henderson is an incredibly intelligent and academic commercial judge. Hopefully, this works in my favour because the technical analysis of a public interest defence should require the court to hear and test my evidence.

3.      Lord Justice Mark Warby. He is a highly specialised defamation lawyer.

In theory, I have good reason to feel optimistic. However: it is impossible to guess the outcome based on the identity of the judges.

The appeal will stand or fall on the basis of the legal arguments.

I am heartened that my solicitor thinks we have put forward a compelling argument - and that the High Court’s judgment is a dangerous precedent for other public interest defences.

How will it all resolve itself?

Tune in and find out.

Update 94

Mike Sivier

April 23, 2021

Riley libel appeal is to be livestreamed - so the world can watch it

There have been developments.

The Court of Appeal has decided to proceed with an "in person" hearing of my appeal against Rachel Riley's bid to strike out my defence - but on the basis that the proceedings will also be live streamed rather than conducted as a hybrid hearing, as I requested.

This is less than ideal for me because it means there will be a delay before I see what is happening. I won't be attending in person but will be watching the live stream.

But it is excellent news for you because anyone will be able to watch the livestream of the hearing, and the recording will remain available on YouTube - in perpetuity, as I understand it, afterwards.

This means the integrity of all participants is on the line because - whatever the outcome, the analysis of Rachel Riley's engagement with a vulnerable teenager who suffered very strong anxiety will be available for all the world to watch.

My team will be doing everything possible to expose the failings of the case put forward by Riley's team.

I will publicise the link to the hearing when it becomes available. I am obliged to remind you that it is illegal to make any recordings of proceedings at the hearing - although, considering it will be available on YouTube anyway, why would you want to?

I'm also obliged to remind you of the various ways you can donate to the CrowdJustice fund:

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 still can't tell you the time of the hearing next Tuesday (April 27).

Be assured that I will pass it on as soon as I know.

Update 93

Mike Sivier

April 22, 2021

Appeal hearing is APRIL 27 - but we don't know the time or venue

Less than a week before This Writer's hearing in the Court of Appeal, I regret I cannot say whether it will be an "in person" hearing or one that may be viewed remotely on the internet. I don't even know what time it is likely to start!

My legal team had believed the hearing would be "remote", and received notification yesterday that this was the case. But it seems the same letter also stated that the court was minded to re-list the case - for the same day - as an "in-person" hearing instead.

There are good reasons for attending the hearing in person. It is easier for Counsel to properly judge and pitch submissions when one is in the same room as the judge. That is even more the case with the Court of Appeal where there are three judges. It is also easier to really engage judges in a debate in person. 

However, the Court of Appeal has decided that the hearing should last no longer than two hours - despite Rachel Riley's team having filed an 80-paragraph response to my appeal, despite having given only one paragraph to this aspect of the case in their strike-out application last December. It was the responsibility of Riley's team to ask for more time but they have chosen not to do so. In these circumstances, it seems likely that, if the hearing is listed to start in the morning and "in person", the judges may allow it to run on - and I am advised that this is more likely to benefit Riley than me. That does not strike me as being fair.

There are also difficulties relating to my own ability to attend. I don't have a car at the moment - it failed its MOT a couple of weeks ago and has been in the garage, being repaired, ever since. This makes travel to London  from Mid Wales extremely difficult - I would have to catch a train to Bristol and stay there overnight (at a time when staying with people outside of one's 'bubble' is still forbidden) before catching a further train to London. This would also necessitate considerable unnecessary expense.

Then there are the issues relating to Covid-19, which haven't gone away just because many of us have had a first dose of a vaccine. My concerns about carrying the virus back to my ill and disabled partner (I'm her carer, remember) remain valid - and also the court's own social distancing rules mean it will be practically impossible to discuss the case with my legal team before the hearing. We would not be able to hold them in private, would have to sit a long way apart and would be wearing masks, meaning we would have to shout at each other to be heard - in a public place. That is not a good idea.

And while my solicitor would find it easier to pass on instructions to Counsel if they were both in the courtroom, his own travel expenses are likely to add more than £2,000 to my costs. Having just spent a month raising £20,000 at very short notice, we all agree that this is undesirable.

So I have suggested to the court that a "hybrid" hearing should take place, with Counsel present in court and the rest of us tuning in via the internet. This runs the risk of the court demanding that the hearing be either wholly remote or wholly in person, but it strikes me that I'll be no worse-off for having suggested it. If it transpires that I can find no way to attend, at least my reasons will be clear.

And of course, Rachel Riley has never attended a single hearing in this case, so it should not be held against me.

I'm not begging for cash this time - this update is purely for information. The CrowdJustice campaign is likely to need more at some point, though, so if you are inclined to donate, the methods are the same as always:

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 will provide further updates when the situation becomes clearer.

Update 92

Mike Sivier

April 12, 2021

Can you give just a little more so Mike can defeat Riley in court?

You've done the impossible - nearly.

When I appealed for you to help me raise £20,000 that I need to fund my appeal against Rachel Riley's libel case, I honestly thought it was too much to ask.

But in nearly three weeks you have raised most of the cash!

As I write this, the fund stands around £3,000 short of the target. It's a staggering achievement.

But this is an all-or-nothing situation. Either I make the full £20,000 and fund my legal team to appear at the hearing, or it doesn't happen.

I know you want me to succeed.

I also know that, last time I wrote an update, you donated £3,000 within as many hours.

I know, as well, that you all have other pressures on your money and I hate having to come back and ask you again.

But if I don't, Rachel Riley will win the case and all the fundraising will have been for nothing.

None of us want that. So please - and only if you can afford 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.

Let's get the fundraising part of this behind us so I can concentrate on winning this case.

Because I can win it. All I have to do is have my day in court.

Update 91

Mike Sivier

April 1, 2021

Defence against Riley libel claim could fail for lack of funds. Don't let it!

My defence against Rachel Riley's claim that I libelled her is in danger of failing - not because I cannot beat hear legal arguments but because I don't have the funds for the next court hearing.

At the time of writing, despite heroic efforts by hundreds of supporters that have brought in more than £11,000 of the £20,000 that my legal team told me (two weeks ago) that I needed... well, I'm sure you can do the mathematics. We still need nearly £9,000.

I know that some funders are getting tired of putting money into a campaign that seems to be going on forever. I've seen messages attached to donations from people saying this contribution will be their last - and I understand. Everybody has their own life to live and I'm grateful for the difference they have made.

But it will all come to nothing if Riley is allowed to buy justice, simply by having forced me into a situation where I couldn't raise enough cash to get back into court. All the cash raised so far - more than £138,000 in total - will have been for nothing.

I can't let that happen uncontested.

I don't want to let down everybody who has funded my case so far. Indeed, if we hit the target, I'm positive that I will be able to win my appeal against Riley's ridiculous strike-out of my defence.

Then I'll be able to take the case back to the High Court and win.

But we need to hit that target. Please help. 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.

The last three of these requests - asking you to encourage friends and other contacts to donate - is just as important as the request for you to donate cash yourself. The more people know about this case, the more likely I am to succeed.

We have come a very long way together - it is now more than two years since Riley's legal team initially contacted me with a threat of court action unless I paid her a ridiculous amount of money that I didn't have (and still don't).

Help me see this through to victory.

Update 90

Mike Sivier

March 24, 2021

The clock is ticking- again. Can we raise enough to take Mike's appeal to court?

What a great response! After my appeal last week, supporters like you have donated nearly £8,000 to the CrowdJustice fund. But it's still less than half of what I need.

I reported last week that the Court of Appeal has listed my appeal against the High Court's decision to strike out my defence against Rachel Riley's libel claim against me - to take place over just two hours on April 27.

After the court announced the tight schedule, Riley's legal team submitted their skeleton argument against my appeal, totalling 80 paragraphs, mostly consisting of new pleadings that were not in the original strike-out application - which was shorter.

It is this new document that is forcing my own team to do much more work - and that, in turn is why I need so much money.

Riley's people could have asked the court to re-list the hearing to allow more time but they didn't. It seems clear that they hope the extra work they have created - and the short timescale in which it needs to be done - will cost more than I can raise.

In other words, Riley is still trying to make justice too expensive.

I think everybody on her side knows that, if my case gets into court, hers is finished. Despite having initiated the litigation, they have done everything they could since Day One to prevent me from getting into a witness box and saying my piece.

That is how we got to be here, with £12,000 left to raise and little more than a month to go.

It can be done.

We managed it before, when I needed cash simply to be able to launch an appeal.

But I can never take your support for granted.

That's why I have to beg, yet again, for your kindness.

If you haven't donated to the current drive yet, or if you are able to donate more, then 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.

A month can seem like a long time. But time has a habit of slipping away from us.

Please help foil this dreadful bid to price me out of justice.

Update 89

Mike Sivier

March 19, 2021

Mike's appeal against Riley libel action is in danger due to court SCHEDULING

I have to raise around £20,000 within a month or my lawyers will not be able to prepare my appeal properly before it goes before the court on April 27.

That was the stark fact my solicitor put before me in a lengthy email yesterday evening.

The sudden push for funding has happened because the Court of Appeal has scheduled my case on an "expedited" basis, meaning the hearing will take place at its convenience rather than that of either party.

It has allowed only two hours for the appeal to be heard - one hour for me, one for Riley - but the arguments she has submitted amount to a completely new case against me.

My solicitor tells me he initially thought that two hours was "tight but workable" - until he saw Riley’s skeleton argument.

She is really running a whole new strike out application deploying legal arguments that she did not deploy before.

She is entitled to raise new arguments that support the High Court's decision to strike out my defence, it seems - but normally this would involve putting the case she had already made in a new way rather than presenting the course with a completely new case.

And because it is a new argument, her legal team at Patron Law would be expected to challenge the Court of Appeal's time estimate. But they have not.

As matters stand, this means my own team now - suddenly - need to an enormous amount of work in a very short time. Indeed, the court ordered yesterday (March 18) that my legal team had to submit its legal paperwork and any revision of our own skeleton argument by March 16 - two days previously. As this is impossible it means my team has had to scramble to try to obtain a revised timetable.

On top of all this (or rather, underlying it - because this was what we expected to have to do), because my case relies on a defence that is not extensively defined, the Court of Appeal may wish to refine or restate the law on the "public interest" defence and my legal team needs to be prepared to guide it.

Given the lack of time provided by the court, it is possible that I will be faced with one of several unwelcome decisions. It could decide that Riley is running a new case and if so, it could grant my appeal but send the matter back to the High Court and I would have to try to raise even more funds to fight the new allegations. It could dismiss my appeal, simply to draw a line under the matter (although this would be an unusual and, in my opinion, unjust outcome). It could say it wants more time and adjourn for a further hearing, possibly far in the future, meaning I would have to try to raise more funds because my legal team would have to carry out their preparation work again. Or it might make do with the current time estimate and either tell the lawyers to pick their best points or cut them off after an hour each, no matter what they were saying.

Given the above, my point of view is that I'm being asked to beg you - my funders - for £20,000 in very short order, to fund a hearing that is unlikely to have adequate time for all the issues to be aired and may either be cut short (which seems to me to be against the interests of justice) or either adjourned or postponed to what may be a much later date, incurring equal or greater costs.

Given those options, I have told my solicitor that I think it would be reasonable to remind the court that my resources are extremely limited in comparison to those of a Claimant who has effectively put an entirely new case before us all but has failed to request extra time for it to be discussed, and that I believe it would be in the interests of justice to vacate the hearing to a date when all the issues can be given the proper weight.

Whatever happens, you can see that the underlying tactic by Riley's legal team is still to drain my funds, so I won't have enough to defend myself.

If the appeal happens with a short, two-hour hearing, then I will have been forced to try to raise a large amount of money in a tiny period of time, which is unfair on my funders (meaning you).

If I manage that, but the case is sent back to the High Court because it involves new arguments, or is adjourned to a later date to allow more time, then I will have to ask you for even more money - which is again unfair on you.

It seems clear to me that Mark Lewis and his team at Patron Law know perfectly well what they are doing. They could have requested an adjournment to allow the longer hearing that they know their new case deserves, but they deliberately chose not to. I think that was to put pressure on you - my funders - to put you off helping me.

So I find myself in the awful position of having to ask you to support me with anything you can, as soon as you can - and to urge anybody you know, who might still by sympathetic to justice, to do the same - knowing that I am asking a lot and you may run out of patience.

And I have to do this, knowing that I may have to ask you for even more, possibly very soon after the April 27 hearing.

By now you are probably tired of reading the instruction, but I have to repeat them. Please:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, 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 CrowdJustice site.

It is a diabolical situation and I am sure that Patron Law - and Rachel Riley - intended it.

Riley has tried to use her huge wealth to buy justice in this case, ever since she started her case against me nearly two years ago.

With your help, I have come a long way. My public interest defence has a very high chance of success, if I can bring it to a trial.

I think that is why Riley and her people are trying so hard to make this appeal unaffordable for me.

As I say, I have asked my own lawyers to request a postponement that will allow all the necessary work to happen, provide enough court time for all the arguments to be properly aired, and allow me to raise the funds necessary for all of it.

But I must proceed on the basis that this will not happen and a very short, two-hour appeal will happen on April 27.

Please help me ensure that, if that is what must happen, I can not only bring my case to the court, but also bring my best case.

Update 88

Mike Sivier

March 17, 2021

Libel victory shows it IS possible for a social media journalist to beat a celeb

No, I haven't (yet) won my case against Rachel Riley, sadly. But Ash Sarkar's victory against Julie Burchill shows that it is possible for writers and broadcasters on the social media, like her and myself, to beat much better-funded celebrities if the evidence supports us.

Of course, Ms Sarkar was the claimant in her own case, while I am the defendant. I do wonder how much difference that may have made to a judge's assumptions.

And her case hasn't lasted very long - only a little more than three months, which suggests that the facts were more clear-cut, certainly, than those of my own case have been made out to be.

Here's Ms Burchill's statement:

On 13th December 2020 I made statements concerning Ash Sarkar in response to her comment on an article by my friend Rod Liddle. I alleged that Ms Sarkar worshipped the Prophet Muhammad, that she worshipped a paedophile (referring to the Prophet Muhammad), that she was an Islamist, and that she was a hypocrite (the allegations).

Although it was not my intention, I accept that my statements were defamatory of Ms Sarkar and caused her very substantial distress. I wish to make clear on the record that I do not believe, have never believed and never intended to make any allegation that Ms Sarkar is a promoter, supporter and/or sympathiser of Islamists or fundamentalist terrorism or to suggest that Ms Sarkar condones paedophilia in any way. I also now understand that it is blasphemy for a Muslim to worship Prophet Muhammad and I had no basis for stating that Ms Sarkar does so. I accept that there is no truth in any of these allegations, and I recognise that such comment play into Islamophobic tropes and did so in this case.

I also accept that I was wrong to continue to tweet to and about her after that date. I should not have sent these tweets, some of which included racist and misogynist comments regarding Ms Sarkar's appearance and her sex life. I was also wrong to have "liked" other posts on Facebook and Twitter about her which were offensive, including one which called for her to kill herself, and another which speculated whether she had been a victim of FGM. I regret that I did not pay much attention to them at the time. On reflection, I accept that these "liked" posts included callous and degrading comments about Ms Sarkar and I should not have liked them. I can confirm that I have deleted all my posts and tweets and likes about Ms Sarkar.

I have also now seen messages that were sent to Ms Sarkar following my posts about her which are abhorrent, and I wish to make clear that I do not condone any such messages. I did not know when I published my posts that Ms Sarkar had previously received death threats and other violent threats and abuse, some of which emanated from a far-right conspiracy theory circulated about Ms Sarkar during summer 2020, of which I had not been aware.

I deeply regret having reacted in the way I did. I accept that I should have behaved better. On reflection, I accept that I misjudged the situation, and made statements that simply are not true, which I now want to put right. I also wish to make clear that I accept that Ms Sarkar did not call for my publisher to break ties with me and bears no responsibility for this.

I unreservedly and unconditionally apologise for the hurtful and unacceptable statements I made to and about Ms Sarkar, particularly those concerning her religion and Prophet Muhammad. I have undertaken not to repeat the allegations or any similar allegations about her, undertaken not to engage in any course of conduct amounting to harassment of Ms Sarkar, and undertaken not to contact her directly other than for legal reasons.

I have also agreed to pay substantial damages to Ms Sarkar for the distress I caused and her legal costs.

Ms Sarkar's victory has received support on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/latentexistence/status/1371754994119155712

She commented on it herself, as follows:

https://twitter.com/AyoCaesar/status/1371748576108408835

https://twitter.com/AyoCaesar/status/1371750215812845574

https://twitter.com/AyoCaesar/status/1371751219723636740

She also published an article in The Guardian, part of which states:

Some of the worst abuse I’ve received is either from journalists or the direct consequence of their actions in spreading misinformation about me.

The parallels with my own case, in which Rachel Riley has portrayed herself as the victim of an unreasonable libel perpetrated by me, should be clear to anybody familiar with it.

In fact, the teenage girl Riley exposed to abuse could very easily have written similar words to Ms Sarkar: "Some of the worst abuse I've received is either from celebrities or the direct consequence of their actions in spreading misinformation about me."

Riley responded to a girl's criticism of her for mischaracterising Owen Jones (and Jeremy Corbyn) as anti-Semitic by presenting the girl as a supporter of anti-Semitism (by being a supporter of Corbyn and his Labour Party).

While she did not directly call on her followers to dogpile the girl (nor did I suggest that she did in the article for which she is suing me), several dogpiles resulted from the series of Twitter threads she wrote about that girl, and this abuse was a direct result of Riley's decision to publish them.

This can be proved with the answer to a simple question: would this girl have received this abuse if Riley had not published tweets about her? The answer can only be a resounding no.

I published my article, back in 2019, on the basis that it is in the public interest for people to understand the patterns of abuse on the social media; how they happen and who should take responsibility.

Julie Burchill has taken responsibility for the vile abuse that she caused, either directly or indirectly.

Rachel Riley seeks to take huge amounts of money from me by denying having done so, even though many of her actions were exactly the same.

I am not rich. It has always seemed to me that the intention has been to financially ruin me by forcing me to participate in a costly court exercise that I could not afford.

I have been fortunate enough to be able to fend her off for nearly two years with support from thousands of members of the public who have seen the evidence (it is still on Twitter) and drawn their own conclusions.

I am currently being forced to appeal against a High Court decision to strike out my defences against her accusation, because the decision to strike out my defence of publication in the public interest was clearly unsafe - as you can see from the information I have provided, above.

This means I am being forced to spend more money that would be better spent on a trial. Riley doesn't care. It means I have less money for that purpose and makes her more likely to win by default.

If, having read the details of the abuse Ash Sarkar suffered and the comparison with my own case, you are willing to help me, you are heartily invited to join the thousands who have already supported my case by contributing to my CrowdJustice fund. Please:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, 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 CrowdJustice site.

As I understand it, the Court of Appeal is planning to hear mine on an expedited basis - that is, at a time that suits the court rather than one that is convenient to either or both of the parties involved. This could take place at any time between April 15 and the end of May.

That means there is very little time to raise the thousands more that are needed.

Update 87

Mike Sivier

March 5, 2021

Riley libel case: court suggests mediation but both sides reject it

The Court of Appeal has been in touch to ask whether it would be possible for Rachel Riley and I to solve our differences via mediation.

I heard about it shortly after reading a comment on the social media that the justice system is creaking under the weight of its caseload, so my immediate thought was that this was an attempt to clear the books.

My second thought was to check how much it would cost: something like £950 plus VAT. Is that a reasonable use of the money that you have sent me?

Finally, I considered the facts of the matter:

As a reporter, I am always open to the idea of mediation at the appropriate time. Everybody in my profession knows that we can get stories wrong - because we don't have a particular piece of information or because an act was presented to us in a particular light, or for any other reason.

That's why we listen to complaints about stories, investigate them if necessary, and make alterations. It's why newspapers have a "corrections and clarifications" column.

Rachel Riley had the opportunity to make a complaint about my article after it was published in January 2019 but she did not. Her solicitor, Mark Lewis, contacted me publicly on Twitter with a threat of litigation that I refused to take seriously because it was made inappropriately. He did not provide any details of factual inaccuracies. Without such details, either from Riley or Lewis, I could not go back and check. I had been given no reason to.

When Lewis's law firm Patron Law sent me notice that it was to pursue legal action on behalf of both Riley and Tracy-Ann Oberman in March 2019, the letters included copies of the pre-action protocol on defamation which mentions mediation. As this had been sent by Riley's solicitor, I expected to be contacted with a request for mediation to take place but, again, I heard nothing.

I would have been happy to discuss Riley's issues with her at any of those times. It seems extremely late to do it now. What would it achieve? We're at a point where she has forced me to raise and spend an eighth of a million pounds fighting what I very much consider to be a false claim against me - is she likely to pay that money back? I don't think so. My name has been smeared left, right and centre across the national news media and the social media as well. Even if she offered to make reparations for that, how could she possibly achieve it? Mud always sticks.

For those reasons - and I'm sure you could think of more - I think mediation this far along the process is a waste of time. If the other side has something worthwhile to say, though, I will still be happy to consider it.

I understand the other side has communicated with my legal team to say that, while we may not agree on much, they feel sure we agree that there is no point in mediation. So it seems that is settled.

In the meantime, it seems that we are still in this for the long haul - and that means I need funds. Please:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, 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 CrowdJustice site.

Remember: I have no idea when my appeal is likely to be brought before the court.

Please help me ensure I am ready for it.

Update 86

Mike Sivier

March 1, 2021

Riley libel case: she responds to my appeal

That is to say that Rachel Riley's lawyer, Mark Lewis, has responded. Whether Riley herself pays any attention to what's going on or has anything to do with it is debatable.

Whoever turns out to be responsible, they are apparently trying to introduce new reasons why the judge should have struck out my public interest defence.

It seems her side is trying to argue that, given the truth defence has been struck out, I cannot rely on the facts in the truth defence as part of the public interest defence.

That would be to approach the issue backwards – I can continue to rely on the assertions I make in my defence, simply not that they are evidence of truth. And remember that the truth under discussion is a very narrow one.

Riley's side did not make any of these points in the original strike out application and did not even target the public interest defence other than as part of a general effort to strike out the lot, so it will be interesting to see how far she gets with this.

Her legal team intends to provide a skeleton argument within the next 14 days and we will know more about the thinking behind this response then.

In the meantime, please continue to contribute to the CrowdJustice fund when you can the details are the same as always. Please:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, 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 CrowdJustice site.

I don't know what skulduggery to expect, but experience tells me to expect it.

So please help me make sure I can afford to fight it when it comes.


Update 85

Mike Sivier

Feb. 26, 2021

Riley libel case: Mike's appeal may be heard before end of May

The Court of Appeal may schedule a hearing on the Rachel Riley libel case before May 28, after a judge said it should be treated with some urgency.

The case is in a "listings window" that lasts all the way up to November 10 - which is a long wait - so the direction is probably to be welcomed, if I can make sure I have all my arguments ready by then.

As stated in a previous update, the court has approved my application to appeal against the High Court's decision to strike out my defence against Riley's accusation of libel - but only with regard to my defence that I published my article in the public interest.

The next step is for Riley to file a respondent's notice and skeleton argument - an optional procedure that allows her to claim that Mrs Justice Collins Rice, in the High Court, could have decided to strike out this defence on the basis of other reasons than those she gave.

It seems the alternative is to argue that the decision she provided on January 20 was correct.

She will make her arguments known in due course. In the meantime, my job is still to make sure that the defence is properly funded. Please:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, 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 CrowdJustice site.

Having won a temporary reprieve, I cannot afford to be complacent.

The focus may be on legal arguments, but Riley can still price me out of justice if I fail to produce the required legal fees.

Update 84

Mike Sivier

Feb. 23, 2021

Game on! Court grants Mike permission to appeal in Riley libel case

The Court of Appeal has granted me permission to appeal against an order striking out my defence against Rachel Riley's libel claim against me.

Firstly I must thank all of the readers and contributors who supported my crowdfunding campaign. You made this happen and without your generosity I would have had no way to defend myself against an aggressive attack.

Secondly: the court is allowing me to appeal on only one element of my defence - that publication of my article was on a matter of public interest. This is the end of the line for my defences of truth and honest opinion.

I can now reveal that I never held out much hope for my 'truth' defence. The High Court has made it clear that it would not entertain such a defence unless I was able to produce a tweet from Rachel Riley in which she declared herself to be a bully and demanded that all her followers should pile abuse and harassment on a teenage girl.

That simply isn't a realistic expectation. It doesn't mean the girl did not receive abuse, and discussion of the manner in which it came to her is certainly a matter of public interest.

I am sorry to see that the court doesn't think I can defend the publication of my honest opinions. The Defamation Act allows me to rely on any fact that existed at the time my statement was published, and I had plenty of material available to me that would have allowed me to support my beliefs. Sadly, the court won't hear it - at least in this context.

It is wholly possible to win the case on a 'public interest' defence. I have established a host of reasons why it was in the public interest for me to publish my article - and I am sure you can think of a few yourself, just off the top of your head.

I will not be making those arguments in the Court of Appeal. I will simply be putting forward reasons why I should be allowed to do so.

And I don't need to do anything at all until Riley lodges what's called a "respondent's notice" and her skeleton argument against me.

All underlying proceedings are suspended while the appeal process takes place and while the court order does not mention it, the High Court costs order must also be suspended as it will be subject to alteration if I win the appeal.

And I can win the appeal.

And I can then go on to win the case.

Sadly, it will cost more money to get that far but - joyfully, if I win - Riley will have to pay it all back.

Therefore I repeat my request for funds. Please:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, 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 CrowdJustice site.

I don't know how long we have to wait for the court to hear my appeal. This means I don't know how soon I will need to provide payment for it.

But I will keep you informed, as ever, of all new developments.

Update 83

Mike Sivier

Feb. 8, 2021

Will website boss sue Riley over anti-Semitism 'ringleader' tweet?

This is relevant to Rachel Riley's court case against me because of her ever-changing attitude to whether Twitter users can influence their followers into attacking others.

Riley claimed, in her pleadings to the High Court when she applied to strike out my defence against her libel accusations, that Twitter users cannot be held responsible for the behaviour of their followers.

She meant that if one (or indeed one thousand) of her followers had taken it upon themselves to hurl abuse at a teenage girl after Riley had made misleading claims about her, then she could not possibly be held responsible for that.

The judge agreed, making this the official position according to UK law - at least until the forthcoming Online Harms legislation criminalises the use of Twitter to influence others in exactly that way, as it is expected to do.

Now consider Riley's tweet about Novara Media founder Aaron Bastani (above). He had become a focus of media attention after it was alleged that he quit the Labour Party in advance of a possible suspension and investigation for reasons undisclosed. It later transpired that he had quit sometime last year to ensure that his work as a journalist could not be compromised by political interference from Labour.

Riley's comment suggests that Bastani uses his social media platforms - including Twitter - to "inflate or lead an illicit or illegal activity" (that's the dictionary definition of a ringleader).

In other words, it seems she was saying that Bastani was responsible for using Twitter to whip up his followers into supporting anti-Semitism. She provided no evidence to support this.

Bastani has said he is consulting his lawyers on a possible response through the courts. At first this was reported as action against the websites that reported on his departure from Labour but he has clarified that he is considering action against Riley herself.

If he examines Twitter, he should find evidence to help him in a thread by Riley on December 15, 2018 - just as she was getting involved in the events that were the basis for my article about her, and therefore her lawsuit against me.

In it, she accused Owen Jones of the same - or at least similar - behaviour, putting forward the view that celebrities - so-called "blue tick" Twitter users - could use their popularity on the social media to "inspire" their Twitter followers into a "frenzy" and then set them to "attack" others, using Twitter as the platform for their attack.

So in December 2020, Riley said (through her lawyers) that this was not possible, but in February 2021 and December 2018 she accused other people of it.

This is clearly a contradiction.

If Mr Bastani does take Riley to court - and I would strongly urge him to do so - he would be well advised to ask: When was Rachel Riley lying? In December 2018 and February 2021 when she accused others? Or in December 2020 when she tried to whitewash herself?

If you are as outraged by this apparent show of hypocrisy as I am, then please remember that I am still fundraising to defend myself against the injustice she is trying to perpetrate against me, arising from such false claims. Please:

  • Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, 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. This is particularly important at the moment as my @MidWalesMike account is currently suspended - apparently at the request of followers of Riley who should would say were acting entirely of their own volition.

I am sick of the way people like this can apparently contradict themselves time and again while claiming the moral high ground - and getting the courts to agree with them.

Let's put a stop to it.

Update 82

Mike Sivier

Feb. 3, 2021

Journalist exposed to 'torrent of abuse' (claim) has parallel with Riley case

Is it just a coincidence that this happened a week after a High Court judge decided that 'blue tick' Twitter users should not be considered responsible for the behaviour of their followers?

Clearly the ruling by Mrs Justice Collins Rice, in Rachel Riley's case against me, is factually wrong. The experience of Huffington Post reporter Nadine White simply underlines the fact.

Ms White had emailed Tory equalities minister (surely a contradiction in terms?) Kemi Badenoch to inquire why she had not supported a pro-vaccine video by participating in it.

Badenoch had responded by putting the emails on Twitter alongside a comment that they were "creepy and bizarre" and the HuffPost was "looking to sow distrust".

Labour has demanded an investigation into whether this breached the ministerial code.

In a letter to civil service head Simon Case, the party said Ms White had been exposed to "a torrent of abuse online" - a dogpile.

Riley's case against This Writer also concerns questions about whether the TV parlour game-player deliberately intended to expose a teenage girl with mental health issues to a torrent of abuse also.

The world "torrent" has been applicable to Twitter dogpiles since the case of Jack Monroe and Katie Hopkins, in which the word was used to describe the number of messages Ms Monroe received after Hopkins tweeted a false claim about her.

It was also disputed. But Mr Justice Warby stated that "'Torrent' is a noun, used metaphorically here. It may be colourful, and may tend to overstate what happened. But it is not an invention and nor is it in my judgment a serious distortion."

This means even if the size of the dogpile against Ms White was not very large, the description may still be applied justifiably.

Labour's involvement is hypocritical though. It comes from a political party whose members (including MPs) have also triggered dogpiles - for example against This Writer after The Sunday Times falsely accused me of holocaust denial (on the basis of false information leaked by - guess who? - a Labour Party officer).

I am appealing against the judgment that suggests 'blue tick' Twitter users can publish anything they like about other people without having regard for the possible consequences to those people.

If I win - and evidence including the Warby judgment suggests that I may - then this could have severe consequences for a minister who tried to discredit a journalist who seems merely to have been doing her job.

I am crowdfunding for the means to win my case, which is proving extremely costly because of the behaviour of Riley's legal team. Information about that is available here (a search for "libel Mike Sivier" should reveal the necessary links).

Anyone interested in helping is urged to do one or more of the following:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, 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.

Justice isn't for everybody - not in Tory Britain. It's too expensive for most of us.

That doesn't mean we should let a government minister - who should know better - inflict retaliatory harm against somebody who was only doing her job.

Update 81

Mike Sivier

Feb. 1, 2021

Is Mike facing cruel & unusual treatment for daring to seek justice while poor?

It seems my earlier claim that time is running out was more accurate than even I thought.

The judge who presided over Rachel Riley's application to strike out my defence against her libel claim - Mrs Justice Collins Rice - is minded to allow Riley's costs order in full. This is for an amazing sum of more than £27,000.

Allow me to explain why this is amazing:

Her solicitor Mark Lewis's costs have been allowed at City rates - which is "unreasonable and disproportionate" according to a long-standing principle in defamation cases.

This states that “City rates for City solicitors are recoverable where the City solicitor is undertaking City work, which is normally heavy commercial or corporate work. Defamation is not in that category, and, particularly given the reduction in damages awards for libel, is never likely to be.  A City firm which undertakes work, which could be competently handled by a number of Central London solicitors, is acting unreasonably and disproportionately if it seeks to charge City rates”.

The Civil Justice Council expressly restated that rule in a report on solicitors’ hourly rates it published only last month.

Allowing Lewis to charge £500 per hour - which is what the judge seems minded to do - is a significant departure from the recommendation and it seems there is no extraordinary circumstance that justifies it.

Furthermore, despite the costs order not having been handed down yet, and the fact that such orders are usually payable within 14 days, Riley's solicitor intends to enforce it within eight days - by February 9, which happens to be the day before the deadline for me to appeal against the strike-out ruling. Coincidence?

I'm told I have reasonably good prospects of resisting the costs enforcement. And I am considering the unusual step of appealing against the costs order.

But doesn't this strike you as extremely cruel and unusual treatment, prompted by Riley's people?

It seems to me that Riley's legal team have tried to arrange matters so that I have to pay far more than a "reasonable" amount in costs - before I can lodge my appeal against the judgment that means I have to pay any costs at all - in order (yet again) to price me out of justice.

What a nasty, underhanded ploy. One might even consider it to be psychological warfare.

I will do what I can to fight this. If you are as disgusted by this as I am - as any right-thinking person should be - then please help in the way we have established:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, 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 this is the way Riley's employees behave, what does it say about the character of the person who has hired them?

Update 80

Mike Sivier

Jan. 23, 2021

Riley's lawyers attack Mike's crowdfunding site

What are they afraid of?

Well, there's a simple answer to that: Rachel Riley's legal team knows that a judge's decision to strike out my defence against her libel claims is not safe and wants to ensure that I don't have the financial ability to challenge it.

Initially, according to my own solicitor (I don't have any direct contact), Patron Law took a very strong line that many of the assertions in my updates on CrowdJustice had been proved to be defamatory by Mrs Justice Collins Rice's judgment of January 20 and that my fundraising web pages should be taken down completely.

That has now been moderated. The firm now says it has written to CrowdJustice asking only for defamatory comments and updates to be removed. But Patron Law has not provided any information on what its members believe those comments and updates to be.

The demand would only be reasonable if I were not appealing against the judgment - and we all know that I am.

Already I have looked at the judgment in relation to the evidence I provided and have identified significant issues, in terms of both fact and law, where her judgment may be challenged. So my representatives will definitely be lodging an appeal.

This makes it entirely possible for the judgment to be cancelled (annulled?) and for my defence to be reinstated. If that happens, then it would be premature to remove any of the information from the CrowdJustice site.

I have to take a balanced view of this and have said to CrowdJustice that it is right to abide by the law and I will remove any words that offend against it at the appropriate time. Now is not the appropriate time.

Meanwhile - here's the good news: since I made my desperate appeal for more funding, you have donated more than £9,000 to the CrowdJustice site - or to me personally. That's in just three days! And most of it came in on the first day - around £7-8,000.

Because of this, I reached 90 per cent of my stated target and CrowdJustice asked me if I wanted to extend it. Considering the new financial demands - the appeal, costs of continuing the case in the High Court, the possibility of having to pay the costs of Riley's application - I have raised it to £200,000.

I consider this to be a monstrous amount to have to pay for justice.

It really reinforces what I have said all along - that this case is not about the facts. It is an attempt to hijack the justice system and use it to bully somebody with fewer funds out of what little they have.

That is deplorable in itself.

The attempt to stop me from crowdfunding makes it very much worse.

My appeal is continuing and it is possible to contribute in these ways:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, 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 given a lot in the last few days. Most significantly, you have given me hope.

There is more to do, though.

Let's keep going. We can win.

Update 79

Mike Sivier

Jan. 8, 2021

Would Rachel Riley have been charged under incoming internet anti-bullying law?

This information arrives too late to be included in my bid to beat Rachel Riley's attempt to strike out my libel defence - but we can hope that the judge has seen it and knows it is coming.

According to the Telegraph, the Tory government's new "Online Harms" law will include measures to imprison online bullies for a maximum of two years.

It states: "Online bullies and those who join internet 'pile-ons' could face up to two years in jail under a raft of seven new criminal 'duty of care' offences.

"Ministers are working with the Law Commission to create criminal offences that would allow police to prosecute people responsible for online communications that caused a victim 'serious emotional distress'.

"It would cover emails, social media posts and WhatsApp messages and also pile-on harassment when a number of different individuals send threatening communications to a victim.

"Other offences being considered include incitement or encouragement of pile-on harassment, knowing participation in pile-on harassment and glorification of violence or of violent crime."

Rachel Riley's accusation of libel against me is based on her claim that she did not incite or encourage people who follow her Twitter account to dogpile (that's the correct term for what the Telegraph describes as a "pile-on") a vulnerable teenager.

The girl who received this unwanted attention suffers from anxiety issues and endured extreme distress as a result.

I wonder whether Riley would be able to escape prison if this law had been in effect in December 2018, when she started picking on that young lady?

As it is, I am still awaiting a judgment on her wafer-thin argument that my defence against her libel claim should be thrown out.

It is nearly a month since the hearing but my solicitor tells me that such delays are not unusual. It is possible that we will have our result on or after January 11, when the High Court's Christmas vacation ends.

Whatever happens, I will need to fund my defence - and I desperately need help:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, 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.

It seems clear that Riley could have been tried for a criminal offence if this planned law had been enacted a few years ago.

The fact that she is prosecuting me for pointing out her outrageous behaviour therefore seems even more of an atrocity.

But she is the darling of the media and she is extremely rich - and I am not. And money talks.

Please help me make sure she cannot buy justice - and make a mockery of a new law to protect the vulnerable before it has even had a chance to take effect.

Update 78

Mike Sivier

Jan. 5, 2021

Riley libel: hope for the best - but we must plan for the worst

As I write this, the judge has still not handed down her verdict on Rachel Riley's application to have my defence against her libel accusation struck out.

In a week's time it will have been a month since the hearing. Even with Christmas between then and now, it seems a very long time to wait for a judgment.

On one hand, this could be a good thing - it could indicate that she is inclined to find in my favour and dismiss the application, and has spent the time ensuring that such a judgment is corrrect in law.

On the other, she could be finding ways to justify a verdict in favour of Riley.

Either result could be contested; both sides could appeal, if they could find a justification for it - and if one of us has the funds.

Then there is the question of the actual trial. That is unlikely to happen until 2022, I am told, but it will still need to be funded.

If the judge finds for me in the current application, some of the pressure will be relieved as my £29,000 legal fees would have to be paid by Riley - but we cannot rely on that.

We can only rely on the CrowdJustice cash - and that fund is running low.

This case has always been about whether justice should be allowed to be bought by the person with the biggest bank account.

If you still believe that justice should be decided on the evidence instead, then I must ask once again:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, 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 hate making these requests.

But I have no choice.

I believe in justice - as do you.

It seems this is the only way any of us can get it.

Update 77

Mike Sivier

Dec. 12, 2020

Newspaper mangles account of Riley v Sivier court case

Someone brought my attention to the report of Rachel Riley's application to strike out my defence against her libel action yesterday and I had a good laugh at it.

Considering the fact that my Twitter account appears to have been suspended - presumably over my own fair and accurate account of the hearing - other friends have questioned why this is still up.

It's a good question.

It was headlined Latest round of Rachel Riley libel challenge heard in court - so far, so good. But the author - "Jewish News Reporter" - went off-beam from the sub-heading onwards:

Lawyers argued about claims of online abuse, harassment and bullying towards the countdown presenter

No, it was claims of online abuse, harassment and bullying by the Countdown presenter. That's quite a big mistake to start off!

The latest round of a libel challenge by lawyers acting for Countdown presenter Rachel Riley and Vox Political reporter Mark Sivier

Who's this Mark Sivier, I hear you cry. He's a cousin of mine who lives in Bristol and has nothing to do with This Site or the case. I do wonder whether he would like to start one of his own against this newspaper, if I bring his attention to it...

reached the courts again on Friday, as lawyers argued about claims of online abuse, harassment and bullying.

The allegations stem from vitriol surrounding antisemitism in the Labour Party, against which Riley has been a vocal critic, and this week’s hearing was centred on a strike-out action.

No, no, no! The allegations stem from Riley's support for a claim that Owen Jones is anti-Semitic, after he applauded Lord Sugar's announcement that if Jeremy Corbyn got to be prime minister, he would leave the UK.

The hearing was of a strike-out application. And Riley hasn't criticised "vitriol surrounding antisemitism in the Labour Party" - which is what Jewish News is saying here; she has caused a large amount of it.

(Consider her call for people to sign a petition saying former party leader Jeremy Corbyn was an anti-Semite (he isn't); her post that photoshopped a scene from Game of Thrones to include an image of Jeremy Corbyn with a message that someone should "take" him "out" (meaning, have him killed); and the image of her wearing a T-shirt bearing a famous image of Corbyn being arrested for protesting against apartheid South Africa, photoshopped (again) so the board he was wearing stated "Jeremy Corbyn is a racist endeavour". All of these caused considerable ill-feeling.)

Sivier, who has raised for than £100,000 for legal fees through crowdfunding, called Riley’s latest legal action “a vexatious attack… to have my defence against her libel action struck out… to avoid having the evidence heard at a trial”.

Did I? It looks like selective quoting but in fact the sentiment is more or less accurate. I do consider the strike-out application to have been an attempt to stop a libel trial from taking place - not by proving that I don't have a case (I do), but by wasting the money I had crowdfunded (yes, more than £100,000 - people really don't like Riley) to make it impossible for me to fund my defence.

Of course, that was my feeling before the hearing took place. In fact, counsel for both Riley and myself ran through a lot of information about the case in their submissions, meaning if Riley really didn't want the information about her bullying a teenage girl - and both supporting and encouraging abuse of her by her followers - she failed in that attempt.

The hearing was in open court, meaning the public were entitled to attend - and did - and the material provided in evidence is now public knowledge.

Mrs Justice Collins Rice heard the arguments at the High Court as barristers jostled over Riley’s allegations that Riley engaged in a campaign of online abuse and harassment against her, allegations denied by Sivier.

This will take a bit of unpicking!

Riley did not allege that she had engaged in a campaign of online abuse and harassment, certainly not against herself!

I had made the claim that she had engaged, supported and encouraged such a campaign - against a teenage girl with mental health issues, as described in my article yesterday (December 11).

I haven't denied making that claim, though. I deny that it is libellous to do so - for the very good reason that she did do those things.

Her application, heard by Mrs Justice Collins Rice yesterday, was that my defence was not substantial enough to justify a trial. But then, it did manage to support a full day's hearing at the High Court, so I think she should be on a hiding to nothing there.

It is the latest libel case pursued by Riley and fellow Jewish TV personality Tracy Ann-Oberman, supported by Israel-based lawyer Mark Lewis, whose witness statement was considered in court.

Tracy-Ann Oberman is not a party in the case. It is being pursued only by Riley. Oberman does appear in it - as I allege that she also harassed the teenager, with dozens of tweets in a single day, inviting her to a meal in London with another teen.

Oberman herself has since claimed that 16 tweets in succession constitutes harassment so her own more than 50 (some say more than 60) should certainly qualify, in my opinion.

And no fewer than three witness statement by Mark Lewis were considered by the court. None of them added to Riley's case as they constituted nothing more than his personal opinions - as my counsel pointed out.

Late last year a High Court judge heard pre-trial submissions over the pending libel case between Riley and Sivier, concerning the latter’s 2019 article in which he called Riley a “serial abuser”, including of a 16-year-old girl who received death threats.

This is the essence of the story. And it is being reported in the second-to-last paragraph of this Jewish News piece. Talk about getting a story backwards!

The judge said Sivier’s argument that Riley’s “irresponsibility” had caused supporters to issue death threats was opinion, as was his description of her as a “hypocrite”.

That would be Mr Justice Nicklin, who presided over the hearing in 2019 - not Mrs Justice Collins Rice. It means Riley will find it extremely difficult to prove that those statements were libellous - even if she succeeds in striking out my argument of "truth" - that my claim about her is factually accurate.

The story does not explain that I referred to "irresponsibility" because she had tweeted false information both to and about the teenager; if she had not done so, her Twitter followers would not have even known about the girl's existence, let alone filled her inbox with abuse over a period of almost exactly one month.

And I called Riley a hypocrite because my article was a response to a Guardian piece in which she claimed that Channel 4 had been forced to employ a bodyguard for her after she had received threats - without any acknowledgement that her own behaviour on Twitter had led to the teenage girl also receiving threats - and she doesn't have the funds for a bodyguard.

These points are all pertinent to the case as a whole, and to the hearing yesterday yet, strangely, the Jewish News failed to include them - or got the story points completely wrong.

Can you imagine why that could have happened?

To me, it is indicative of the way the mainstream press has been happy to ignore and distort the facts of the case so they can boost their poster girl and disregard me.

The knock-on intention is to ensure that people turn away from me and I fail.

You know how to prevent that:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, 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'm never going to get support from the mass media. Even if I win this case, they'll try to misrepresent it or bury it altogether. They don't care about the facts.

But you do - or you wouldn't be reading this. Let's make sure the facts are known.

Update 76

Mike Sivier

Dec. 11, 2020

Court hears evidence that Rachel Riley bullied vulnerable teen

Judgment was reserved - I could have screamed!

It means the judge will consider the evidence and deliver a written judgment in due course, stating whether or not she considers there to be enough evidence to support my defence against Rachel Riley's claim of libel against me - and for a trial to take place in order to establish whether I libelled her or whether I was right to make the statements I did.

But the fact that a public hearing took place today (December 11) that mentioned some of the evidence means we can discuss that evidence here.

The claim is that I libelled Riley by saying that she had engaged upon, supported and encouraged a campaign of online abuse and harassment of a 16-year-old girl, conduct which has also incited her followers to make death threats towards her.

There are also claims which are defended as matters of honest opinion, based on these facts.

The judge seemed most interested in the way Riley was alleged to have bullied a girl who was aged 16 at the time, and who had mental health issues.

She heard that:

"Celebrity adult claimant" Riley first heard of the vulnerable "child victim" (as my counsel characterised them both) after she tweeted in support of claims that left-wing journalist Owen Jones acted an in anti-Semitic way when he tweeted in support of Lord Sugar leaving the UK if Jeremy Corbyn became prime minister.

The "child victim" tweeted in support of Jones, and this attracted the attention of Twitter followers of Ms Riley, who replied with abuse. They would not have seen the girl's tweets if they had not been followers of Riley, and she sent a tweet to the celebrity, pointing out the abuse she had received.

This led to more abuse, to which the girl responded at one point by saying Riley had been "encouraging a smear campaign" (against Jones).

Riley responded with seven tweets, all sent to the girl within a 13-minute time frame. Some right-thinking people have questioned whether sending a teenager with mental health issues a tweet every two minutes is harassment.

The content of those tweets is also questionable. My counsel argued that Riley ignored the subject matter - her smearing of Owen Jones - and instead tried to gaslight the girl into doubting both her views and herself.

While recognising the abuse the girl had been subjected to, it was claimed that Riley failed to condemn her own supporters who had perpetrated it, patronised the girl, questioned her motives and suggested she was a dupe for the opinions of undesirable other people.

This led to a "dogpile" on the girl, with many more abusive comments from Riley's Twitter followers. Riley herself wrote a second thread, but again failed to condemn the activities of her followers (despite the fact that every tweet was a reply to her - meaning she would have seen all the abuse).

By this time, she was referring to the "smear" as being about the Labour Party claiming accusations of anti-Semitism generally were smears, rather than about her having smeared Owen Jones.

She accused the girl of having called her a liar, and also of "helping to spread the virus that is antisemitism".

The thread totalled 16 tweets over 44 minutes. Harassment?

The girl had certainly had enough, it seems, because she tried to end the dialogue, tweeting, "Have a lovely Christmas, I'm putting this debate behind me now." [This was on December 17, 2018.]

Matters then became more sinister, because the court heard that Riley would not leave the girl alone. She tweeted: "Thank you for listening Rosie, I would appreciate an update to this please, so as to not encourage the smear rhetoric, if you now think there’s more to the story?” The girl also received more abusive tweets from Riley's followers.

So the following day, she tweeted that she had blocked Riley. This means Riley was not allowed to read or respond to the girl's tweets, or have anything directly to do with her on Twitter.

The judge took interest in this and wanted to know how we could be sure that Riley genuinely had been blocked. She mentioned it herself in a tweet on January 15 the following year: "I wouldn't have been able to contact her even if I wanted to." Riley certainly never contacted the girl directly again, indicating that she no longer could.

So how did she manage to acquire tweets the girl published on December 31, 2018, and January 8, 2019 - which she published in a 13-tweet Twitter thread on January 9?

This led to a discussion of stalking, and whether Riley had stalked this vulnerable teenager who has - let's bear in mind - anxiety issues.

Riley's counsel argued that the dialogue between her and the girl had been entirely polite and civilised, and denied that his client's tweets contained any questionable material.

He said that when Riley mentioned the girl in her thread of January 9, and another on January 15, she had removed the girl's Twitter handle in order to discourage any more dogpiles - but her name was clearly visible, along with her profile picture, and her father was fully identified in the January 15 thread, meaning anybody who wanted to do it could go back through Riley's timeline and find all the contact details they needed.

Speaking for Riley, and in addition to his claims that the dialogue between his client and the girl was perfectly polite, John Stables said the "celebrity adult claimant" could not be associated with any abuse directed at the girl because she was not responsible for the behaviour of her followers.

The judge summed up his submissions as saying, not that there had been no online abuse of the girl but that Riley had not taken part in it or encouraged it, and any such campaign was nothing to do with her.

If that was the case, then why did the abuse follow - and refer back to - Riley's tweets? Isn't it more accurate to say that the abuse the "child victim" received would not have happened if Rachel Riley had not tweeted about her and to her?

Stables also suggested that we do not know to what extent the "child victim" suffered Twitter dogpiles. This is also not true, as the defence lists exactly the number of retweets, 'likes' and replies each of Riley's threads received.

There was much more argument but these were the main sticking-points.

Bearing in mind that this hearing was only to establish whether there was enough evidence for a trial, what do you think?

If you reckon I have a strong enough defence, please help me fund it in the now time-honoured manner:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, 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 evidence may seem obvious from the above - but I have to admit that it is impossible for me to be objective about this case as I am the defendant. The judge may see matters differently.

It seems unlikely that the judge will throw the whole case out completely - as Stables had to retreat from a claim that my defence that I said what I did in the public interest should also be struck out.

But any decision in Riley's favour could result in a crippling costs order against me.

And even if I beat this application to strike out my defence, I still need to fund the actual trial.

That won't happen for some time yet, but I need to be ready for it, when it does happen.

I must thank everybody who has supported the crowdfunding effort already. Without your help I would not have been able to get to court at all.

Please help me see this through to the end.

Update 75

Mike Sivier

Dec. 8, 2020

Riley libel case: court hearing THIS FRIDAY. Help Mike win!

I am currently working with my legal team to put the finishing touches on our defence against Rachel Riley's latest vexatious attack - a bid to have my defence against her libel action struck out.

The application will be heard in the High Court on Friday. Fortunately the court has agreed to hold it online - via Teams - as there is a risk that, having used public transport (trains and the Tube) to get there, I might carry Covid-19 back to my home town, which has been more or less virus-free throughout the pandemic. My situation applies to others who are appearing as well, I understand.

Most of the points in the Riley application appear to be either expressions of opinion that are not permissible in court or attempts to deny reality.

Part of the claim could be expressed as saying that Riley's followers sent abusive messages to a teenage girl with anxiety problems at random, and they only happened to coincide with the TV celebrity's Twitter threads attacking her.

That isn't realistic.

Another claim is that Riley took pains to anonymise the girl she was attacking. This is also not true, as complaints on Twitter at the time, from concerned bystanders, made clear.

My personal opinion is that this is just another attempt to avoid having the evidence (and I have a lot of it) heard at a trial. Ms Riley seems highly averse to having this particular pile of dirty linen washed in public, which is exactly why it needs to happen.

But there is a possibility that she might win some of her points - and this could be extremely expensive for me.

She is throwing everything but the kitchen sink at this case, employing extremely expensive lawyers to make her case for her. If she wins even one point, the costs claim against me could be enormous.

That's why she's doing this, of course - to obstruct justice by making it impossible for me to continue. It has long been one of the strangenesses of this case that the defendant is the one who wants a trial and the claimant wants to prevent it from happening.

There are two ways to foil this plan. As I mention at the top of this update, I am working hard on the defence and hope to convince the judge with my arguments.

The other way is to ensure that I have enough funds to keep going, regardless of any minor wins the Riley team manage to score along the way.

My case is entirely crowdfunded and it is thanks to the contributions of thousands of people like you - possibly including you (I don't know; many are anonymous) - that I have been able to get even this far.

Please help make sure I can take this all the way.

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, 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.

This is a very uncertain time and I have to admit that the possibility of any kind of loss is preying on my mind. That's exactly what the predators on the Riley legal team want, of course. Part of their strategy is to demoralise me with constant vexatious applications like this one.

Won't they be disappointed - and I know I'll be cheered up immensely - if I get a sudden financial boost, right before this hearing? Please help make it happen.

Update 74

Mike Sivier

Nov. 11, 2020

Riley libel case: shame we can't rely on the national press to report fairly

A newspaper report on a recent libel defeat suffered by Rachel Riley illustrates a serious problem faced by those of us she has been dragging to court: we cannot hope for a fair hearing in the press.

The report, in the Mail, referred not to my own case but to that of Jane Heybroek, who beat Riley's - and Tracy Ann Oberman's - case against her, and forced them to pay... some... of her court costs.

I won't do the Mail the courtesy of visiting its website to see the article. I can quote from the Zelo Street report on it instead:

https://twitter.com/zelo_street/status/1326198768606343175

Apparently, tacked onto a bit of throwaway celebrity gossip about some new acting role for Oberman was the following:

It comes after Tracy Ann and Rachel Riley dropped a libel action against an immigration barrister who retweeted an article accusing them of harassing a 16-year-old girl. Self-confessed 'Buddhist Barrister' Jane Heybroek shared an article by a blogger titled 'Beneath Contempt: How Tracy-Ann Oberman and Rachel Riley harassed, dogpiled and slandered a 16-year-old child and her father’”.

It's true that Riley and Oberman withdrew their case - it seems clear that they had to. They could not show that any defamation arose from Ms Heybroek's tweet.

And what's this about her being a "self-confessed 'Buddhist barrister'"? That's a label that I doubt any barrister would attach to herself. As Ms Heybroek herself tweeted:

I am not a ‘self-confessed Buddhist Barrister’. I am a Barrister and a practicing Buddhist. Do not attack me on the basis of my religion again, otherwise that is going straight to IPSO.

(That's the Independent Press Standards Organisation - the often-toothless press watchdog.)

 I asked my solicitor to intervene the last time you did this, and you amended your article. I will be asking him to intervene this time. If this happens again, I shall go straight to IPSO as this is a ‘course of conduct.

She also sent - or more probably re-sent - her full statement on the end of the court case and demanded a correction from the Mail:

https://twitter.com/0Calamity/status/1326156639242752003

In the end, it seems she was forced to bring in her legal team. Zelo Street reported that the Mail removed references to anti-Semitism in the article: "The inference made by including those references was clear, and potentially defamatory."

The Mail had also distorted a previous judgement in the case - on the meaning of the words forming the basis of the complaint.

It seems clear from this behaviour that so-called little people like Ms Heybroek and This Writer cannot expect our cases ever to be reported accurately by papers whose editors think they'll make more cash by publishing positive material about so-called celebrities.

It seems I need to crowdfund - not just to protect myself from the court attentions of Riley, but also in case the newspapers publish false information about me and I have to challenge them.

You can help - in these ways:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, 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 still don't know when Riley's application to strike out my own defence against her libel claim will come back to court, after it was adjourned from November 6.

Let's make sure I'm ready to deal with whatever is thrown at me - and with whoever throws it.

Update 73

Mike Sivier

Nov. 5, 2020

Prolonging the agony: Riley libel 'strike-out' application is adjourned

What a mess.

Let's discuss the good things first: thanks to everyone who donated, the CrowdJustice fund sailed past the £100,000 mark within hours of my last update on the Rachel Riley libel case.

What a message that sends! I hope Ms Riley has received it and I'm deeply grateful to all of you who contributed.

But yesterday (November 4) was very stressful because the High Court reversed a decision that the hearing would take place remotely - online, with all of us in our respective offices/homes - and demanded that we all appear in person at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

I live in the middle of Wales, which is still in lockdown, and I am a carer. I cannot ask anyone else to take over my caring duties while I go away because we are not supposed to go into anybody else's homes - and it would be at too short notice anyway.

Last year, when I attended a hearing, I was able to arrange care for Mrs Mike - but I would have been able to take her with me to my family home, which I used as a stop-off point overnight before proceeding to London. That option wasn't available because England is now in lockdown and my brother is being treated for a rare form of cancer, and is therefore shielding.

It is impossible for me to go at this time.

This meant that my team would have been at a considerable disadvantage. While my legal representatives would have been able to attend, my absence would have required them to request pauses in proceedings if they needed advice from me (and I know from experience of my recent case against the Labour Party how disrupting those can be). Also my absence could have been interpreted as an indication that I did not consider the case to be particularly important, which is far from the truth.

So it was a highly-distressed and disturbed Mike Sivier who finally got to sleep at around 4am today (November 5).

I woke to an email from my solicitor saying that my barrister has suffered an eye injury. I shan't go into all the details of what transpired in the hours between then and now; suffice it to say that the case has been adjourned to the first available date in the future.

It is a good result.

It gives my team time to refine our case, and it gives me an opportunity to work out ways to provide care for Mrs Mike and get to the hearing, if the court decides that the new one will be 'in person' as well.

But it does mean that this fiasco of a bid to strike out my defence will drag on a little longer.

The case will run on after that hearing anyway - we have to face the prospect of a trial lasting several days, sometime in 2021 - so please continue donating to the fund.

Here are the details, as always:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, 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 will let you know the date of the new hearing as soon as I get it.

Update 72

Mike Sivier

Nov. 4, 2020

Two days to next Riley libel court hearing: support Mike!

Rachel Riley's application to strike out as much as she can of my defence against her ridiculous claim of libel against me will go before a judge on Friday.

The same judge will also consider my own application to strike out part of Ms Riley's claim.

I have been re-reading the statements in support of her strike-out application by her solicitor, Mark Lewis - and I have to say it is infuriating that such ridiculous arguments are to go before a High Court judge.

I wish I could tell you some of the nonsense that he - and the representatives for Ms Riley and myself - will have to discuss as if it was serious, but it is right that the court should have a chance to judge it before you do.

I can't wait for the hearing to be over - hopefully with a positive result for me - so you can marvel at the silliness that I am having to deal with.

In the meantime, there is still a way for you to support me - and that is by supporting my crowdfunding campaign.

At the time of writing, the total stands at just over £99,400. It would give me a huge psychological advantage if we could get it past £100,000 before the hearing begins on Friday.

It is an achievable target; after last week's update on the case, the crowdfunding campaign took nearly £2,000.

And it will put Ms Riley on the back foot - showing that no matter how many silly obstacles she puts in my way, like the strike-out application on Friday, this case is going to trial and the public will get to hear about all the things she has done that she wants to keep secret.

(My opinion has always been that Ms Riley thought a court case against me was an easy win - and easy money for her - because I am poor. She did not expect the crowdfunding campaign to be anything like the runaway success it has been so she has tried to whittle away my funds with expensive applications to the court. The last thing she wants is for this case to actually go to trial, as it means her treatment of a 16-year-old girl with mental health issues will face the full scrutiny of the law.)

So let's get that total past the £100K mark. Here's how:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, 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 don't mind admitting that I'm nervous about Friday's hearing. No matter how good I think my case is, I know that only a fool would take a judge's decision for granted.

But I am proud of the CrowdJustice campaign and of the thousands of people who have supported it so far.

Update 71

Mike Sivier

Oct. 27, 2020

November 6 libel hearing: Riley is submitting a new witness statement

The High Court has now confirmed that the hearing of Rachel Riley's application to strike out part - or all - of my defence against her ridiculous libel claim will be heard on November 6.

I live in Wales and will still be in a lockdown imposed by the Welsh Government, so it will have to take place online.

This is likely to take some of the force out of Ms Riley's advocates - she may have two barristers, including a QC, but only the QC will be allowed to speak.

Meanwhile her solicitor, Mark Lewis, has indicated that he intends to submit another witness statement. I have concerns about this.

Obviously I don't know whose statement it will be or what it will contain. More pertinent, though, is when will my team get to see it?

November 6 is only 10 days away. I'm wondering whether Lewis intends to ambush me with a statement delivered late on the evening before the hearing - as the Labour Party did with its skeleton statement of defence against my 'breach of contract' case at the beginning of October.

Of course a new witness statement against me means more work for my solicitors and more expense for me, so I must appeal to your generosity again.

The response to my last update was fantastic, meaning we are now less than £4,000 away from the milestone of £100,000! I had not expected to reach that until the end of 2020 at the earliest and it would be a huge psychological victory to manage it with months to spare.

And the closer we get to the £125,000 target, the more obvious it will be to Ms Riley's advocates that they can't expect to win by draining my funds. So:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, 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.

This case needs to go to court, so all the details - embarrassing as they are - can be heard.

With your help, it will.

Update 70

Mike Sivier

Sept. 14, 2020

After Riley goes quiet, her follower starts abuse campaign against Mike

You may have been wondering why there haven't been any updates on the crowdfunding campaign to oppose Rachel Riley's libel accusations. There hasn't been much to say.

After she lost her bid to hold a premature hearing on her application to strike out part of my case (and mine to strike out part of hers), Ms Riley seems to have calmed down for a while.

Partly this may be because she was caught touting for her followers to tip her off about people against whom she could launch more court cases for libel; this would be vexatious litigation which is a big no-no.

I wrote about that on July 27. Curiously, one of Ms Riley's followers - who will remain nameless (why give them publicity?) started a vilification campaign of their own against me - on Twitter, the day before.

You'll be aware that the case centres on Ms Riley's interaction with a teenage girl on Twitter. In August 2019, my new Twitter abuser doxxed her father - revealing his identity and Twitter address (and therefore providing information enabling people to track her down).

This person also described the teenager as a "homely" girl and stated "natural selection will take its course" - which a reasonable person may take as meaning that she will never have children and her line will die out. Some may suggest it implies contemplation of violence against her if this was not the case.

That demonstrates their interest in this - this person is a supporter of Ms Riley who took her side, to the extent of carrying out a breach of another person's privacy - and of Twitter's rules..

So far, I have received 51 tweets from this person. I would have preferred to have none.

They have attacked IPSO's finding in my favour after several national newspapers accused me of anti-Semitism and depicted me as a "loony goon", a "chippy goon", a "'hard' left goon", a "plonker", someone with "no career, future or health to fight for", of "foul qualities", a "liar" and "fantasist", writing a "blog of bile".

There have been other comments of the four-letter kind that I will not repeat here.

This person would not have crossed my path if I hadn't taken issue with Ms Riley.

This person has proved the basis of the claim I made about her - that her behaviour towards another Twitter user has induced her followers to launch their own campaigns of abuse against that other user.

Now who's the goon?

That's a rhetorical question; if my crowdfunding campaign doesn't receive your help, I won't be able to present these arguments in court and my abuser will have the last laugh - so please:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, 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.

It doesn't matter whether Rachel Riley asked this person to harass me; it hs happening because of her.

Let's show them both the error of these underhand methods.

Update 69

Mike Sivier

Aug. 18, 2020

This will be awkward - IF Riley libel case gets to court

Take a look at this:

I'm not going to comment on the behaviour of the person named as "Tim" in the exchange above, but part of Rachel Riley's case against me is that it wasn't "targeted harassment" when Tracy-Ann Oberman sent 18 tweets to a terrified schoolgirl ... within a single hour.

And those were just some of the dozens of tweets she sent to the same girl over a 24-hour period.

I'm looking forward to seeing them explain their way out of that one.

But it won't happen unless I have the funds to defend myself against the wild claims of Ms Oberman and her friend Ms Riley.

The crowdfunding campaign needs your help so please:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, 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.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

Let's expose the hypocrisy.

Update 68

Mike Sivier

July 30, 2020

Riley caught in a contradiction: it seems it IS about money after all

What do you think of this apparent hypocrisy?

Last year, announcing that he had been hired by Rachel Riley and Tracy-Ann Oberman to prepare lawsuits against people they said had libelled them, lawyer Mark Lewis said:

"This is not about money... They’re not looking to enrich themselves by taking legal action. They’re looking to stop vile lies.” 

You can read him saying it very clearly in The Guardian and also in Metro, The Mirror, the Evening Standard, the Daily Star and other news outlets.

How interesting - because if it isn't about money, the following reason for this week's decision to halt proceedings against Jane Heybroek makes no sense at all:

"Their libel insurers did not see any advantage in pursuing a case over the liability of a retweet that was deleted so quickly and therefore paid a very modest sum. Regrettably the defamatory tweeter lives in South America and has no visible assets.

"'There are bigger fish to fry, in the pursuit of those who choose to maintain a serious libel.'"

[This is from a tweet by Ms Riley that she has since taken down. It referred to another case as well, so I won't reproduce it here. I do have a copy, though.]

First let's put one line straight: the case against Ms Heybroek arose from her decision to retweet a link to an article by Shaun Lawson - as did all the other cases to which Mr Lewis was referring in his 2019 comment. The description of him as "the defamatory tweeter" is false as he has never faced court proceedings.

More important, though, is the fact that Ms Riley has never tried to bring any such proceedings directly against him. Because he "has no visible assets"? That would contradict Mr Lewis's comment that "they’re not looking to enrich themselves... They’re looking to stop vile lies."

If Ms Riley really wanted to stop any "vile lies" she claims are in the article that Ms Heybroek retweeted, then she would have pursued Mr Lawson. She hasn't done so. The only reason for the decision, that I can see, is that it won't result in a cash return.

If it wasn't "about money", then why did she and Tracy-Ann Oberman pursue Ms Heybroek, knowing that she had deleted her tweet and it was not possible to assert that it had influenced anyone?

If it wasn't "about money", then why are RR and TAO not personally paying Ms Heybroek's costs in full?

If it wasn't "about money", then why did RR issue a tweet touting for new cases to bring to court, implying that she would give the proceeds to charities?

If it wasn't "about money", then why is RR pursuing me with vexatious court applications that seem intended to run down the crowdfunded cash that you have generously donated to help me? Like Mr Lawson, I don't have any assets worth mentioning.

And if it is about "looking to stop vile lies" then why is RR trying to run down my funds now, rather than taking her evidence to a full trial? I have made it clear all along that I consider her behaviour to be an attempt to drain me of cash before a judge gets to hear the evidence in the case.

This week's revelations make it clear that Ms Riley herself has contributed very little towards these court cases; her legal team is employed on a "no win, no fee" basis and she has also taken out insurance - it is her insurers who have paid compensation to Ms Heybroek.

So it seems all the risk is being taken by her victims - people like myself whose lack of funds make us highly vulnerable to predatory litigation.

Of course, I may be wrong. What do you think? Please feel free to answer by doing one or several of the following:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, 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.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

These cases can be "about money" even if the people bringing them don't directly benefit - because they can deprive other people of their own finances.

I've always said that's what seems to be happening here - with the knock-on result that people like myself would be unable to fight the libel assertion and people like Ms Riley would have their way regarding "vile lies" too - without having to prove a thing.

Some of you might consider that to be a misuse of the justice system that should be stopped.

Update 67

Mike Sivier

July 27, 2020

Court date for Mike - but look what Rachel Riley's doing in the meantime

After considerable discussion, the High Court has decided the next hearing in Rachel Riley's libel case against me will happen on November 6.

If you think the only fireworks that week will be the night before - or the night after - you may be surprised.

This will be the hearing on Rachel Riley's bid to strike out all - or part - of my defence, that she was desperate to force into a courtroom before the end of July.

So, what's she planning to do with all the spare time that the court has presented to her?

This:

How interesting.

It could be read as an enticement for her followers to entrap people into making comments about her, so she can burden the court with more libel cases.

The offer to give the proceeds to charity would be the enticement.

I have always claimed that she launched her case against me in the belief that her huge wealth and my own comparative poverty would mean I could not defend myself and she would therefore buy justice. Does that seem the case here?

It looks like grifting - "influencing anybody, anywhere, at anytime, into doing whatever they choose to have them do, that will result in the grifter's personal gain."

And it is also right on the boundary of vexatious litigation - a pattern of behaviour leading to possibly frivolous lawsuits.

A court may consider such behaviour to be an abuse of the judicial process and may choose to impose sanctions against the perpetrator. Repeated instances by a single lawyer or firm can result in disbarment.

Already we have seen what I consider to be vexatious attempts at running down the crowdfunded cash supporters of This Site have provided to help me fend off Ms Riley - the silly "shifting sands" claim last December, that the judge threw out without blinking, was one; my opinion is that the current "strike-out" bid is another.

I hope to monitor this situation; if she or her solicitor starts legal action against more people as a result of this tweet, I want to know about it.

In the meantime, I hope you agree that the courts do not exist to further enrich already-overpaid TV parlour game-players - or the charities they support (and we don't know exactly which charities those might be, either).

If I am successful in defending against her claims, then this might all go away. You are, of course, invited to support me in the usual ways:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, 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.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

And tell everybody you know what you think about Ms Riley's behaviour - in a non-libellous way, of course.

Update 66

Mike Sivier

July 17, 2020

A small victory as judge postpones Riley's 'strike out' application

Rachel Riley's attempt to drain my funds - by demanding that the High Court holds an early hearing on her libel case against me - has been foiled.

She wanted a court to hear her application to strike out part of my defence before the end of July, which would have hugely strained my entirely-crowdfunded budget for the case.

But I argued that the court must treat us fairly - as detailed in my previous update - and a judge has agreed.

The application will be listed in the next term - between October and December.

This means we now have more than two months to raise the money needed to pay for my defence at that hearing.

Please continue donating to the CrowdJustice site - but bear in mind that there is now considerably less urgency and you should (as always) put your own needs first.

Here are the details as usual:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, 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.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

This small victory shows that the Riley machine can be defeated; she's not having it all her own way.

And don't forget that I'm making an application of my own, to strike out a significant proportion of her case against me.

My only immediate concern, now, is that she will dream up yet another vexatious plan to waste my time and our money.

Update 65

Mike Sivier

July 13, 2020

Haste for hearing on Riley court application - to put financial strain on Mike?

The High Court has suggested that an application by Rachel Riley to strike out part of my defence against her libel claim should be heard before the end of July - despite the fact that this will create a huge strain on my funds.

There is absolutely no urgency for this application to be heard and there is likely to be no shortage of urgent cases that could take priority over this one - and there is no date before the end of July on which both my solicitor and my Counsel will be available.

I understand Ms Riley's solicitor, Mark Lewis, has written to the court with a suggestion that I want to delay in order to crowdfund the cash I need to fund my defence, saying he is concerned that this would establish a precedent that will clog up the administration of justice.

He has suggested that, besides being deprived of time to raise funds for my defence, I should also produce the extra cash that would be needed to obtain and instruct alternative Counsel.

We should all be concerned if this argument has swayed the court, because it is unjust.

Firstly, my reason for wanting to delay the hearing is that my Counsel is not available - not because I need to crowdfund. Courts are obliged to make efforts to accommodate Counsel, especially in a case in which the court would benefit from hearing from the Counsel who wrote my defence.

Secondly - yes, forcing me to change Counsel, to meet a July hearing date, will almost certainly put my defence fund in debt. Allowing the case to be heard later in the year will almost certainly not do so.

While the strain on my finances may not burden Mr Lewis, the court is required to deal with cases justly and at proportionate cost to ensure that the parties are on an equal footing. This means that the court must take account of the financial position of each party.

Let's have a look at Ms Riley's financial position in relation to mine: she is a very highly paid television celebrity who is able to afford both leading and junior counsel, while I am a full-time carer and am, yes, reliant on crowdfunding to finance my defence.

Speeding up this hearing deprives me of the ability to afford representation against a very well-resourced opponent. It is hard to see how the court can say this is just and proportionate treatment.

Finally, Ms Riley has put forward no reason to suggest that her case will be prejudiced if the hearing is not listed later; it will make no difference to her at all.

My own representatives have made these points to the court and we are awaiting a response.

But it seems clear that Ms Riley is once again trying to win her case by using my poverty against me. I think this is utterly despicable behaviour.

If your opinion of her behaviour is similar, then there's only one way to help:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, 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.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

I had been hoping to write an update this week, saying that the pressure was off for a while, then this happened.

Please help foil this latest dark development in a very nasty story.

Update 64

Mike Sivier

June 30, 2020

Here's why it costs so much to fight a lawsuit brought by Rachel Riley

I've just had the monthly bill from my lawyer. It clears me out of everything that you have raised and leaves me owing a few hundred pounds - with the huge extra cost of a court hearing looming, possibly this month.

This is the reason Rachel Riley has made her application to strike out parts of my defence against her ludicrous accusation of libel, of course; she knows she doesn't have much chance of success - but defending against it will cost me a huge amount of your money.

That's why she keeps making these frankly vexatious demands on court time.

I'm sure she is also hoping that the disappointment of being constantly dragged back to square one will demoralise those of you who contribute to my CrowdJustice fund - put you off helping.

Indeed, one contributor, who donated quite a large amount of cash last month, also questioned why I am paying anything at all - suggesting that if my costs continue to rise I should rid myself of my current legal team and seek pro bono advocacy instead.

That would be a disaster, in my opinion.

You get what you pay for. One of my reasons for choosing the team I have is that I could not be sure of the quality of free legal advice; it would be better to have paid advocates who really know what they're doing. That's not to disparage good pro bono lawyers - but how many people can tell the good from the not-so-good?

Also, there is a particular attractiveness about this case, simply because it is crowdfunded. A win for my side will have a significant effect on civil justice in the United Kingdom - and a consequent boost to the reputation of the legal team involved. For that reason, we have been able to negotiate terms that are mutually satisfactory.

And of course it makes no sense at all to stop using my team, halfway through the case, and to try to instruct another in all its intricacies.

So I am left with the task of re-enthusing you, with the possibility that only a few weeks are left until a very expensive court hearing (remember that Ms Riley's legal team has demanded that it should take place in July). Fortunately, I have a juicy announcement:

I will be making a counter-application to strike out a large part of Ms Riley's case against me, during the forthcoming hearing.

I'm not at liberty to release the details but I can say that I expect my application to be granted without argument.

I have lodged my application with the court already - all I need now is the opportunity to have it granted at the hearing.

So I'm sure you know what's coming next. Please...

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, via my own 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.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

I know it's a lot to ask. It always was. But the cause is just and the case can be won.

And the consequences for justice - if it isn't - are dire. It would mean that rich people can buy justice, using the court system to take money from anybody poorer than them, simply for telling the truth.

Update 63

Mike Sivier

June 17, 2020

Riley libel case: she's using my lack of funds against me yet again!

Rachel Riley seems determined to tell the world that she wants to win her libel case against me by buying justice - so who am I to get in the way?

Let's discuss her latest tactic.

You'll be aware that she has launched a court application to strike out all or part of my defence against her claims. It will cost up to £17,000 for me to defend myself against this part of her court action alone.

The High Court has indicated that it may have time to consider the application in July - meaning I would have less than a month to crowdfund a very large amount of money.

But the members of my legal team have pointed out that it is not possible for them to attend court in July as they have other cases and childcare commitments due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

Here's the nasty bit:

Ms Riley's representatives have responded furiously, demanding that the court force a July date for this application to be heard.

They say crowdfunding should not be a reason to delay a libel case and this could establish a precedent.

What they don't say is that such a precedent would enhance justice by keeping both sides in a civil case on an even footing.

And they say if my legal team cannot attend, I should instruct alternative counsel.

Again, what they don't say is that this would place an extra cost burden on me.

Rachel Riley is far, far more wealthy than me. She could afford to spend £60,000 on the "meanings" hearing last December alone. Rushing the hearing of this application so that it happens next month would put her at a huge advantage if I am unable to raise the funds to fight it.

Her application itself is drivel. My legal team and I can defeat it - if we get the chance.

We are fighting Ms Riley's demands, and we have good arguments. Courts should deal with cases justly and at proportionate cost so that both parties are on an equal footing. But the hearing will be listed at a time that best suits the judge.

So I must try to be ready for a court hearing within a few weeks. And that means I must appeal to your kindness again.

I am bitterly sorry that I have to ask you for more help, especially at a time when we are all feeling the financial squeeze of the Covid crisis - but justice is at risk of being bought, and the facts are at risk of being denied.

So, please:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, via my own 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.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

This is more vital now than ever before, so I'd like to appeal to you especially to make an effort to encourage other people to donate.

You can tell that Ms Riley's team are trying to use her huge financial advantage to influence the courts. They want to make sure not only that I fail, but that a precedent is set to ensure that everybody like me, who has to crowdfund for legal action, will fail in the future. It is vital that they be stopped.

Update 62

Mike Sivier

June 12, 2020

Riley collaborator in racism outrage - and an URGENT APPEAL for help

Tracy-Ann Oberman should be well-known to readers of these updates.

After the teenage girl at the centre of my case was engaged in an argument over anti-Semitism with Rachel Riley - and had been subjected to appalling abuse by her followers, Ms Oberman sent dozens of tweets to her - all on the same (school) day - inviting her to a meal in London.

The poor teenager, who suffers from anxiety, was terrified at this unwanted attention, which she could only conclude had an ulterior motive.

When I wrote about it, Ms Oberman threatened me with a libel action - but eventually left it to her friend, Ms Riley, to take a case to court.

One has to question the validity of her position after yesterday's (June 11) interaction with an American rapper who happens to be black.

It seems a rapper known as Ice Cube had made remarks which had been interpreted as anti-Semitic. I pass no comment on that as I have not yet seen those words. Ms Oberman responded:

The problem here is that the owner of the Twitter handle @FINALLEVEL is Ice T - a completely different person - and one who was completely bemused by the attention:

Ms Oberman apologised... if you can call this an apology:

Is that an apology? Judge for yourself.

People are drawing the obvious conclusion, though - as follows:

"Tracy Ann Oberman tagged the wrong black man in a post about racism because they all seem to look the same to her."

That's the "they all look the same" trope - on Twitter, where people are only represented by words, remember.

And it was perpetrated at a time of heightened sensitivity to racism against black people too.

All from a person who once said she was in a "gang" including Ms Riley who had started to speak out against racism.

And Ms Riley is suing me because I stood up for the girl that both she and Ms Oberman targeted - again, on Twitter.

Her current tactic is an application to strike out all or part of my defence. It will take me a day in the High Court in London to defend against this nonsense  - at a cost of up to £17,000.

And that's cheap - the last application of hers, in December last year, cost me £28,000!

This is where the "URGENT APPEAL" in my headline comes in. This hearing could happen as early as next month (July). If you think individuals like Ms Oberman (and, by association, Ms Riley) should not get away with the behaviour they exhibit on Twitter, then please contribute to my crowdfunder - otherwise I simply will not have enough money.

And that would be a real shame, because my legal team and I have worked out a little surprise that we would love to deliver at that hearing.

Given current unspent funds, we need around £14,000. Here come the instructions, so please:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, via my own 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.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

I have a chance to deliver a legally-binding rebuke to these individuals.

But I can't do it without you. Will you help?

Update 61

Mike Sivier

June 7, 2020

Riley's bid to strike out my libel defence is daft. She IS wasting your cash

It seems Rachel Riley is serious in wanting to drag me back to court - but her application to strike out my defence against her libel claims is not.

It's risible - ridiculous.

You'll be aware that the core of the case is a dialogue between Ms Riley and a teenage girl who has been anonymised - in other recent court actions involving the TV game-player - as "R".

Ms Riley’s complaint appears to be that "R" started an argument, Ms Riley was perfectly pleasant to "R" and Ms Riley cannot be held responsible for the actions of others who tweeted abuse to the girl while the dialogue was taking place and afterwards. Consequently, she says, I cannot prove that she incited anyone to do anything and she does not have to prove that she did not incite anyone.

It is easy to disprove these claims. For one, I'm not trying to make Ms Riley prove anything - quite the opposite, in fact. It is also arguable that Ms Riley's arguments are unsuitable for a "strike-out" application as they concern matters that should properly be discussed in the trial.

But I will have to go back to court to show this - and soon. The hearing is likely to take place online (due to the Covid-19 lockdown), probably before the end of July.

This means I need to be sure I can cover my legal costs within two months. These are likely to be similar to those of my last hearing - around £10,000-£12,000 if I recall correctly.

On the "plus" side, fundraising on the CrowdJustice site has been very good over the last month or so, and this makes me optimistic about raising the necessary amount.

But you know what's coming next. Please...

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, via my own 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.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

This application to strike out my defence seems an act of desperation.

It won't help Ms Riley - and it offers me an opportunity to make a few changes too.

Please help me take that opportunity to give Ms Riley and her friends a nasty surprise.

Update 60

Mike Sivier

June 2, 2020

Here's how Rachel Riley's lawyers are wasting your money

I was really pleased with our fundraising efforts at the end of May - only to be brought crashing down by my latest legal bill.

Between the start of the month and the end, the CrowdJustice site took almost £7,000 - going from a total of around £63,000 to £70,000.

That's down to the fabulous response from people like you.

Then I received the bill for "advising you in connection with Riley's proposed strike out application and corresponding with you in connection with the same, liaising with and instructing Counsel in relation to the approach to the strike out application and the amended defence and corresponding with Patron Law for Riley."

£6,500. Almost the entire amount.

You will know that the "proposed strike out application" is nonsense - it's just an attempt to waste my cash and my team's time. There's no prospect of Ms Riley's lawyers actually removing any of my case and I don't think they expect to achieve that.

Nor will they narrow down any of the arguments or evidence at a future trial.

They just know that making vexatious applications like this will waste the money that you have so kindly donated to defend me against their claims.

It confirms what I have said all along: this case is not about justice - it is about money. Rachel Riley seems to think the fact that she has more money than I do means that she can buy justice.

It is a blistering insult to the British legal system.

But it achieves one goal: it forces me to go back to you, cap in hand, and beg for more. After you've all given so much already.

Let's never forget what's being done here, who's doing it, or why.

And let's spread the word about the help I need. Please:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, via my own 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.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

If you are as angry, reading these words, as I am at having to write them, remember who's responsible.

The only way to stop them doing this is to defeat their case.

Update 59

Mike Sivier

May 23, 2020

Riley launches pointless 'strike-out' bid against Mike's libel defence

Rachel Riley is dragging me back to court with an attempt to "strike out" some of my defences against her libel claims.

Even if she succeeds in any way (this is unlikely), the application to a High Court judge is procedurally pointless because it is unlikely to narrow down any of the arguments or evidence at trial.

It seems the intention is merely to delay the actual trial and run down the funds that you have so generously donated to help me refute her claims.

(Yet again we see that her case is most strongly based on the fact that she has more money than me and can afford to waste it - and time - on this nonsense, rather than on any factual evidence.)

I knew it might happen. Her legal team advised me that she was planning this move - but I responded with a quite detailed letter explaining why their arguments were not valid.

But they have not engaged with any of the points I made; in fact it seems unlikely they even read the letter in any detail as their response makes inaccurate claims.

So now I must prepare for another unnecessary court hearing - this one likely to last a whole day - because of Ms Riley's (in my opinion) vexatious behaviour.

And I have to go back to you and ask for more help to pay for it, when you've only just made a brilliant response to my last appeal. I was stunned by the generosity of contributions, in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis that has squeezed everybody's finances and I want to put my appreciation on the record.

The good news is that the "strike out" hearing is unlikely to happen in the immediate future; the bad news is I don't know exactly when it will be, so I cannot plan a funding campaign of any length for it.

I can only make the same appeal as ever. So, please:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, via my own 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.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

I'm sitting here seething while I'm writing these words.

I think it is outrageous that Riley is doing this right after you have already contributed so much - and when it is hard for any of us to contribute more. It confirms my opinion that this case has absolutely nothing to do with justice.

Update 58

Mike Sivier

May 19, 2020

Newspapers distort libel case to make it seem that Rachel Riley is winning. She

How sad to see that the London Evening Standard (oh, and Mail Online, although this is less surprising) is incapable of reporting a simple judgment in an ongoing libel case properly!

The High Court, in the case of Rachel Riley and Tracy-Ann Oberman v Jane Heybroek, has reached a judgment with regard to the meaning of the words that are at issue, and whether they are statements of fact or expressions of opinion.

And the Standard's interpretation of this judgment is arse-backwards.

"Rachel Riley and Tracy-Ann Oberman win first round of libel battle" trumpets the headline - wrongly. The judgment was neutral. Nobody has won or lost anything.

But if any advantage were gained, This Writer would say it had to have gone to Ms Heybroek.

Here are her own comments:

Note her words [italics mine]: "This was a hearing we asked for in order to narrow down the claimants' claims and, in my opinion, we have successfully done so."

"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."

Reference to the judgment on the court website Bailii shows that Ms Heybroek's representative, Mr Helme, won more points than the claimants'. Consider the Judge's agreement with him at paragraphs 61, 63, 72, 75, 77, 79, 81 and 83; and the Judge's disagreement with the claimants' representative, Mr Stables, at paragraphs 58, 59, and 65.

In brief, Ms Heybroek won her arguments that the words at issue were expressions of opinion rather than statements of fact. Whether they were defamatory was never likely to be in doubt - but of course that doesn't mean that they were libellous. If they were statements of honest opinion, and the facts on which they were based were accurate to the best of her knowledge at the time, then they were not.

And it is to be noted that these are all secondary considerations; Ms Riley and Ms Oberman's complaint is not about an article by a third party (the matter on which this judgment is made) but about whether Ms Heybroek libelled them by retweeting a link to it. Ms Heybroek states: "Note that this ruling on meanings is without prejudice to my contention that I am not liable for publication of the article by virtue of my re-tweeting a tweet containing a hyperlink to it. That issue remains to be determined, either at trial or before."

So it seems clear that Ms Heybroek won far more than Ms Riley or Ms Oberman. But that information seems to have zoomed right over the head of whoever reported the case to the Standard and the Mail.

Far be it from me to attribute malign intentions, but this failure of accurate reporting can have a serious harmful effect on justice.

Libel cases are hugely expensive and people like Ms Heybroek and myself - This Writer is fighting an ongoing case brought by Ms Riley, remember - cannot afford to defend against the accusations without help.

We ask sympathetic members of the public to support us with donations - but they may be discouraged from doing so, if they read or hear a report claiming that Ms Riley (and Ms Oberman, in Ms Heybroek's case) is somehow winning.

Conversely, if they discover that such claims are false, I would hope members of the public would find their determination to support the defendants redoubled.

The expense of the hearing has put Ms Heybroek out-of-pocket. She is crowdfunding to pay for her case and if you can afford to help, her CrowdJustice site may be found here.

As for my own case - the request is the same as usual. Please:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, via my own 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.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

It would be nice to see Ms Riley and/or Ms Oberman distancing themselves from the inaccurate media reports.

But, considering my own belief that they would be as happy to win their cases by starving us of funds as they would in a courtroom, I fear I may have to wait a long time for that.

Update 57

Mike Sivier

May 15, 2020

Will coronavirus harm Mike's fight against Riley libel claim?

Court cases don't respect national crises, it seems.

I wanted to update you on the situation at the moment: after more than a year, Rachel Riley is still persisting with her claim that I libelled her by pointing out the way she and her supporters bullied a teenage girl.

I would not have been able to defend myself against this unreasonable onslaught alone because civil cases in court are so expensive that it is impossible for ordinary working people to conduct them.

So I launched a CrowdJustice campaign and it is thanks to the help of all those who have contributed an amazing 3,400 donations - so far - totalling more than £64,000 that I am not unjustly having to pay this minor TV personality a small fortune.

If I had been too poor to put up a defence in court, she would have won by default. I am convinced that this is what she intended when she first threatened me.

Her legal team has lodged costly and delaying applications with the court in order to fritter your donations away. One was a claim that source information had been altered since I published my article; it cost thousands of pounds to defend against that, and in the court hearing the judge threw it out without blinking. He was only interested in the situation at the time I published my article.

Now, my solicitor is having to cope with new claims by Ms Riley - at similar cost.

But we have a new enemy: Covid-19.

The coronavirus, and the economic lockdown it has caused, means we all have less money - but I can't say the same for celebs like Ms Riley. 

That means even though demands on my funds are higher than ever - and make no mistake, all of the £64,000 has already been spent - I fear the flow of donation may trickle to a halt.

That would be devastating - not just to me, but to the facts. To justice.

I have never asked for a fortune from anyone. The average contribution to the CrowdJustice site is £19 but I'm grateful for everything we received.

I know times are hard for people like us.

But are we really going to let Ms Riley win, just because she can coast through this crisis?

Please...

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, 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.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

This time last year, I was just two weeks into this funding campaign and it had made an average of £1,000 per day. That seems like an impossible dream now.

But dreams become reality when people act on them.

Let's show Rachel Riley she can't rely on the coronavirus to drag down the truth.

Update 56

Mike Sivier

May 4, 2020

Is Rachel Riley deliberately misleading people or does SHE not understand libel?

Take a look at this:

That's right - after a neutral judgement on the meaning of the words Rachel Riley claims is libellous, she misled the public: "Today I had the 1st judgement of a handful of libel cases. The verdict supported my claim to have been defamed by Laura Murray."

It didn't. Ms Riley had launched proceedings over a tweet by Ms Murray and in a neutral judgement, Mr Justice Nicklin said the first and second sentences were statements of fact while the third was an expression of opinion - and all may be considered defamatory in common law.

That's not a ruling that Ms Murray had libelled Ms Riley.

But look at her response to Mark, who tweeted: "This is excellent news Rachel. I remember saying on here many months back that you'd almost certainly win your libel case against Murray, and I got a great deal of stick off some know nothing Corbynites, some of whom told me you'd get laughed out of court. Delighted you've won."

She replied: "Turns out many of them don't have that strong an understanding of libel law. Who'd have guessed. Thanks for your support."

It seems to me that it's Ms Riley who doesn't have that strong an understanding of libel law. Otherwise she would know she hasn't won the Murray case.

And that's strange, because she has a solicitor who should be advising her of that. In fact, it is his duty to do so, if she has misunderstood.

But it's more than a week since her reply to Mark and I haven't seen any retraction or correction.

So, is she deliberately misleading her fans? I sincerely hope not.

Of course, Laura Murray isn't the only person facing a libel lawsuit from Ms Riley. She's suing me too - and my case has been misreported in the national press.

Unlike Ms Murray, who I understand is well-funded, I could lose my case due to lack of funds. As I've said many times, I believe Ms Riley is hoping I will run out of cash - and if I can't afford to defend myself, I'll automatically lose.

Considering the implications of her dialogue with Mark, I don't think you'd be happy to let that happen.

So please...

Consider making a donation yourself, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

On Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

There's only one way to stop this nonsense, and that is to win.

And I can't do that without your help.

Update 55

Mike Sivier

April 29, 2020

Judgement reserved on another Riley case: how will the media mess this one up?

The High Court held a hearing on another libel case involving Rachel Riley yesterday (April 28).

This time the object of her ire was Jane Heybroek, who is facing proceedings because she tweeted a link to an article about Ms Riley,

As with Laura Murray's recent hearing, the issue under discussion was the meaning of Ms Heybroek's words, and whether they constituted assertions of fact or expressions of opinion.

After it took place, Ms Heybroek tweeted that Mr Justice Jay had reserved judgement after the hearing, which took place remotely.

Judgement will be delivered in two or three weeks, and Ms Heybroek made it clear that nothing may be said about that judgement until after it is handed down (that is, after it has been made public).

Depending on what the judge decides, this may come as a burden to the people who - for example - prematurely shared details of the Laura Murray judgement with the Daily Mail and the Guido Fawkes blog.

But then, those people may have their own problems anyway - as the court should be pursuing them with a view to prosecuting them for contempt.

We shall all have to see what happens in two or three weeks' time.

The 'meanings' hearing on my case took place last December, of course, and the news media garbled the result to make it seem Ms Riley came out with the upper hand (she didn't).

In fact, she had to re-write her accusation against me. I then submitted a defence to the court and Ms Riley's lawyers are now trying to argue about it.

I take this as yet another attempt to waste the money my supporters have contributed to my CrowdJustice site. I have said many times that libel cases are highly expensive and whenever Ms Riley's lawyers raise an issue, my own legal team have to counter it - at a cost of thousands of pounds.

I believe she never expected to have to go to court. She thought I would not be able to raise any funds to fight her accusations and that - instead of facing justice - she would be able to buy the result she wanted.

The distortions in the newspapers seem to be an attack on a second front - a propaganda war to undermine faith in people like myself, Ms Heybroek and Ms Murray.

We aren't media darlings. We don't have many friends in the right-wing press. We have to rely on you, and on your generosity. That's why I always have to make this appeal:

Consider making a donation yourself, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

On Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

It seems some people want you to think they're giving you the facts because the shout about them the loudest.

But you can always get accurate information here.

Update 54

Mike Sivier

April 27, 2020

Don't be fooled: Rachel Riley has not won any of her cases

I received an email message today from John Gorniak, courtesy of CrowdJustice.

It said: "The Guardian are running a story that Riley won her case. Is this so and how is it that if she has not they are running this line?"

I think many people may be just as confused as Mr Gorniak at the latest developments.

For clarity: Rachel Riley is suing three people, to my knowledge - myself, Jane Heybroek and Laura Murray. The Guardian report refers to the case against Ms Murray.

It says that Ms Riley has won the first round of her High Court libel claim because a judge had stated that words tweeted by Laura Murray were defamatory in common law, in a judgement on the meaning of the statement.

That is not a ruling that Ms Riley has won her case. Ms Murray will now provide defences that one part of her tweet was true and another was her honestly-held opinion and there will be a trial.

While it is true that the judge upheld Ms Riley's version of the meaning, the difference between it and Ms Murray's was minor.

It is the interpretation of the facts that matters.

But it is hardly surprising that Mr Gorniak is confused. Consider Ms Riley's own tweet about the ruling:

She made it seem that the judge had delivered a verdict on the case as a whole, and that is not true.

It is also not the first judgement. That came in December when the same judge - Mr Justice Nicklin - said that my article, which Ms Riley claims is libellous - was a "classic expression of opinion". He went on to say that there were some statements of fact that I would have to support and I do not expect to have any problems there.

But the Daily Mail (for example) then reported the ruling thus: Countdown star Rachel Riley was wrongly accused of being responsible for death threats sent to teenager, libel trial hears.

It wasn't a trial - just a hearing - and that wasn't the verdict, but it did hear that claim.

You see how easy it is to subvert the facts?

Ms Riley clearly has the media on her side. And she has lots of cash with which to pursue these hugely expensive libel cases. Laura Murray is lucky enough to have some wealth of her own.

I don't.

That's why I have to campaign to raise the money I need to fight her claims about me, which aren't even as accurate as the tweet pictured above.

If any of the above has made you angry about the way a media darling can twist the facts to suit herself, please do as much as you can of the following:

Consider making a donation yourself, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

On Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

These cases are making a mockery of British justice. Don't let Ms Riley get away with it.

Update 53

Mike Sivier

April 24, 2020

Riley libel: someone on her team just made a terrible mistake

Rachel Riley is a serial litigant; besides suing me, she is also pursuing Laura Murray, who bit back at one of the Countdown co-presenter's tweets in March last year.

Referring to the incident in which Jeremy Corbyn had been punched by an egg-wielding man in a London mosque, Ms Riley had dug up an old tweet by Owen Jones which said "If you don’t want eggs thrown at you, don’t be a Nazi. Seems fair to me." To this, she added the comment: "Good advice."

Ms Murray, who was working in Mr Corbyn's Labour Party office at the time, tweeted her opinion that Ms Riley was saying Corbyn was a Nazi who deserved to be attacked violently. She added that, in her opinion, Ms Riley was a dangerous and stupid person who risked inciting unlawful violence - and nobody should engage with her in any way.

Mr Justice Nicklin, in a judgement based on paper evidence due to the coronavirus pandemic, ruled that Ms Murray had made a statement of fact when she said Riley had stated that Corbyn deserved to be attacked violently.

That's the extent of the difference.

His statement that the words have a tendency to be defamatory isn't a ruling that Ms Murray is guilty of libel; the defendant may say that her statement was factually accurate and back it up with evidence, and she may also provide information to support the opinions that she expressed.

Riley hasn't won the case; this was a ruling on the meaning of Ms Murray's words and whether they were statements of fact or expressions of opinion. There will be a trial at some point in the future.

But Ms Riley and her friends seem to have started celebrating victory prematurely.

And someone went one step further - by publicising the case prematurely.

The image above shows that the right-wing Guido Fawkes blog ran an initial piece on the ruling on April 23, albeit with no further information than a claim that Riley had won. The Mail went further, publishing at 6.21am the following:

But the ruling was not published by the High Court until 10am on April 24 - more than a day later.

So it seems somebody has committed contempt of court.

This was a reserved judgement. That meant that the hearing was some time ago and the judge prepared a written judgement to be handed down on April 24. Prior to handing down, the judge would have sent a draft to the parties. The rules on drafts say:

 2.4 A copy of the draft judgment may be supplied, in confidence, to the parties provided that—

 (a) neither the draft judgment nor its substance is disclosed to any other person or used in the public domain; and

 (b) no action is taken (other than internally) in response to the draft judgment, before the judgment is handed down.

 2.8  Any breach of the obligations or restrictions under paragraph 2.4 or failure to take all reasonable steps under paragraph 2.6 may be treated as contempt of court.

I imagine Mr Justice Nicklin would be very keen to find out who's been playing fast-and-loose with court rules and his judgement. And I can't blame him.

I can't comment on who leaked the story to the press too soon - but I will keep an eye on it.

As for people who prematurely claim a legal victory that they haven't won ... if you're as nauseated by this as I am, then please remember that Ms Riley is attacking me in the same way she is attacking Ms Murray - and I don't have the cash to fight her.

If I can win my case in court, then it should discourage Ms Riley and her friends - harshly - from this vile behaviour. But I can only do it with your help.

Please consider making a donation yourself, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

On Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

It would be bad enough if Ms Riley had won. The fact that she hasn't, and is claiming she is, is toxic. In my opinion.

Update 52

Mike Sivier

April 14, 2020

Leaked Labour report shows Riley libel case is based on a falsehood

This is not a good look for Rachel Riley:

Her tweet refers to a threat by her lawyer, Mark Lewis, to sue people publicising the leaked Labour Party report on how its officers handled (or rather, didn't) accusations of anti-Semitism by members.

The substantive revelation is that Labour's leadership - especially Jeremy Corbyn - was not at fault in its attempts to handle the issue; it was hampered by right-wing officials who deliberately acted against their instructions in order to make Corbyn look incompetent, thereby putting the public off voting for him and ensuring that he could not form a government.

The report does not accuse anybody of anti-Semitism who had not been accused already - although, as officials acting against Corbyn failed to act on many of those accusations, it could be argued that their inaction indirectly supported anti-Semitism.

So Mr Lewis, by threatening to sue people who are making a fuss about this report's revelation, is acting against the interests of anybody who is genuinely concerned about anti-Semitism; he is supporting people who suppressed investigations, and he is supporting their treachery.

Or so it seems to me.

Ms Riley, by publicly supporting him with a claim that he is "suing nasty Jew-haters" - when he isn't, is pushing a false narrative that brings into question much of her own behaviour - including her libel case against This Writer.

The case arose because I had pointed out that Ms Riley had caused extreme distress - both directly and by encouraging others - to a teenage girl who had defended Mr Corbyn.

Ms Riley's claim was that Labour was doing nothing about accusations of anti-Semitism by party members. Because the teenager said she did not believe Corbyn was responsible for this, Ms Riley attacked her on Twitter and her tweets encouraged others to do the same - to the point where the girl reported that she had received death threats.

The Labour report shows that, if the party machine was doing nothing, this was nothing to do with Mr Corbyn.

So, if the report is accurate (and I have reason to believe it is), the basis on which Ms Riley attacked the girl was false.

Has she apologised?

No! She has doubled down by claiming the information in the report is false and anybody publicising it must be an anti-Semite (even though they are pointing out how anti-Semitism was allowed to happen within the Labour Party because of the inaction of party officers). How perverse!

At least, that's what I take from this tweet.

If I'm right, her lawsuit is based on a falsehood. She had no justification in attacking a teenage girl in the way she did, and therefore no reason to accuse me of libel, for pointing out what arose from Ms Riley's behaviour.

But she has accused me, and her court case will succeed if I don't have the funds to defend myself. Ms Riley is very rich and I am not. From the start, I have made it clear that I think she hopes to win - not because she is right, but because she can afford an expensive court case and she knows that I cannot; at least, not on my own.

So I have to rely on others to help me bring my defence to court.

If, having read the above, you would like to help, there are a few things you can do:

Please consider making a donation yourself, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

On Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

We now have evidence that Ms Riley's case is founded on a falsehood. Don't let her win because of her wealth.

Update 51

Mike Sivier

March 23, 2020

Riley libel battle enters second year - and I need your help more than ever

It is hard to believe that it's nearly a year since I received my first letter from Rachel Riley's legal team, threatening me with a court trial for libel because I pointed out her hypocrisy.

Ms Riley had complained that Channel 4 had to hire a bodyguard after her behaviour on Twitter prompted some people to make physical threats against her.

I knew that her activities on that platform had also prompted her supporters to intimidate a teenage girl with mental health problems, causing her to fear for her life - and she didn't have the cash for a bodyguard.

Her lawyers demanded that I should apologise for my article, retracting the claims made in it - even though they were based on evidence that remains available for anybody to see, on Twitter, to this day.

They wanted me to pay money to her in compensation for "distress" and "damage" to her reputation caused by me reporting these facts.

And they wanted me to pay their legal costs.

I've said all along that I think they - and she - adopted this attitude because they thought they could bully me.

Libel cases are extremely expensive - and I have discovered that it is possible to inflate the cost with pointless attempts to complicate or extend matters - and it seems they thought a relatively penniless web-based journalist would not be able to afford to fight, in court, against a millionaire celebrity.

In effect, they thought they could buy a judgement against me.

That offended my sense of justice - and still does.

So I set up a CrowdJustice page to fund myself, and found a solicitor. We contacted Ms Riley's team to start discussions, thinking that they would at least attempt to support a form of "alternative dispute resolution" - negotiation - before going to court.

Instead, we were informed that they had launched court proceedings.

And what has happened with those proceedings?

The case has enjoyed two court hearings. At the first, Ms Riley's team tried to argue that there was no need for a hearing to decide the meaning of the words they claimed were libellous, and whether they were assertions of fact or opinion. The judge ruled against them, ordering that the hearing should go ahead.

At the second, the judge agreed with me that my article was primarily an expression of opinion, leaving Ms Riley's team only the possibility of arguing about the factual basis for my opinions.

They have lost ground every time. But still they insist on continuing with the case, still they refuse to simply sit down and talk about it, and still they continue to rack up the cost.

I think they know that their threat to take me to court has backfired and that, if the case is heard in public, the facts revealed in such a hearing could be disastrous for Ms Riley.

So I think they are trying to exhaust my resources by dragging out the process so that my supporters despair of ever seeing a result, and give up.

Please don't give up.

This is a long process. Ms Riley's legal team reckon the trial could now take six days (although I have yet to see their reasoning for such a claim) - and the High Court isn't listing six-day trials until April 2021.

There are multiple preliminary stages to pass before it happens. The case against me could collapse at any one of those stages - if I have the funding to stand firm.

Or my defence could collapse if I can't pay for it.

That's why I must continue to appeal for you to:

Please consider making a donation yourself, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

On Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

With your help, I've already achieved far more than I had reason to hope.

Let's see it through to a successful end.

Update 50

Mike Sivier

March 18, 2020

SICKENING bullying of innocents shows Riley won't stop until she is made to

Take a look at this:

The "friend to Holocaust deniers" is, according to Ms Riley, the film director Ken Loach. But he is nothing of the sort and there is no evidence showing otherwise.

You're probably familiar with the story. Mr Loach, along with Jewish poet Michael Rosen, was chosen to judge a children's competition run by the anti-racism charity Show Racism The Red Card.

Ms Riley tweeted, and then deleted, this criticism, calling both "deniers/proponents of anti-Jewish racism":

https://twitter.com/Snegreid/status/1225458597351608324

Note that no evidence was put forward in support of these wild claims.

SRTRC initially refused to change its decision, but the announcement trumpeted by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, suggested a u-turn.

All was not as it seemed, though.

In fact, as SRTRC has now stated, the decision for Mr Loach to withdraw was mutual - and based on the fact that he and his family had been subjected to appalling abuse - both online and in person - by people who had swallowed the Riley/BoD narrative, or had a similarly hate-filled agenda of their own.

See for yourself:

"A significant factor in Ken Loach’s decision is the abuse online and in person that he and his family have received. It is profoundly distressing, and he is very concerned to protect those closest to him."

It seems the claim against Mr Loach was that he had mistakenly emailed in support of a person accused of anti-Semitism. He had immediately withdrawn that support after the facts were put before him.

That's not enough for the hate-mongers, though. I have experience of this myself; having been contacted by a person who said she had been falsely accused, I discovered that the accusations were accurate and cut ties with her. It was enough for the haters and they still use the incident as an excuse to tar me with false accusations.

I cannot prove that Ms Riley's tweet prompted others to abuse Mr Loach and his family (although it is certainly an example of such abuse itself). But how many other people broadcast the false claims? And on whose information were those claims based?

The latest tweet makes one thing perfectly clear:

Rachel Riley isn't going to stop.

She will continue with her campaign of online abuse and bullying - against innocent people - until she is made to stop by the power of the law.

So it's hand that there is a case currently in motion that could achieve just that end.

Ms Riley has accused me of libelling her, issuing court proceedings against me. I believe she has done this in the knowledge that libel cases are horrifyingly expensive; she thought I would not have the funds and would have to give in - essentially, she thought she could use her vast wealth to buy justice.

So far, I have been able to crowdfund the money needed to mount a defence - but the case is going to court and I will need much more in order to succeed.

If you think Ms Riley's abuse of innocent people is as despicable as I do, please help me fight her. Here's how:

Donate to my CrowdJustice campaign.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

On Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

Mr Loach is innocent of wrong-doing, his family certainly are, and so am I. So, I suspect, are many more of Ms Riley's victims.

Please help stop this vile victimisation and bullying.

Update 49

Mike Sivier

March 9, 2020

High Court takes next step in Riley case - but why hasn't she tried mediation?

The High Court has ordered the legal teams acting for myself and Rachel Riley to move onto the next stage of her libel action against me.

This means we have to fill out a 'directions questionnaire' containing details including, for example, the names of any witnesses we wish to call.

More interesting, though, is the possibility of "alternative dispute resolution" - meeting with Ms Riley's legal team in order to end the case without going to trial.

Courts take the view that litigation should be a last resort, and that claims should not be issued prematurely when it is possible for the parties to come to a settlement. If parties refuse to consider this option, then the court may penalise them when determining costs.

This was made clear in the 'Pre-action Protocol for Defamation' that Ms Riley's lawyers sent me, almost a year ago.

But when my own legal team contacted them to discuss the case, they filed proceedings against me rather than take this reasonable step.

I'm still happy to have a chat about it.

It seems silly for Ms Riley to be determined to waste thousands of pounds forcing a trial in which her own behaviour will be dragged into the light, for all to see and condemn.

But, for the time being at least, it seems that is what she wants to do.

She still knows that I can only take the case to trial with your support, while she can rely on her TV-derived riches to, basically, buy a verdict against me.

If you think that it is unreasonable to force a trial when an alternative settlement is available, then please contribute to the CrowdJustice fund.

The only way to discourage Ms Riley from her apparent plan is to convince her that she can't buy a verdict and faces the possibility of the facts being brought out in court.

Here's how you can do that:

Please consider making a donation yourself, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

On Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

I'm offering Ms Riley a chance to avoid expensive court proceedings but so far she hasn't taken it. To me, that seems to show that she is less interested in justice than in bullying a poor person.

If you agree, please give what you can to make sure she is foiled.

Update 48

Mike Sivier

March 3, 2020

If you think Rachel Riley has stopped persecuting innocent people, think again

The gossip-magazine and showbiz-column stories about Rachel Riley and her new baby are all very pleasant but they mask an unpleasant fact: she is still pursuing innocent people like This Writer and Jane Heybroek through the courts, for daring to point out her own bad behaviour.

Ms Heybroek is being sued for libel, because she retweeted a link to an article criticising Ms Riley for attacking a teenage girl - with anxiety problems - who dared to question the celebrity's accusations of anti-Semitism against others.

Ms Heybroek's case is on the "warned list" for a court hearing in the week beginning March 23. If it happens, a judge will hear arguments about the meaning of the article to which she linked.

After that, her case will have reached the same position as mine. I had my hearing in December. It referred to my own article about the same episode, and the judge ruled that most of it represented a classic expression of opinion. He said I would need to defend a few assertions of fact, but I foresee no difficulty in doing that - if I get the chance to do that in court.

For both of us, our difficulty is not the facts of the case - it is the cost of the case.

Defending against a libel suit costs an astronomical amount of money. When I launched my CrowdJustice campaign I made it clear that I think Ms Riley never intended for my case (or, now, Ms Heybroek's) to actually reach court.

I think she expected us poverty-stricken plebs to be unable to afford a court case, meaning that she would win by the mere fact that her TV-derived wealth dwarfs ours. In effect, she would buy justice.

She has been wrong - so farThousands of people have rallied round to help out with tens of thousands of pounds of vital funding.

That's what has kept her at bay. But now I reckon she has a new tactic.

I reckon she thinks that by restricting her public displays to pretty baby-related photoshoots, she'll be able to starve my CrowdJustice campaign - and that of Ms Heybroek - of the funds we need; people will think she isn't bothering with the court cases any more.

You know that isn't true; she's just carrying on her attack in the background.

So I must beg for your help to continue funding my defence in the courts. Here's how:

Please consider making a donation yourself, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

On Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

Rachel Riley may not be making as much noise as before, but she is still trying as hard as ever to harm innocent people. Are you going to let her?

Update 47

Mike Sivier

Feb. 26, 2020

Downing Street racism reveals why we must get Riley into court

Rachel Riley's libel case against This Writer is based on an allegation that she did not victimise a teenage Labour supporter, linking the girl with anti-Semitism after she questioned the Countdown co-presenter's claims.

Ms Riley has attacked Labour supporters and members, running right up to party leader Jeremy Corbyn, as anti-Semites, and published a series of Twitter threads that led her supporters to 'dogpile' the girl - who suffers with anxiety problems - in response to the criticism.

The TV presenter claims to be fighting anti-Semitism and racism. But how can that be true when a racist eugenicist was found to have been employed by the Conservative government as a Downing Street advisor, and Ms Riley had nothing to say about it?

Eugenics is about selectively breeding "undesirable" genetic aspects out of the human race. The Nazis were strong supporters of it - hence their many pronouncements about racial purity and their persecution of minority groups they believed to be inferior, leading up to and including the Holocaust.

Now-former Downing Street advisor Andrew Sabisky (pictured above) had to resign his position as a lieutenant to Boris Johnson's chief SpAd (special advisor) Dominic Cummings after it was revealed that he held the same views.

From this is it easy to deduce that Cummings and Johnson both hold similar racist views.

But Ms Riley has been silent. And people have noticed:

https://twitter.com/ZachKhan17/status/1229567941055827973

https://twitter.com/misslucyp/status/1229494546695905286

https://twitter.com/phildantan/status/1229819930733883393

https://twitter.com/fincarroll97/status/1229869636591792128

https://twitter.com/LouW71225179/status/1230146692802105344

https://twitter.com/RogerDoj/status/1230566167837728769

Part of my court battle against Ms Riley is about pointing out that she is a hypocrite - but I can't bring her to account without help.

It seems clear that she took out libel proceedings against me because she is extremely rich and I am not; she thought I would have to pay her long before the case got into court.

But I launched a CrowdJustice campaign to raise the funds - and so far I have been able to defend myself against her. But we haven't got to the main trial yet and it will cost a lot of money.

If you are sick of hearing hypocrisy from 'influencers' like Ms Riley who should know better, please help. Here's how:

Please consider making a donation yourself, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

On Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

Rachel Riley pushes a one-sided, false point of view - and then uses her riches to buy justice.

If you think that is wrong, please contribute what you can.

Update 46

Mike Sivier

Feb. 8, 2020

Wrong-headed Riley attacks Jewish poet Rosen as anti-Semite Holocaust denier

Countdown co-host Rachel Riley is continuing her private little war against anyone she doesn't like: now she has attacked poet (and former children's laureate) Michael Rosen as a Holocaust denier, months after he published a book about the family he lost in it.

Also attacked was film director Ken Loach - not for the first time.

It arises from a tweet by anti-racism organisation Show Racism the Red Card:

https://twitter.com/SRTRC_England/status/1224709350213718023

Dave Rich, head of policy at Community Security Trust and an Associate at the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, then tweeted:

https://twitter.com/daverich1/status/1225024257366929408

Ms Riley's accusation came as a response to Mr Rich - and seems to have mysteriously disappeared from Twitter!

Fortunately, we have a screenshot, provided in response to Mr Rosen's request for evidence:

https://twitter.com/Snegreid/status/1225458597351608324

"The supposed anti-racist football charity #ShowRacismTheRedCard yet again unashamedly promotes deniers/proponents of anti-Jewish racism," her tweet stated, casually tarring Show Racism the Red Card as fellow-travellers with racists. That organisation should take action over this slur.

"I hope schools don't touch this competition with a barge pole."

But Ms Riley's view is not shared by all Jews. Take representative group Jewdas, for example:

https://twitter.com/jewdas/status/1225509192892604423

This is true, as the Telegraph clarifies, saying he wrote The Missing (published on December 12 - nearly two months ago, rather than the days suggested by Jewdas) after talking to a teenage Holocaust denier:

"We are discussing his latest book, The Missing, an account of his European relatives who vanished during the Holocaust. 'I was face to face with one of the most virulent forms of anti-Semitism,' he says, with a long stare. 

The idea for the book was buried in Rosen’s head for decades, as a series of questions he had been asking about his paternal great-uncles, Oscar and Martin, who existed before the Second World War – then vanished from collective memory.

“'I was doing it for the family and for my own stubborn mentality,' says Rosen, 73."

Members of the public have supported this view:

https://twitter.com/laotianrockrat/status/1225511295526604800

https://twitter.com/NiallCArtist/status/1225675787451265024

But many others, apparently influenced by Ms Riley, now seem to believe in her "Holocaust denier" narrative.

Why did she delete her tweet? Is it possible that she realised she had gone too far and that, unlike some of us, Mr Rosen has the funds to hold her to account for such false claims?

I don't know - but I do know that this won't stop her publishing such falsehoods.

It seems clear that this person will continue to make questionably-motivated attacks on innocent people until she is stopped - in court if necessary.

And of course there is a court case already underway - that she launched - that could put a stop to these antics. I refer to her libel action against me.

It was because I stood up for a teenage girl with anxiety issues who Ms Riley had attacked online that she launched proceedings against me. Again, the association was with anti-Semitism.

So allow me to repeat my appeal: if you want to see an end to this nonsense from a so-called TV celebrity who should know better, please support the CrowdJustice appeal for the funds I need to bring the case against me to court and to defeat her claims.

Such a loss would be a serious financial - and personal - setback for her. It is unlikely that Ms Riley would be able to present such questionable views to the public afterwards and expect a sympathetic reception.

I have recently updated the 'stretch' target to £100,000 - to reflect the increased costs necessary due to Ms Riley's persistence in pursuing me.

So here's how you can help:

Please consider making a donation via the CrowdJustice page.

Also (or alternatively), email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

On Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

This is a witch-hunt. It will continue as long as privileged people like Ms Riley are allowed to go unchallenged when they attack people, simply for having views that she doesn't like.

Update 45

Mike Sivier

Feb. 4, 2020

Is Rachel Riley's obsession with 'left anti-Semitism' enabling the far right?

After the action, the outcry: Last week, Rachel Riley succeeded in getting Katie Hopkins bumped from Twitter, as reported here.

The move has prompted outrage from certain sections of online society, as evidenced by these examples:

(This was by a Brexit supporter.)

(This was by someone who self-describes as: "American. Patriot. Brexit. Back Boris”.)

(This was from Mark Meechan, aka Count Dankula, the far-right activist who Ms Riley supported after he was accused of anti-Semitism).

Now, to me, they seem a pretty right-wing crowd. But Tracy-Ann Oberman, a friend of Ms Riley who also threatened me with court action for libel, seems to think otherwise:

“Watching the Far Left have a twitter meltdown over KatieHopkins twitter ban at the hands of EVIL Rachel Riley and those of us who have helped Twitter assess these matters , is quite a thing. The irrationality and double think plus the outright LIES”.

Huh?

Katie Hopkins is out there on the far right, so it is logical that others on the far right are screaming the loudest. Why is Ms Oberman suggesting otherwise?

Is it a reflex action - blame the left because she is so used to doing it that it is now automatic?

Is she deluded - a new conspiracy-theorist desperate to blame the political theft for whatever plots she can dream up?

That would be bad enough - at least for her mental health.

But what if she isn't deluded and is consciously and deliberately deceiving people by opportunistically blaming the left for instances of anti-Semitism and abuse that are nothing to do with anyone on that side of politics?

That would mean she - and Ms Riley, by extension - are enabling the far right.

Now consider the fact that the organisation that (as I understand it) radicalised Rachel Riley - the Campaign Against Antisemitism - has been reported to the Charity Commission for failing to be independent of party politics, which is required under law if it is to have charity status.

The Green Party made the complaint over the organisation's anti-Labour campaigns and a video by its head of political investigations, celebrating Labour's defeat in the 2019 general election by saying "the beast is slain" and using the word "slaughtered".

The Greens are calling it negative campaigning that incites hatred.

If that is what the CAA has been doing, then is it a big stretch to believe that Ms Oberman is part of such an agenda? Or Ms Riley?

I think these so-called celebrities have serious questions to answer.

If you agree, please support my defence against Ms Riley's libel action against me. If it gets to trial, we will be able to examine her behaviour and put those questions to her directly.

Here's how you can help:

Please consider making a donation yourself, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

On Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

People like Ms Oberman and Ms Riley seem to think that their wealth makes them impervious to criticism; that they can say and do whatever they want.

We have a chance to show them they are wrong. Let's take it.

Update 44

Mike Sivier

Feb. 1, 2020

Removal of Katie Hopkins from Twitter shows my enemy's enemy isn't my friend

Some may say Rachel Riley has done the public a huge service by campaigning for - and achieving - the removal of Katie Hopkins from Twitter.

This Writer finds Ms Hopkins, her politics and her behaviour unspeakable. Consequently I have refused to comment on them, often responding to comments about her by others with: "I don't know who that is."

The last week Ms Riley, along with a representative from the Campaign to Counter Digital Hate (CCDH), visited Twitter bosses, demanded Ms Hopkins' removal from Twitter, and got it. She's locked out of her own account for the time being.

And that's good. I approve of what has happened.

But I still don't approve of the person who did it.

And I wonder if the CCDH has taken a hard look at Ms Riley's own account.

What about the hatred directed at Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and anybody remotely associated with him? What about the time she compared the Durham Miners' Band with the Ku Klux Klan for no good reason? Or the time she wrongly accused a Labour election candidate of anti-Semitism?

What about the abuse and harassment of a teenage girl, and the accusation of libel against people like myself who stood up to defend that girl?

And what about the fact that Ms Riley gets away with all of this because she is an overpaid TV celebrity who can use her wealth to bully into submission anybody against whom she has a disagreement?

If you don't think legitimate anti-hate campaigns should be consorting with the likes of Ms Riley, contact them and make the point. CCDH is on Twitter: @CCDHate and the representative who met Twitter bosses with her was @imi_ahmed

You could also - or alternatively - call for people of genuinely good conscience to support my CrowdJustice campaign to make Ms Riley rethink he abhorrent behaviour.

Please consider making a donation yourself, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

On Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

You don't fight hate by supporting haters. Please support justice instead.

Update 43

Mike Sivier

Jan. 28, 2020

You'll be amazed at what Rachel Riley doesn't want you to know

My legal team and I have been putting together our defence against Rachel Riley's claims that I libelled her - and it is full of information she won't want the public to see.

I'm not referring simply to what we know of her behaviour already - the many ill-informed attacks on Jeremy Corbyn (including an incitement to violence against him) and Noam Chomsky, her own anti-Semitic claim that she didn't look like a "typical Jew", likening the Durham Miners' Gala band to the Ku Klux Klan, defaming a Labour candidate in the general election - it's a very long list.

I'm referring to her behaviour toward a teenage girl with anxiety problems who dared - how dare she? - to have a different opinion. Some of it is astonishing.

And it will never see the light of day unless you help me get it into court.

I can't reveal any of it here because it would prejudice the court proceedings - and Ms Riley's lawyers would take great pleasure in attacking me for making fresh allegations, I feel sure.

Fundraisers have already achieved miracles, raising a huge amount that has already been put to good use fending off Ms Riley's lawyers so far.

But compiling the defence has been a huge, intensive amount of work. I know because I spent many days over the Festive Season, battling through illness to put much of the raw information together.

Almost all the money that has been raised has been spent. If we don't get more, we can't go forward.

It's as simple as that.

Libel is hugely expensive. From the start, my belief has been that Ms Riley thinks she can use her vastly-greater wealth to crush me and - in effect - buy the result that she wants.

I think her attitude is that the facts can go to Hell - she wants to make me pay.

I know you don't accept that. Please put some more into the pot so I can keep fighting against this cruel and unnecessary attack.

Here are the details:

Please consider making a donation yourself, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

On Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

I know times are hard and money is tight for everyone - except the likes of Ms Riley.

Please do what you can to support justice.

Update 42

Mike Sivier

Jan. 14, 2020

Was Rachel Riley among 'our celebrities' group used to 'slaughter' Corbyn?

A video clip has come to light of a campaigner for a pressure group, praising "our spies and intel, our celebrities" after Labour and Jeremy Corbyn were "slaughtered" in the 2019 general election.

Joe Glasman, leader of the so-called 'political investigations team' at the misnamed Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA), made the claim in a video rant that was quickly set to 'private' - but you can see it here.

The CAA was set up during a period of violence between Israel and Palestine in 2014, and has spent the time since then smearing critics of the Israeli government as anti-Semitic.

Many critics have stated that the last thing this 'charity' does is actually campaign against anti-Semitism.

And in the four years since Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party, it has pushed hard the false notion that Labour had become anti-Semitic, despite the fact that anti-Semitism in the party fell well below the national average during Mr Corbyn's leadership.

And in 2018, along came Rachel Riley, claiming that she had been moved to join the fight against anti-Semitism - particularly in the Labour Party - and claiming as her friends in that fight many of the CAA's fellow-travellers.

She and Mr Glasman are well-known to each other on Twitter and when he posted his video rant, she tweeted this reply:

https://twitter.com/RachelRileyRR/status/1210298694249144321 

The question for my case is: was Ms Riley carrying out the wishes of Mr Glasman or the CAA when she attacked Labour-supporting journalist Owen Jones on Twitter? It was this that sparked the confrontation between her and a teenage girl that, in turn, led to my article.

To be honest, I'm not sure it matters for the purposes of justice.

But it is deeply disturbing that Ms Riley may be connected with a network of individuals who appear to have deliberately set out to corruptly influence the outcome of a general election - as Mr Glasman put it in his own words.

If you are as disturbed by this as I am, then please share this information with people you know - and ask them to contribute to my CrowdJustice campaign. Hopefully we'll be able to get to the bottom of this.

Here come the details:

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 your friends to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

The more we find out about this, the more sinister it becomes. People like Ms Riley have a lot of money, and they are trying to use it to escape justice. Let's make sure they can't.

Update 41

Mike Sivier

Jan. 9, 2020

Is this an example of how wealth is used to stifle justice?

I've been made aware of an interesting political angle to the libel case brought against me by Rachel Riley:

It seems that right-wing sites on social media can say whatever they like, and their victims are expected to "take it on the chin", whereas those attacking left-leaning sites are "only too happy to call in the lawyers to extract apologies - and of course money".

I refer to the right-wing Guido Fawkes blog, which mistakenly claimed that Labour leadership contender Rebecca Long-Bailey had misled the nation about her personal wealth, being married to a chemical industry tycoon.

She isn't.

In fairness, Guido's bosses have apologised and deleted the article and links to it.

But it's not a good look for a site that claims to fight "fake news".

And according to Zelo Street (whose article forms the basis of this one), Guido boss Paul Staines "claims not to take any notice of legal threats and attempts to prevent him from publishing what he wishes".

So we have a situation where right-wing organisations can insult people, and mislead the public about them willy-nilly. Is that because they know their targets can't afford to sue them?

In contrast, when someone else - like me - raises a legitimate issue, I get lumbered with a hugely expensive court action.

The Zelo Street information suggests that I'm right in thinking the case against me is more about buying a verdict than actually serving justice.

But they didn't count on enough people supporting my CrowdJustice campaign to give me a stab at defeating them.

So far, nearly £50,000 has been raised - but more is needed. When I started, I did not expect to get far, but the stunning amount of support I've received has given me a fighting chance.

Please keep the cash coming in, and encourage others to do the same. Here's a reminder of how to do it:

Please consider making a donation yourself.

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

On Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

I can disprove the allegations against me. With your help, I'll be able to afford to.

Update 40

Mike Sivier

Dec. 29, 2019

Riley has launched court proceedings against someone else. What does that mean?

Some of you may be aware that Rachel Riley (and her partner-in-litigation threats, Tracy-Ann Oberman) has launched a court case against someone else on a matter connected with my own case.

But while I had written an article, all Jane Heybroek did was retweet a link to one (not mine; one of the articles on which my own piece was based).

You can find details of the case on her own CrowdJustice site, here. And feel free to contribute to her funds if you can.

The fact that Ms Riley is taking other people to court over this matter suggests that she is not about to give up her pursuit of me, despite the evidence that is mounting against her position.

It also suggests that I am right in my belief that she is hoping to drain my funds - and those of Ms Heybroek - to ensure that we become unable to sustain our cases and have to seek a settlement, or let her win, before any trial takes place.

I wonder whether she thinks opening a case against another person will make this easier to achieve, assuming that there are a limited number of people willing to support us - and therefore a limited amount of money available for our CrowdJustice campaigns.

Only you can prove her wrong.

My legal team is about to write the detailed defence against Ms Riley's latest claim against me (she had to re-word it after a judge's ruling earlier this month) - and it will kill her claim against me stone dead, if it gets a hearing in court.

My guess is that it will also kill the claim against Ms Heybroek.

We need to get it heard in court.

As I have mentioned before, defamation (libel) cases are extremely expensive. Even though nearly £50,000 has been provided to fund my case through this site (so far), most of it has been used getting it this far.

If you can't contribute more yourself right now, that's perfectly understandable. But please encourage your friends to visit this site - https://crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/ - and contribute.

The average amount donated per person is less than £20. That's not a lot to give in return for justice.

On Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal. I've seen a lot of tweets supporting this case - but usually from the same few people. If you're not one of them - and you are on Twitter - it doesn't take much effort and it could make a huge difference.

Post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge. I haven't seen many of these at all, and Facebook is far more influential than Twitter. I'd like to! If you do this, feel free to let me know.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

It would be easy to tell yourself that you've done your bit. After all, this campaign has been running for a few months and there's a new one to grab your attention.

That is how Ms Riley could win.

If you believe in justice - and if you're reading this, I know you do - then that's the last thing you want for this case.

Let's set a precedent for 2020 with a big boost - and keep it going.

Update 39

Mike Sivier

Dec. 24, 2019

Merry Christmas to everybody who has supported my campaign

This is not another appeal for cash.

It's just a quick note of thanks for all the support you have given me and my CrowdJustice campaign since it was launched.

Your help has meant I have been able to mount a defence against the libel proceedings launched against me by Rachel Riley - and I hope your support in the future will allow me to continue to do so, until her court action is defeated.

I hope you all have a very merry Christmas.

Update 38

Mike Sivier

Dec. 21, 2019

Don't expect the papers to report Riley libel trial straight

I finally got round to reading the Daily Mail's report of the court hearing in the Rachel Riley libel case on December 11 - and all I can say is: how disappointing!

The result of the hearing was that the judge rejected most of Ms Riley's claims about the meaning of my article, and the members of her legal team were told to go away and rethink their charges against me.

So why did the author of the Mail report lead on a claim that Ms Riley had been wrongly accused of being responsible for death threats against a teenage girl?

I don't think I even heard that claim being made in court; it is possible that it was implied - I put the likelihood no higher than that.

In fact, my article stated that I did not believe she had intentionally tried to get her followers to threaten the girl with death. I argued that she had been irresponsible and reckless, in that others seemed to have been encouraged to do so after reading her comments.

The Mail accurately reported that Ms Riley's lawyers argued that my article portrayed her as a hypocrite - but then, so did my own. That was the opinion my article was presenting.

And the judge, Mr Justice Nicklin, ruled that the article was a classic expression of opinion in that respect.

If this is the standard of journalism I can expect in reports of the case, then I can expect no justice from the mass media.

But then, we won't need to worry about what they say if I win the case; they will make themselves look foolish.

If you would like to see that happen, then please help my CrowdJustice campaign (or carry on helping, if you have done so already):

Please consider making a donation yourself via my CrowdJustice page - I know the Festive Season is upon us and cashflow can be difficult at this time, but when you are able, all contributions will be appreciated.

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

On Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

I've got the evidence I need but now I need to be able to afford the cost of getting it heard in court.

Update 37

Mike Sivier

Dec. 19, 2019

Libel case: The evidence is mounting up - against Rachel Riley

Last week's court hearing provided crucial guidance to the defence against cruel libel accusations by Rachel Riley.

Mr Justice Nicklin said my article had asserted that Ms Riley "has engaged upon, supported and encouraged a campaign of online abuse and harassment of a 16-year-old girl, conduct which has also incited her followers to make death threats towards her." 

So I have spent the last week looking up evidence to prove the claims in that sentence.

I have succeeded in that task - in all respects.

But having evidence is not enough.

It must be accepted as factually accurate by a High Court judge.

And to achieve that, I still need the funds to employ my legal team.

Last week's hearing produced a good result - but it was costly.

To succeed, we need to put a little more in the kitty.

Those of you who have been around since the start will probably know the next bit by heart, but please bear with me - and follow these instructions if you can:

Please consider making another donation yourself - I know the Festive Season is upon us and cashflow can be difficult at this time, but when you are able, all contributions will be appreciated.

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

On Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

Ms Riley has nothing to gain from this court case - unless she manages to prolong it beyond my ability to pay for my own defence.

I have maintained from the start that this is about wealth subverting justice; that Ms Riley thinks she can drain my funds so I cannot continue - and win by default what she cannot win by argument before a judge.

If you believe in justice - and I know you do - then I hope you can continue to prove her wrong.

Update 36

Mike Sivier

Dec. 12, 2019

Court hearing puts Mike at advantage in Riley libel case

A High Court judge has ruled that my article, which Rachel Riley claims libelled her, is a "classic expression of opinion".

The ruling puts Ms Riley in a very difficult position as it is now almost impossible for her to prove that it is defamatory.

She would have to find a way to show that I did not honestly hold the opinion I put forward - or that I wrote the article out of malice. Neither is possible, because I did honestly hold the opinion, and I didn't write it out of malice.

Now the not-so-good news:

Mr Justice Nicklin also ruled that my article says Ms Riley "has engaged upon, supported and encouraged a campaign of online abuse and harassment of a 16-year-old girl, conduct which has also incited her followers to make death threats towards her."

This, he said, was a statement of fact.

It means that I must prove that Ms Riley did those things.

I do not expect to have any trouble doing so, as I have evidence, and I have witnesses.

In other words:

My defence is now far more likely to succeed.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people who turned up to offer me good wishes on the day.

One was a gentleman who I discover is called Jon. I know his name because he promised to donate more to the crowd fund - and did so before I managed to get home. You can see what he has to say by finding him in the comments on the CrowdJustice site.

I was deeply grateful to hear those words at the end of the hearing, although that may not have been entirely clear as I was extremely tired from the stress of appearing in the High Court.

And I was doubly grateful to receive his donation. This campaign still needs cash as Ms Riley has not dropped her suit against me, even though it now seems clear that I am likely to win.

So, please bear with me while I appeal once again for funds:

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site. The address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

If you’re on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

If you use other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

And please consider making another donation yourself – or contributing for a first time, if you haven’t already.

One last thing: Ms Riley didn't bother to turn up to yesterday's hearing.

I know she's heavily pregnant and - charitably, it seems - thought that perhaps she had gone into Labour. Sadly, I read in the papers that this was not the case.

I wonder what her excuse was.

Update 35

Mike Sivier

Dec. 8, 2019

Three days to go: this could be your last chance to support my libel fight

If you've been following the progress of Rachel Riley's libel case against me, you'll know there's a TPI - that's "Trial of Preliminary Issues" - in the Royal Courts of Justice on Wednesday (December 11).

The issues under examination are what the words in my article that Ms Riley finds objectionable actually mean - and whether they constitute an expression of fact or a statement of opinion.

So this could be your last chance to contribute to the CrowdJustice fund before we begin the big climb to the main trial.

Are you going to help me out?

You probably know the routine by now but, just so there's no confusion, here's how you can help:

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site. The address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

If you’re on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

If you use other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

And please consider making another donation yourself – or contributing for a first time, if you haven’t already.

I'll post a full update after the hearing, of course.

Update 34

Mike Sivier

Nov. 30, 2019

Rachel Riley's STILL fighting Jeremy Corbyn with dodgy sources. Help me stop her

Rachel Riley tells us she can't sleep.

She'd have us believe it is because she is concerned about the possibility of a Jeremy Corbyn government on December 13 - and this makes sense.

It was her campaigning against Mr Corbyn that triggered the online tussle with a teenage girl that led to the libel case against me.

But Ms Riley chooses some strange allies. Consider:

The exchange that "gives" her "hope" indicates that Ms Riley supports the vague rant by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis last week, when he claimed - wrongly, as it turned out - that British Jews were afraid of a Corbyn-led Labour government.

No evidence was produced in support of this claim and we later discovered that Mr Mirvis is a staunch Conservative, a friend of Theresa May and Boris Johnson, and also a former resident of Israel who apparently supports the military subjugation of Palestinians - something Mr Corbyn strongly opposes as he advocates a peaceful solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Mr Corbyn has since received messages of support from other UK-based Jews and Jewish organisations. Those that have come from other rabbis have equal weight to the comments of Mr Mirvis as Jewish law provides no support for the position of a "Chief Rabbi" of higher rank than them; every rabbi has equal authority in principle and the position arises from secular administrative reasons including providing an intermediary between the government and the Jewish community.

I mention all this to demonstrate that Ms Riley relies on sources which, at best, could be described as questionable in her denunciations of Mr Corbyn.

This is exactly the reason a teenage girl suggested to Ms Riley that she should be "ashamed" of herself - that she had been sharing "awful" media.

The exchange that followed led to the girl saying she had received death threats from Ms Riley's followers.

Now, nearly a year later, we can see Ms Riley will keep acting in this provocative manner - unless, perhaps, she receives a reprimand from the courts.

That is what my case is all about.

She is trying to excuse herself for the abuse received by a teenage girl - with mental health issues - by trying to silence me.

Her method of silencing me isn't getting a judgement in court - it's an attempt to make justice too expensive for me, with a long-drawn-out series of court proceedings.

But I am close to winning and she knows it.

All I need is the funding to see it through.

And after more than £40,000 has been donated already, you wouldn't want me to fail for the lack of a little more, would you?

Here are the fiddly details once again:

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site. The address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

If you’re on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

If you use other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

And please consider making another donation yourself – or contributing for a first time, if you haven’t already.

Ms Riley says she is losing sleep because of the election.

Perhaps she would be better-occupied preparing to face me in court.

Update 33

Mike Sivier

Nov. 21, 2019

If you think Riley went too far with photoshopped T-shirt, support my court case

Rachel Riley may be facing problems of her own making, after she photoshopped an image of Jeremy Corbyn with a falsehood and put it on a T-shirt.

It seems she does not understand how offensive it is to over-write an image of him protesting against racism in South Africa (in 1984) with a proof-less claim that he himself is a racist.

It is behaviour like this that led to the libel case against me, of course. I wrote an article protesting after Ms Riley took issue with a teenage girl who criticised her attacks on Jeremy Corbyn (and others she considers anti-Semitic).

This unwarranted behaviour called the girl to the attention of certain followers of Ms Riley, who then subjected her to a torrent of abuse, including death threats.

Ms Riley took offense at my article and threatened to take me to court. My belief is that she thought she could bully me into paying her some money because I could not afford to defend myself.

Instead, I started this CrowdJustice page and you helped me fight back.

There could be no better demonstration of why I need to win this case than this latest incident. It is clear that Ms Riley will continue with this abhorrent behaviour unless she is made to face legal consequences for it.

I don't think there will ever be a better time for you to encourage other people to contribute to my appeal, so please forgive me for asking yet again:

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site. The address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

If you’re on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

If you use other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

And please consider making another donation yourself – or contributing for a first time, if you haven’t already.

Public opinion has taken a huge swing against Ms Riley. If people are told there is a court case involving her, I feel sure they will want to help.

Update 32

Mike Sivier

Nov. 16, 2019

We're close to funding our next court appearance. Will you get us over the line?

To everyone who contributed to the CrowdJustice site since my last update - thank you. We're more than £1,000 closer to funding the hearing on December 11.

I have also received a few hundred pounds in donations to Vox Political that I will put into the pot. But that means there's still more than £5,000 to raise.

Meanwhile, Ms Riley's behaviour gets stranger and stranger. Last week she managed to libel a solicitor who happened to have the same name as someone accused of anti-Semitism (see here). Informed of the blunder, she apologised, saying she did not want to spread untruths. You may find that a hard line to accept!

Since then, she supported the words of a Scottish priest who heckled Jeremy Corbyn, on the campaign trail, with the haggard old line that he is a terrorist sympathiser.

He turned out to be an anti-Semite (see here).

It seems clear that Ms Riley will continue in this manner until she is given a strong enough reason to stop.

A court defeat could be exactly such a reason.

But time is ticking down and if I can't fund my legal team at the next hearing, it's not going to happen.

So...

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site. The address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

If you’re on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

If you use other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

And please consider making another donation yourself - or contributing for a first time, if you haven't already.

This case is going our way. Let's keep the pressure up!


Update 31

Mike Sivier

Oct. 26, 2019

Positive result from first day in court - but it's not over!

The libel case against me finally arrived in court on October 25 - and the judge agreed with my approach.

Another judge had ordered a short directions hearing after Rachel Riley's representatives had objected to a proposal for a TPI - trial of preliminary issues - a hearing on the meaning of the words I wrote that Ms Riley claims were libellous, and on whether they count as assertions of fact or simply opinions based on the evidence available.

At the hearing, after considering my representative's submissions on case law, the judge ordered that the TPI would go ahead.

So we are back to facing the hearing we would have had earlier this month - going through the same process we proposed over the summer.

And there has been extra cost, of course.

So I have to appeal for you to keep the donations coming in. I have said all along that I think this case is a confrontation between my demand for justice and Ms Riley's wealth - that she thinks she can buy the result she wants by forcing me to spend all the money available to me before the evidence can be heard.

If that is her strategy, it may well succeed. Bear in mind that some of the total raised on this page has already been spent, and more will go soon.

Follow the following instructions, if you would still like to help me win:

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to this CrowdJustice site. The address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

If you’re on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

If you use other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

And if you can afford it, please consider pledging some cash yourself.

I have the arguments and I have the evidence. All I need is a chance to present them to a judge.

Update 30

Mike Sivier

Oct. 8, 2019

Court confrontation over Riley libel case is postponed

A preliminary court hearing to discuss the issues of a libel case brought against Vox Political's Mike Sivier by celebrity parlour game-player Rachel Riley has been postponed after a judge decided to have a short "directions" hearing instead.

The intention had been to hold a hearing on the meaning of the words I wrote that Ms Riley claims were libellous, and on whether they count as assertions of fact or simply opinions based on the evidence available.

It seems a judge has asked for a short additional hearing to decide exactly what happens next. He has cancelled a hearing that was due to take place on Friday (October 11) and called for another hearing to be arranged. As this is a purely mechanical matter - no evidence is to be heard, I will not have to attend.

It will be a further drain on funds. And any decision to hold multiple hearings when only one was expected will drain them even more.

So the message to my supporters is: please continue to donate to the CrowdJustice fundraiser.

I do not know how long the preamble to the case will be dragged out, but I am concerned that attempts will be made to fritter away the donations you have already made, in order to make me unable to afford to have the evidence heard. That would be an insult to justice, as I have said all along.

It seems this remains a case in which wealth is set against the facts; an attempt to buy justice by pricing it out of my range.

So I must again appeal for you to follow the following instructions, if you would like to help me win:

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to this CrowdJustice site. The address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

If you’re on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

If you use other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

And if you can afford it, please consider pledging some cash yourself.

We are approaching the sharp end of this matter now, although increasingly slowly, it seems. Let's make sure it goes all the way.

Update 29

Mike Sivier

Aug. 27, 2019

This phase of Mike's anti-libel crowdfunder is set to close soon. Donate now!

It seems the CrowdJustice site that has been running for the last few months is finally set to close.

With it ends the first phase of my campaign to raise cash to pay the legal eagles I need to beat the false claims against me - in or out of court.

The initial aim was to demonstrate to Rachel Riley, Tracy Ann Oberman and their solicitors that there was no truth in their claim that I had libelled them, and that there was no point in trying to take it to court.

This has fallen on deaf ears.

So the next phase will concentrate on ensuring we have enough cash to go into court and mount a defence that will convince a judge that my accusers don't have a leg to stand on.

We have almost enough to pay for a preliminary hearing, which may take place in the autumn. I won't know whether further hearings will take place until we get a ruling from the judge.

So please allow me to appeal, one last time, to your generosity. If you would like to help me win:

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to this CrowdJustice site. The address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

If you’re on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

If you use other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

And if you can afford it, please consider pledging some cash yourself.

Money isn't an issue for my opponents. They are trying to use my lack of it to bully me into giving up - in effect, to buy justice.

I find that attitude utterly repulsive, and I hope you do too.

So please help, while there's time.


Update 28

Mike Sivier

Aug. 19, 2019

A nasty reminder of why I am fighting a false libel claim

This Writer's fight against false libel claims by Rachel Riley isn't just about her, but also about defending myself against her cronies who think that bullying young people  - and using vile language to intimidate anybody - is acceptable behaviour.

I'm referring to the kind of people who sent death threats to a teenage girl with anxiety issues, making her afraid to leave her house after Ms Riley referred to her in some very unwise tweets.

I was reminded of their ways earlier today, after the celebrity David Schneider tweeted concerns about a Labour Party member who had been outed as an anti-Semite by a member of an anonymous troll network closely associated with Ms Riley. I tweeted a warning that these people were not to be trusted and that, in my opinion, they were contributing to any increase in anti-Semitism by their behaviour.

Think about it: If you were subjected to a false accusation of anti-Semitism by someone, and then to bullying by that person's followers, I think it would be enough to make you extremely unhappy with them. Add in the fact that they claim to be representing Jewish people, and it would be easy to let that... let's call it disgruntlement... spill over to become a generalised unhappiness with that entire social group.

Fortunately, both I and the young lady involved have avoided that. But you can appreciate that others may not be as even-handed about it.

Inevitably, given the nature of the conversation, somebody had to take issue with me - so I gave my reasons for reacting as I had:

harrytaylor: "The people firefighting are responsible for the fires, not the arsonists themselves.

"Got it, cheers."

Me: "No - they are themselves arsonists. Do not mistake anything they do with a genuine interest in combating anti-Semitism. They have a different agenda which is political; that is why the focus is unremittingly on the Labour Party."

This led to a dialogue in which the following happened:

harrytaylor: "A 5 sec glance at your feed tells me all I need to know. You're a Corbyn fan, you support Chris Williamson.

"Corbyn has decades of supporting people who wish to kill and spread hate about Jews. I'm happy to expand on this if you want to test my "ignorance"."

(((Fightingb4ck))): "Harry, I'm surprised you don't know Mike. He's one of those odd non jews who is obseessed with Jews whilst always claiming that he's an anti racist.  He has a particular problem with Jewish women, which is why he is being sued by them."

We may conclude that harrytaylor isn't interested in anti-Semitism - he wants to attack Jeremy Corbyn - and Chris Williamson - with false accusations.

And I know I don't have to explain to anybody here that (((Fightingb4ck)))'s tweet was entirely false (although the inclusion of the link to my CrowdJustice appeal was welcome and I hope people used it to donate).

The trouble is, it's an attempt to harm me and my credibility with lies.

Another anonymous troll also leapt in, tweeting "I don't know why you debate with that racist scumbag Sivier - racist c**** like him deserve just one kind of message. He is the most vile kind of BNP racist."

I suppose it's a relief that this person self-censored the 'C'-word. If I were someone who didn't have a website, they probably wouldn't.

This is the treatment dealt out to people like myself and others who support justice based on fact: evidence-free abuse.

I wonder if Ms Riley is proud of her supporters?

It all reminds me of the reasons I must fight her - and their - false claims. But I still need help to do it so I'm taking this opportunity to renew my appeal.

If you are willing to help me defeat the liars, you are invited to do one, some, or all of the following:

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to this CrowdJustice site. The address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

If you’re on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

If you use other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

And if you can afford it, please consider pledging some cash yourself.

It seems clear to me that these people aren't fighting against anti-Semitism; they're simply trying to upset people who support the current Labour leadership for political reasons of their own.

A court win might give them reason to reconsider their behaviour - but I can't make that happen without your help.

Update 27

Mike Sivier

Aug. 15, 2019

Here's why you should support Chris Williamson's legal fight against Labour

This may seem counter-productive as I am currently crowd-funding for a court case I have to fight later this year - but we need to stand together.

Chris Williamson MP's membership of the Labour Party has been re-suspended over accusations of anti-Semitism, in a move that he claims breaches party rules.

The trumped-up claim against him is very similar to the nonsense that was said about a teenage girl by Rachel Riley, about which I wrote an article that induced Ms Riley to sue me for libel.

I don't take kindly to false accusations. They bring British justice into disrepute - whether in court or in organisations like Labour.

So I'm calling on supporters of Vox Political to help Mr Williamson out - as many of you have helped me. You can read the details of his planned action by clicking on the link in this tweet:

https://twitter.com/CampaignForCW/status/1161306981677903874

As for my own crowdfunder...

I expected matters to go quiet over the summer, and they have - although there seems to have been an attempt by Ms Riley's lawyers to engage mine in a dialogue about the meaning of my article and whether parts of it were based on fact or opinion.

As my representatives tried to discuss these matters with them but heard nothing for two months until they filed proceedings with the court, I consider this to be an attempt to waste my money on costly legal letters.

It's the kind of trick we can expect from people who try to use wealth to buy justice.

If you don't like the idea of tactics like that, please join your contribution to my CrowdJustice campaign; I need a lot more cash to mount a really strong defence.

Here are the details:

If you haven’t done so already, please email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to this case. If you have, please email five more.

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge. The address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

If you’re on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

If you use other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

And if you can afford it, please consider pledging some more cash yourself.

Update 26

Mike Sivier

Aug. 7, 2019

Thanks sent to Rachel Riley after she inadvertently saved news website

The irony is strong in this one. Rachel Riley - yes, THAT Rachel Riley - thought she was signing the death warrant of lefty news site The Canary. Instead she gave it a new lease of life.

You may remember me writing that a shady organisation calling itself "Stop Funding Fake News" had persuaded enough advertisers to boycott The Canary that editor-in-chief Kerry-Anne Mendoza had been forced to seek an alternative way of financing the site.

(In fact, it seems this was an oversimplification. Changes to Google and Facebook algorithms had cut traffic to the site and advertising income was falling, along with the attack by people who opposed the site's politics.)

Ms Mendoza had appealed for 1,000 people to take out subscriptions to the site within six months, in order to keep the left-wing news site going.

Rachel Riley had issued a tweet rejoicing at what she considered to be the imminent demise of the site, and reader-response was enormous.

That's right - The Canary reached its target of 1,000 new subscribers after only two weeks.

And while some have considered it appropriate to send condolences to Ms Riley, I think it more appropriate to thank her for her contribution, without which it may have taken The Canary much longer to reach its target.

Thank you, Ms Riley! You are a great supporter of the New Left Media!

Many others have thanked her via Twitter already.

Seriously, though, Ms Riley's attempts to stifle independent news and commentary don't end there. As many readers know, she is currently suing me for libel and the case will go to court later this year.

I have been campaigning to raise funds to fight the allegation, on the CrowdJustice website, and this battle is still ongoing.

So, if you're not familiar with the details, please visit https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/ and find out what the fuss is about.

Then please email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to this case. If you have, please email five more.

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge. The address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

If you’re on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

If you use other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

And if you can afford it, please consider pledging some cash yourself.

Be part of the backlash against the bullies.

Update 25

Mike Sivier

Aug. 4, 2019

'Bad faith' bid to ruin left-wing website - from Mike's false libel accuser

This is poetic justice.

Yesterday (August 3), thousands of people saw a tweet from Canary editor-in-chief Kerry-Anne Mendoza, stating that false claims about that news site were being used to discourage advertisers and starve it of revenue in an attempt to put it out of business.

Guess who was spearheading this nasty little operation?

https://twitter.com/TheMendozaWoman/status/1157545827881181184

That's right - Rachel Riley, who is currently trying to sue This Writer for libel after I revealed the consequences of her own reckless behaviour on Twitter.

There seems to be a linking tactic here.

The organisation "Stop Funding Fake News" has persuaded several advertisers to boycott The Canary, in a bid to starve it of the cash it needs to function properly. Ms Riley's court fight against me appears to have the same aim - to deprive me of the funds I need in order to carry on writing Vox Political.

It's a 'bad faith' attack - an attempt to deceive you into disapproving of a reputable news site, solely on the word of people who only claim to be reputable themselves. Ms Riley's currency has been tarnished by her own behaviour and "Stop Funding Fake News" is a group of anonymous activists whose motivation cannot, therefore, be trusted.

I believe both these attacks are doomed to failure.

Ms Mendoza tweeted a thread about the threat to The Canary, as follows:

https://twitter.com/TheMendozaWoman/status/1157545842875785216

https://twitter.com/TheMendozaWoman/status/1157545865910923264

I was away from my desk yesterday and could not write an article in support. But I re-tweeted the appeal and I understand more than 1,500 others have done the same.

I can't speak for the others, but it seems my own contribution has helped somewhat. Here are some of the responses I've received, many from people who chose to respond directly to Ms Riley:

"They’re Newsguard trustmarked, independently regulated, we know who funds them & how they share that income. They’re open & accountable when they make mistakes. Is it really fake news or just news that doesn’t fit your agenda?"

"Thanks for highlighting this, I've just set up a direct debit to support @TheCanaryUK #forthemany NOT the privileged FEW."

"Thanks for bringing this to my attention. As a supporter of free speech I've now taken out a monthly subscription to support their new business model."

"Seems like this [has] backfired. Loads of people are subscribing with donations. Free and truthful left-wing media will survive despite your efforts. Well done."

"Never heard of the website so thanks for bringing it to my attention, am now a subscriber!"

"Thanks for the heads-up. Just subscribed."

"Had no idea this was happening. Just became a subscriber."

"Thank you for bring The Canary to my attention. My wife and I have just signed up for a monthly subscription. Because of your rampant foaming bitterness against free press many people have signed up."

If that's the response, just to my re-tweet, then it seems likely the Canary's future is secured. Ms Mendoza published this tweet a few hours after her original, which I consider very positive:

https://twitter.com/TheMendozaWoman/status/1157704160969670658

This is the way to beat operators like Ms Riley and behind-your-back campaigns like "Stop Funding Fake News" - by politely thanking them for drawing the matter to your attention, and then doing exactly the opposite of what they wanted.

And after saying that, it would be remiss of me to omit mention of my own campaign for funds to fight Ms Riley's hugely-expensive court case against me, based on a false claim that I have libelled her.

If you are unfamiliar with the details, they are here: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

I originally set - and hit - a target of £25,000 in donations, but the costs keep racking up because Ms Riley seems determined to take this matter all the way, despite the wealth of evidence against her.

I'm asking supporters to take one or more of several actions:

If you haven’t done so already, please email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to this case. If you have, please email five more.

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge, at the same address as above: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

If you’re on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

If you use other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

And if you can afford it, please consider pledging some more cash yourself.

The threat is obvious. The solution clear. And who wouldn't want to be part of the solution?

Update 24

Mike Sivier

July 29, 2019

CrowdJustice has extended Mike's anti-libel campaign again!

This is terrific news!

CrowdJustice has extended the campaign to raise funds for me to fight the false libel accusations by Rachel Riley and Tracy Ann Oberman. It will run for another month.

This means you can continue adding funds to the campaign throughout the summer and I can continue raising awareness about the issue, and carry on informing you about the latest developments.

I had no idea CrowdJustice was going to do this. I am delighted that the site's organisers have considered this campaign worthy of extension.

If you meet anybody who doesn't understand why I need the funds to get my case into court and defeat the libel action brought by Ms Riley, please direct them to her Twitter account - and also to Tracy Ann Oberman's.

Their behaviour on that platform should provide all the information anybody of good conscience really needs.

My campaign is still a few thousand pounds short of what we might call a comfort zone, so I still need you to help me out - if you're willing.

If you haven’t done so already, please email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to this case. If you have, please email five more.

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge. The address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

If you’re on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

If you use other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

And if you can afford it, please consider pledging some more cash yourself.

This campaign will now continue to run throughout the summer. Let's keep it going strong!

Update 23

Mike Sivier

July 28, 2019

This man is terminally ill - but is backing Mike's libel fight

This contribution to my CrowdJustice campaign to fight false claims of libel by Rachel Riley absolutely staggered me:

"I have a terminal illness and wish to do my bit. I hope that the case is resolved before the inevitable so I see the smirk wiped off Ms Riley's face."

What a stunning example to set - and right at the end of this phase of the fundraising campaign.

The bad news is that the current crowdfunding campaign will end on July 30. I'm hoping it will have raised £32,000 by the end.

At the moment, more than 1,150 people have contributed an average of £20 each to raise more than £31,700. I definitely think we can hit that final target.

Here's how we hit it:

If you haven’t done so already, please email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to this case. If you have, please email five more.

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge. The address is <a href="https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/">https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/</a>

If you’re on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

And if you can afford it, please consider pledging some more cash yourself.

Next time, I'll discuss the next steps.
Update 22

Mike Sivier

July 23, 2019

A hard 'SLAPP': Why helping Mike fight libel claim will stop abuse of the law

Have any of you heard of SLAPP before?

It's short for "Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation" and refers to lawsuits that are used to intimidate and silence journalists working in the public interest.

According to a recent letter in The Guardian, abuse of defamation law, including through SLAPP lawsuits, has become a serious threat to press freedom and advocacy rights in a number of countries, including the UK.

The legal claim against me, issued on July 9 by lawyers acting for Rachel Riley, is a clear example of a SLAPP lawsuit, in which a wealthy individual is apparently abusing the law in an attempt to silence a journalist and distract from the issues being discussed.

I wish I had known about the Guardian letter because I would have added my name to it.

It calls on the government to consider new legislation to prevent the abuse of defamation law to silence public interest reporting.

It also urges ministers to take a clear public stance condemning such practices and supporting investigative journalism and independent media. 

This ties in with the fact that I - an independent journalist (and carer) of limited means - am being sued by a very wealthy celebrity because UK defamation law allows it.

Ms Riley won't have to compensate me if her case is disproved (although she may face an order to pay a contribution toward my costs - which may come in handy if there is a shortfall between what I raise here and the cost of my defence).

In fact, it seems she won't lose anything more than dignity if she loses the case because she has taken out insurance against that eventuality.

I stand to win nothing. My case is purely defensive. I simply don't have the resources to mount a counter-claim (unless anyone knows better).

So, in the absence of laws to stop the wealthy abusing the justice system, I must rely on donations by members of the public - or I can't mount a defence.

Ms Riley seems to find this offensive. Apparently she considers this CrowdJustice campaign to be an aggravating factor in her case.

Personally, I think her case against me should be used as an aggravating factor in the evidence for reform to ban SLAPP lawsuits like this.

I also think the information above provides up to three good reasons for you to support me - and/or recruit other people to this valuable cause.

Guess what I'm going to ask you to do next?

If you haven’t done so already, please email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to this case. If you have, please email five more.

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge. The address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

If you’re on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

And if you can afford it, please consider pledging some more cash yourself.

You have done fantastically well so far. Let's keep it up - all the way to the end.

Update 21

Mike Sivier

July 23, 2019

Help Mike have his day in court - even if Rachel Riley doesn't want it

It seems clear Rachel Riley was hoping to bully me into submission before her excuse for a libel case ever got anywhere near a judge.

But now a courtroom clash between us is inevitable. She has filed proceedings and I have instructed my solicitors to respond.

The facts of the case will be heard by a judge - and by the national press, and it seems the general public may learn more about her than she would want.

If I win, she'll have to pay her legal team - and will probably have to pay a contribution to my costs.

In the unlikely event that I lose, she will still have to pay her legal team as I've hardly got a bean to my name. And, having suffered the bad publicity that a court hearing will generate, will she really take a chance on the public reaction when it is reported that she - a rich celebrity - is trying to drive a poverty-stricken carer into bankruptcy?

So I think I was right to believe this is a battle between wealth and justice - that she expected to win because I could not afford the expense of a court hearing.

The trouble is, I still can't afford it - yet. So Ms Riley may still have her way after all.

Everything depends on me being able to pay my legal team for a hearing.

We have already come a long way. Thanks to your help, my team has a case and we want it to be heard.

But we have to keep going - or wealth will defeat justice after all.

Will you take my appeal out again, to anyone who believes an honest man deserves a fair hearing?

You may know what comes next by heart:

If you haven’t done so already, please email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to this case. If you have, please email five more.

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge. The address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

If you’re on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

And if you can afford it, please consider pledging some more cash yourself (but don't feel bad if you can't - I'm grateful for everything you've alread done).

The more we raise, the better the chance of winning.

And you've done so much already, I think we all deserve that chance.

Update 20

Mike Sivier

July 21, 2019

Time is running out! Don't let a false claim win because these celebs are rich

Rachel Riley may be taking me to court but I have a plan to deal with it. I just don't have enough cash yet.

It must seem a strange thing to say after hitting the stretch target on this CrowdJustice campaign, but the simple fact is that Ms Riley hasn't seen sense and is taking this matter all the way - because she can afford it.

And we don't know whether Tracy Ann Oberman will launch a separate case of her own, once this gets started - in order to cost me even more money that I don't have.

You see how sinister this is? How it is possible for rich people to buy court rulings in their favour?

My legal team and I have a plan to cut this nonsense short - but it will cost anything up to £10,000 more than we have now.

It is possible to raise this money. After I announced that Ms Riley had launched court proceedings, we raised £10,000 in a week. But we can't do it without you.

And this CrowdJustice campaign will end in eight days (at the time of writing).

We are so close to shutting down this - let's face it - frivolous waste of court time. Let's make these people think again.

Here's the important information (again):

If you haven’t done so already, please email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to this case. If you have, please email five more.

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge. The address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

If you’re on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

And if you can afford it, please consider pledging some more cash yourself.

This is important to many, many people - more than 1,000 of you have contributed already and I'm told this suggests that many more people support my fight - or will, if they know about it. Please help make sure they know about it.

Update 19

Mike Sivier

July 15, 2019

Did Rachel Riley's 'Durham Miners' tweet upset you? Support Mike's libel fight!

Rachel Riley wants you to believe she has been wrongly targeted by me with a claim that she bullied a teenage girl. Read this tweet and consider who you believe is right.

Yup - she compared the Durham Miners' Gala with a meeting of the Ku Klux Klan.

And the organisers were not amused:

We're observing a pattern of behaviour that, in my view, is indefensible. That's probably why Ms Riley threatens litigation against anyone who points this out.

The Durham Miners' Association hasn't (at the time of writing) reached the point where court action is inevitable - but I have.

So if you know someone who has been infuriated by Ms Riley's treatment of the good people who organised, attended and performed at the Gala, please invite them to do one or all of the following:

Please email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to this case.

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge. Again, the address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

If you’re on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

And if you can afford it, please consider pledging some cash yourself.

It's only my personal opinion but I think that Ms Riley's behaviour is utterly unacceptable. If you agree, please spread the word about my campaign as widely as possible.

Update 18

Mike Sivier

July 15, 2019

If you hated the BBC's biased anti-Semitism doco, support Mike's libel fight!

My fight against Rachel Riley's libel accusations and the groundswell of rage against the BBC's hugely biased and unfair Panorama documentary, Is Labour Antisemitic?, have their roots in the same issue.

You can tell that they are related because the so-called whistleblowers who put their heads above the parapet to accuse Labour of anti-Semitism are now suing that party for libelling them in its response - using the same lawyer Rachel Riley hired to pursue me: Mark Lewis.

Labour's response stated: "It appears these disaffected former officials include those who have always opposed Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, worked actively to undermine it and have both personal and political axes to grind. This throws into doubt their credibility as sources."

If the party has evidence to support these claims, then they form a perfectly reasonable statement of opinion.

The status of these people as whistleblowers will be highly contentious as they have to fulfil certain criteria to qualify. Whistleblowing may be done to employers who have a policy on such matters; by seeking legal advice; or by telling a "prescribed" person or body that deals with the issue they are raising.

It seems unlikely that a BBC reporter will be among the "prescribed" people dealing with issues relating to anti-Semitism, although I am prepared to be proved mistaken if necessary.

To close the circle: I was the victim of allegations of anti-Semitism. During the course of an 18-month-long investigation, details of the claims against me were leaked to the press several times, including a false accusation of Holocaust denial for which The Sunday Times had to make a lengthy correction earlier this year.

Developments to do with the controversy over the BBC documentary lead me to believe that my details may have been leaked by one of the former Labour employees quoted by Panorama.

If this is true, then there can be no claim that the provision of that - false - information to a third party was justified. This also calls into doubt all the other information that was used, eventually, to expel me from the Labour Party.

I have already contacted Labour, seeking clarity on this matter.

If you were offended by the claims aired in the BBC documentary, and you want to do something to make your feelings known, then may I strongly suggest you contribute to my campaign fund to fight Ms Riley's libel claim against me?

There is a strong connection between the false anti-Semitism accusations made by the former Labour employees and the false anti-Semitism accusation that lies at the heart of Ms Riley's claim against me. Note that Mr Lewis is the solicitor in both matters.

A victory for me will give all those people second thoughts.

So:

If you haven’t done so already, please email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to this case.

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge. Again, the address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

If you’re on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

And if you can afford it, please consider pledging some more cash yourself.

If you believe in justice - and you think it is being subverted - then it is time to make a difference. Your donation could do that.

Update 17

Mike Sivier

July 13, 2019

Little things can make a huge difference - especially in Mike's libel case

The CrowdJustice campaign raising funds to fight libel claims against me (Mike Sivier) by Rachel Riley and Tracy Ann Oberman has reached - and passed - its stretch target of £25,000. Thanks and well done, everyone!

Sadly Ms Riley has filed court proceedings individually and this means I need at least £10,000 more, in order to mount a successful initial defence. I may need much more later, if this celebrity persists in trying to prove that she has enough money to silence me.

(Because, let's face it, she doesn't have a case. She did what I said she did, and it had the consequences I described. Her entire strategy is to price me out of justice with expensive proceedings.)

That's why I am so grateful that more than 1,000 people have stood up to support me, with average donations of around £25.

But I wanted to say that the smaller donations are just as important as the larger ones. They show that justice has popular support.

That's why I have been dismayed to read some of the self-deprecating comments attached to the smaller donations: "Sorry I can't pledge more", "Wish I could give more", "It's all I can afford".

Those donations are just as valuable to me as the large amounts. Those of you who are digging deep to find something to give clearly value what I'm doing very much - and that is hugely important to me, and to this case.

It has been said that good journalism isn't writing what those in power want people to read - that's public relations. Good journalism is publishing what they don't want you to know.

It is hugely important to be able to demonstrate that people of all walks of life - especially those who don't have much to spare - value this.

If you can't afford more than a fiver - so what? If I had 1,000 such donations, I'd be halfway towards the sum I need to mount a successful defence against Ms Riley at the forthcoming preliminary hearing.

I would hate to think people were being put off because they don't think they can give enough.

So now I have to take you all back to the usual instructions:

If you haven't done so already, please email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to this case. If you have, please email five more.

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge. Again, the address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

If you're on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

And if you can afford it, please consider pledging some more cash yourself.

Super-rich Rachel Riley wants more than £100,000 from me - despite the fact that I'm a carer with hardly two beans to rub together - not for justice but because she thinks she can. You are helping prove her wrong with your donations - no matter what the amount may be.

Update 16

Mike Sivier

July 12, 2019

Mrs Mike's emotional support for Vox Political writer against Riley lawsuit

Those of you who follow my Vox Political website will be aware that I am a carer for a person with a long term illness and disabilities - and I have to report that she isn't happy.

I don't think there's much to say beyond her own words, so her she is:

"Woke up bad after Mike got his letter saying Rachel Riley is taking him to court for standing up for a teenage girl she bullied.

"All I was thinking was what if he loses, what's going to happen to us, and it brought me down. It made me feel very anxious, on top of my own problems, and I just felt crap.

"I thought, I've been doing better every day lately, now I've come down again and it's putting extra strain on things but I'm also angry about people calling Mike a liar.

"He always checks the facts and he always does what's right so when I woke up I talked to him about it, and he asked if I wanted him to give up. NO!

"I'm too angry with her and the fact that she can't see what she's doing wrong."

So there you have it.

Mrs Mike suffers with anxiety-related illnesses - so she sympathises with the teenager Ms Riley bullied for obvious reasons.

I was grateful when she said I must keep fighting - more so when she started getting responses like this:

"I've never known Mike to lie about anything ever + I've known him about 15-20yrs he's a good + kind man luv to u both xx"

But I need funds, otherwise my fight will fall flat.

It's only two days since Ms Riley filed court proceedings against me and already my appeal is nearly £5,000 richer - but libel cases are fantastically expensive.

I hate to ask for more because it seems too much to ask, but there's nothing else for it. Get ready for the hard sell:

If you haven’t done so already, please email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to this case. If you have, please email five more.

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge. Again, the address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

If you’re on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

And if you can afford it, please consider pledging some more cash yourself.

You have already shown me that you want me to keep fighting.

I need to be able to take this fight to the finish.

Update 15

Mike Sivier

July 11, 2019

Riley's followers try to 'dogpile' Mike over CrowdJustice page

In my previous update, I drew your attention to the fact that Rachel Riley's solicitor reckons my CrowdJustice page is an "aggravating" factor in the libel she reckons I have committed against her.

This information comes in a letter that doesn't actually assert that any of my claims about her are untrue.

Apparently my mention of the facts of the case here means the upset and harm caused to her was "greatly exacerbated".

It's nice to know this page is so popular (and it certainly does seem to be, as I'll explain shortly).

Her supporters' club - a network of Twitter trolls, mostly anonymous - was certainly watching when I reported that Ms Riley had filed proceedings against me. And they were desperate to put people off donating to my cause.

"Hey if you want to prove a fool and his money are easily separated then fund this racist who was expelled from labour. That’s right to [sic] antisemitic even for them," tweeted an anonymous troll calling him/herself 'The Caped Joo Sader. And he tagged in Ms Riley and Tracy Ann Oberman for good measure.

It was an obvious attempt to discourage you from helping me - and part of an attempted 'dogpile' - in which a co-ordinated group of Twitter trolls gang up on a victim and abuse that person in such a way that no response is possible.

And it failed spectacularly.

My appeal has gained more than £3,000 - in hundreds of new donations - in the slightly-more-than-24-hours since my last report.

I think the reason is clear from the following comment, made by a donor who shall remain heroic: "Solidarity! More people are rooting for you than you'll ever hear about."

I'm extremely grateful for every penny - and I need them all. With the next stage of this affair likely to cost more than £20,000 alone, I need at least another £13,000 to mount an effective defence.

So I have to repeat my appeal:

If you haven't done so already, please email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to this case. If you have, please email five more.

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge. Again, the address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

If you're on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

And if you can afford it, please consider pledging some more cash yourself.

Ms Riley wants to claim damages of £50,000, with more than £100,000 likely in costs - for the heinous crime of telling the world what she has done. Let's send her a clear message in response.

Update 14

Mike Sivier

July 9, 2019

Rachel Riley launches court proceedings - donate to the defence fund now!

Rachel Riley has filed proceedings against me for libel. She wants £50,000 plus costs - and her costs are likely to be a six-figure sum - along with an injunction for me not to repeat the claims against her that you can find here.

That is a terrifying amount of money for a person of modest means to face. Remember what I've been saying all along - that this is a matter of wealth trying to beat justice? I think that particular case has been proved.

She is also claiming that this crowdfunding page is an aggravating factor - that my appeal for help after she tried to bully me with her overwhelmingly superior funds has made matters worse. How do you feel about that?

She can only take money from me if she wins, though. And she won't win in court.

But we need to make sure this case gets to court.

Costs for a preliminary hearing are likely to be more than £20,000 - and after the work my legal team has done already, my fund stands at only a little more than £4,000.

So I need a bit of help.

I'm going to scrape around my savings and put everything I can into the fund, and I'm appealing for you to find whatever you can spare, to help get this into court - and then have Ms Riley's case struck out.

I can't go into the details, for obvious reasons, but my prospect of winning is good. So please help make it better.

You may be familiar with the following requests:

If you haven't done so already, please email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to this case.

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge. Again, the address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

If you're on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

And if you can afford it, please consider pledging some more cash yourself.

I have spent the last few months urging others facing the same accusations to hold their nerve, and now I need to hold mine.

Your continued support will help me do that.

Update 13

Mike Sivier

June 27, 2019

Musician's apology proves this fight is about wealth v justice

Today a musician from the band Reverend & the Makers caved to pressure from the legal team representing Rachel Riley and Tracy Ann Oberman and apologised for commenting on the issue for which they have been trying to sue me for libel.

I'm not going to comment on the text of Jon McLure's apology because it won't have been written by him.

I can tell you that I know why he made it: He had been so badly intimidated by the threat of court action by the Riley/Oberman legal team that he said he was becoming ill.

He told me, and others, he felt he was drowning, and could not handle a court case.

So he gave these people exactly what they wanted - an apology, and financial reward, without the exposure that court would have cost them.

He didn't have the cash to fight a legal action, he said. The complainants did, of course.

Mr McLure is not to be criticised for his actions. His health was at risk.

And his story shows the situation is exactly as I have stated since I started this crowdfunding campaign: This is an attempt by wealthy people to create a false impression of their own virtue by abusing the justice system to intimidate people who don't have as much money as them.

Put simply, this is a battle between wealth and justice - and in the case of Mr McLure, justice has lost.

I have no intention of buckling in the face of such appalling behaviour.

If anything, it merely illustrates most graphically the reason for donating to my campaign.

So please forgive me for repeating what I have stated many times before:

If you haven't done so already, please email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to this case.

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge. Again, the address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

If you're on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

And if you can afford it, please consider pledging some cash yourself.

Please don't let the wealthy abuse the justice system to make more cash - and spread flattering falsehoods about themselves.

Update 12

Mike Sivier

June 20, 2019

No news is BAD news for Mike's libel defence - so please donate!

It is nearly two months since I or my solicitors heard anything from those acting for Rachel Riley and Tracy Ann Oberman in their false claim of libel against me.

This does not mean they have given up. In fact, I think they are waiting to find out the result of my crowdfunding appeal before deciding whether to file proceedings against me.

It is a financial consideration, you see; it has nothing to do with whether I wrote anything defamatory about the two complainants - and we all know that I didn't, in any case.

I think they are waiting to see if I will have raised enough money to be able to defend myself against them in an expensive court case.

At the time of writing, it seems likely that I will not. Libel cases are incredibly expensive and donations to my CrowdJustice appeal have slowed to a trickle.

So my appeal today is for you to ask yourself: Do I want these two people to win, just because they are filthy rich? Am I happy to watch British justice lowering itself to the gutter in that way? Or will I do what I can to make sure that this does not happen?

Those of you who have donated already - many times, in some cases - have already done more than most. But you are best-placed to get the message out to the widest possible number of potential doners.

Here comes the important part that you may have read many times before:

If you haven't done so already, please email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to this case.

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge. Again, the address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

If you're on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

If the complainants file proceedings after this appeal closes, it will be too late for you to donate.

Please help give them a good reason to think twice about it.

Update 11

Mike Sivier

June 12, 2019

Libel case against Mike could drag on for another year so please donate

I have good news and bad news.

The good news is that neither I nor my solicitors have heard anything from those acting for Rachel Riley and Tracy Ann Oberman since late April. We sent a letter in early May that has received no response.

This suggests that they may have decided not to take any further action - and this would make sense as a court trial would involve discussion of the complainants' behaviour that would certainly prove to be deeply embarrassing to them.

The bad news is that the rules mean they may hold the threat of a trial over me until May 2020.

They have one year from the date I published my article to issue their claim form - and four months in which to issue it after that date.

This means I need to keep my defence fund topped up - which means I must ask you to keep donating to it and keep sharing the appeal so other people can find out about it and make their own contribution.

The response since I started this appeal has been overwhelming. I have no doubt that the fact it has received nearly 1,000 individual donations has given my opponents cause to reconsider their approach.

If they thought public opinion would be on their side, it seems clear they were wrong.

And as further posts on Twitter are solidifying views against them, it seems unlikely that public opinion will swing into their favour.

But I must plan for the possibility that they will continue their attack anyway.

Those of you who have been following this matter from the start may know the following by heart:

If you haven't done so already, please email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to this case.

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge. Again, the address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

If you're on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

It seems we have the initiative at the moment. Let's not lose it.

Please help ensure this nonsense is squashed.

Update 10

Mike Sivier

June 6, 2019

Another own goal for Rachel Riley and her impressionable friends

One would have thought a woman who is keen to take dozens of people to court for libelling her would be more circumspect about defaming someone else, but that seems not to be the case for Rachel Riley and Tracy Ann Oberman.

It seems they have swallowed a Guido Fawkes fabrication about Jeremy Corbyn hook, line and sinker.

The Fawkes blog has published a smear piece for the D-Day 75th anniversary commemorations, claiming that Mr Corbyn endorsed calls for the UK to disarm during World War II, in an article he wrote in 2003.

But it neglects to mention that Mr Corbyn was reviewing a book about the late Labour MP George Lansbury, who did indeed call for disarmament at an alarming moment in history.

So Mr Corbyn did quote extracts from George Lansbury: At the Heart of Old Labour, as he does here and as Guido quotes: “As war broke out in 1939 he wrote ‘I am also quite certain that the first great nation that declares its willingness to share the world’s resources, territories and markets and also disarms will be the safest in the world’

But he also wrote - omitted by Guido: “George lived out his years in frenetic activity for peace travelling across Europe and the United States preaching pacifism and calling for a world conference on economic justice. He controversially met both Hitler and Mussolini in this effort, to no avail. The dogs of war were already out”. That is hardly a ringing endorsement for Mr Lansbury's approach.

The paragraph that Guido claims shows Mr Corbyn's support for George Lansbury's views was in fact referring to the book, not the man: “I hope Tony Blair, on his travels on behalf of George Bush, reads at least that part of this wonderful work.

It was a comment on the book - and a dig at the warmongering of the then-Labour leader, who at the time was heavily involved in military adventures in the Middle East that ended up causing nothing but more trouble.

Ms Riley failed to check the context and swallowed Guido's story whole:

This is a woman, let's not forget, who is currently suing Labour officer Laura Murray for defamation over her tweet following the egg attack on Jeremy Corbyn in March, in which she endorsed the opinion "If you don't want eggs thrown at you, don't be a Nazi" with the words "Good advice". She is claiming that Ms Murray's observation that she was calling Mr Corbyn a Nazi is "an appalling distortion of the truth", we are told.

Yet her own Twitter feed shows her supporting an appalling distortion of the truth by the Guido Fawkes blog.

And so, it seems, did Ms Oberman.

If you can find the relevant tweets on their respective Twitter feeds, look at the number of people who have supported Ms Riley and Ms Oberman - more than 478 in the former case, 247 in the latter. That's a lot of gullible people who have been taken in by a lie - because people they revere have repeated it?

Fuller details of this affair may be found on Zelo Street.

These are the people who are trying to sue me for defamation. If you think they should not be allowed to get away with it - which seems clear from this evidence alone - please contribute to my defence fund. They have wealth; I do not.

If you haven’t done so already, please email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to this case.

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge. Again, the address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

If you’re on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

Don't let them buy a win if you don't think they deserve it.

Update 9

Mike Sivier

June 4, 2019

Funds are rolling in but Riley is on her way to court

Nearly £1,000 has been added to my appeal for funds to fight false libel claims by Rachel Riley and Tracy Ann Oberman, since CrowdJustice extended the campaign by 30 days.

We now have nearly £16,000. It's a brilliant start to the extension period and a huge step towards the stretch target of £25,000.

And it may be vital. Last weekend it was revealed that Ms Riley is launching court action for libel - against a Labour Party officer who drew what many consider to be a logical conclusion about one of her tweets.

Is Ms Riley likely to win? I don't think so. But it shows that she will go through with her threats of litigation.

So let's make sure that, if she tries it on me, she has a fight on her hands.

Followers of this issue will know that I believe the complainants in this case are hoping I will not be able to raise enough money to put up a reasonable defence against them, while they have the advantage of substantially larger cash reserves.

This is a battle between wealth and justice, with wealth being used to hide the facts.

Please help ensure that the facts cannot be denied.

If you haven't done so already, please email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to this case.

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge. Again, the address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

If you're on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

Every penny helps. Every share on the social media helps. Please help.

Update 8

Mike Sivier

May 30, 2019

New lease of life for Mike's libel defence appeal

Just when I was getting ready to admit defeat, CrowdJustice has granted my funding campaign an extra 30 days.

The appeal - for funds to fight false allegations of libel by TV personalities Rachel Riley and Tracy Ann Oberman - had raised £15,000 of its £25,000 "stretch" target, and I thought that was a very good result.

After all, I'm not a well-known celebrity - just a minor internet political commentator - and I had been accused by hugely-popular media darlings.

So 60 per cent of the "stretch" target, in the fact of determined attempts by some of their supporters to deny my claims and belittle my case, seemed an excellent result.

Would it be enough? I doubted it.

But it was a declaration that many people - nearly 1,000 - are not prepared to let wealthy celebrities make a mockery of the British justice system and it gave me hope that my opponents in this matter might reconsider their apparent plan to use their financial resources to stifle the facts.

And then I received an email from CrowdJustice saying my appeal would be automatically extended for another 30 days.

Now it is possible that we can reach that £25,000 target after all.

If you haven't done so already, please email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to this case.

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge. Again, the address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

If you're on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

I'm sure there are many more people who would be willing to help this struggle for justice against privilege.

Please help me find them - because I'm still determined not to apologise to two bullies for the results of their own ill-advised acts.

Update 7

Mike Sivier

May 26, 2019

New developments mean Mike's libel defence needs your support!

With just three days left in my crowdfunding appeal, my case is still developing and funds are still desperately needed.

I'm not at liberty to say what the latest developments are, but they are highly encouraging.

And this means that the need for funds to ensure this case can be heard is as great as ever.

If you haven't done so already, please email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to this case.

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge. Again, the address is <a href="https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/">https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/</a>

If you're on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

The people who accused me of libel are continuing to behave in the same way that caused me to write about them in the first place.

They need to be sent a message - that what they are doing is wrong and that they must stop.

They won't do it of their own accord.

Please help me to make them see reason.

Update 6

Mike Sivier

May 25, 2019

Another milestone for Mike's libel defence appeal

My appeal for funds to fight false libel accusations by Rachel Riley and Tracy Ann Oberman reached another landmark yesterday: £14,000 raised!

I'm hugely grateful to the many hundreds of people who have contributed.

And with five days left before the end of the appeal, it is still possible to raise a significant amount more.

So please keep spreading the word, and encouraging as many people as possible to help

To recap: I have been accused of libel by TV personalities Rachel Riley and Tracy-Ann Oberman after I published an article criticising their characterisation of a teenage girl with anxiety issues as an anti-Semite. The girl suffered harassment and intimidation as a result of their attention.

All the details are on this CrowdJustice page, so please make sure as many people as possible get to see the link: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

I'm not going to apologise to two bullies for the results of their ill-advised actions.

But the legal bill they are forcing on me, to fight the nonsense of a case they are making against me, would be crippling for a person of my limited means.

They know this. It seems to me that they are deliberately targeting people like myself, who have little money, with the cynical intention of embroiling us in legal proceedings that will cost more than we can afford, in order to force us into giving up and paying them money they do not deserve.

That is not justice. That is abuse of the justice system.

So I launched a crowdfunding appeal on the CrowdJustice website - initially aiming to raise £5,000 towards my own legal fees (I have already put £5,000 of my own money towards my defence).

Thanks to the generosity of the public, that £5,000 target was reached in a single day.

There's a "stretch" target of £25,000. Can it be reached in five days? I don't know.

Let's try.

If you haven't done so already, please email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to this case.

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge. Again, the address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/ 

If you're on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

This is a struggle between wealth and justice.

Let's make sure justice wins.

Update 5

Mike Sivier

May 18, 2019

Are supporters of my accusers invading my privacy to threaten me?

Here's a strange thing. I've started receiving emails from someone claiming to have infected my computer with a virus.

That's all I know as I found them in my junk mailbox and didn't open them. I deleted them instead.

Presumably there's a threat to do some kind of harm to my system, or to publish secrets that I don't want people to know, if I don't cough up some cash. There's always a threat of some kind involved in these things.

As I say, I deleted the messages so I don't know what it was. It's my policy, for reasons that should be obvious.

But then I thought: "Why now?"

We know that supporters of the two TV personalities who are alleging libel against me are skilled in tracking down people they want to target.

Those people, their relatives and friends, employers, and the heads of academic institutions where some are studying have been contacted with malicious messages. That fact is one aspect of my case.

I heard tonight that one person lost their job because of the lies these people peddle.

That revelation made me question whether the emails I had received might have been sent by supporters of my opponents, with the intention - at the very least - of knocking me off-balance; re-directing my concentration away from the case.

I wonder if those responsible will take this any further.

I wonder, also, if right-thinking people are prepared to accept that supporters of my opponents are invading the privacy of strangers in order to harm them.

Are you?

If not, I've got a remedy: Support my crowdfunding appeal so I can defend myself against the false claims levelled against me.

I cannot win this case on my own and the amount raised so far - while impressive - isn't enough to see a court case through to its conclusion.

Think of it this way: If you say something these people don't like, you could be next on their list.

And that is not a welcome thought!

If you have already contributed, please don't feel pressured into doing so again unless you genuinely have the spare cash to justify it. If you haven't - and you can - please do.

And please share the web address of the crowdfunding appeal - https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/ along with this message. Too few people know about this! We need the world to know what's happening here.

Update 4

Mike Sivier

May 16, 2019

Libel defence appeal is halfway to deadline - and bang on target!

Today I get to send heartfelt thanks to everybody who has donated to my libel defence appeal - nearly 700 of you!

You have raised more than half the "stretch" target of £25,000 - and in half the time allocated by the kind people at CrowdJustice to achieve it.

So we're exactly on course to reach that target!

I am extremely grateful - especially as these funds are already being used.

Crowdjustice has sent slightly more than £8,000 - nearly two-thirds of the total raised so far - to my solicitor, to fund vital work on the case.

Besides paying the cost of corresponding with the solicitor acting for the TV personalities who are accusing me, it will also be used to secure expert advice from a barrister on the merits of my case - and to obtain evidence from witnesses.

But you can see that, even though those of you who donated to the fund have achieved so much, there is a lot left to be done. I am left with slightly less than £5,000 - and it will be extremely difficult to mount an effective defence with only this much, if the case is brought to court.

So, please - if you haven't donated yet, please do. Every contribution, from the largest to the smallest, will help win this case for justice.

If you have donated already, please share information about the appeal on the social media you use, so that people who may not know about the case can come to https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/ and (hopefully) make their own contribution.

I've said it before but it bears repeating: This case pits justice against wealth. I have the facts of the case in my favour - but my opponents have money. It seems they are hoping I run out of funds before the facts can be aired in court.

I think that is an abuse of the justice system.

If you agree, please help: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/ 

Update 3

Mike Sivier

May 13, 2019

Mike's libel defence: Don't let the bullies win with lies

I read an iNews article saying Rachel Riley and Tracy Ann Oberman "have called out antisemitism" - but that's not all they do, as we know.

They use the cover of "calling out antisemitism" to bully perfectly innocent people, such as myself and the teenage girl at the centre of the libel case I'm fighting.

The mainstream media don't see it that way, because they don't have any verifiable information to prove it.

That is another reason this case is so important.

It provides undeniable evidence of their unacceptable behavioiur.

And it also shows that they were quite happy for their followers to intimidate the people they picked on.

If you have contributed to my appeal, then you may have received a communication via Twitter, Facebook, or even one of the smaller social media platforms, suggesting that I'm a horrible person and you shouldn't have given me any money.

It's how they work - bullying, intimidation, pressure.

And it may be working for them. Donations have certainly tailed off over the last few days.

But I need the money as much as ever. I don't have a large TV company salary to splash around on my defence.

All I have is hard evidence of what these individuals have done. And I want the world to see it - especially mass media publications like iNews.

So, please, make a donation. Even if - especially if - you have been contacted and discouraged from doing so.

Don't let the bullies win because of lies.

And don't let them win because you forgot to tell your friends!

You can do this several ways:

  1. Email five friends who may be sympathetic, and encourage them to donate.
  2. Share the campaign on Facebook: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/
  3. Tweet the campaign link to your followers.

Supporters of this campaign have done fantastically well so far - but there's still a long way to go and we're a long way from our target.

Together, we can make it.

Update 2

Mike Sivier

May 8, 2019

This is why your donations are so vital to Mike's libel defence

I heard from my solicitor today.

He has been trying to find a barrister we could pay to provide an expert opinion on the defence I'm putting forward against the false accusations of libel that have been made by Rachel Riley and Tracy Ann Oberman, and has offered me two choices.

One would cost most of the money that has been raised by my crowdfunding appeal so far. The other would require me to raise thousands more than I already have.

And then I may need even more cash to fund these lawyers' fees at court!

It is a wise move to have this advice as it could open up "no win, no fee" funding and/or insurance to protect me against the claimants' costs in the unlikely event that I lose.

This is why it is so important to raise as much cash as is humanly possible.

The case against me is flimsy, but my opponents are celebrities - which means they are extremely well-financed. I am not. We believe they are hoping I run out of money before the case reaches court and their behaviour is scrutinised - minutely - in the glare of the national media spotlight.

Please ask yourself: Do you want these people to have a free rein to perpetuate falsehoods - and to bully people like you into accepting them - because too few people thought it was worth supporting a strong defence against them?

This is a conflict between wealth and justice. It is winnable - but only if the arguments are heard.

Donations to the appeal are approaching another milestone figure - £10,000. And only a few hundred people have donated.

This case could be vital for thousands, but they probably don't even know about it.

Please tell them about it - any way you can. Email everyone in your address book; put it out on your Facebook page - and on any other pages where you think it would be relevant to other users; tweet about it on Twitter; and put it out on the other social media platforms you use.

And please add another donation yourself, if you can manage it.

This is about the people standing up to the privileged. Where do you stand?

Update 1

Mike Sivier

May 6, 2019

Massive support for Mike's libel defence fund!

What a difference a few days can make!

When I started this fundraising campaign, I thought it would be hard to reach even the initial target by the deadline. It was reached - and exceeded - the day after the appeal started.

And now, just six days into this campaign, you have helped raise more than one-third of the "stretch" target of £25,000.

I'm extremely grateful - but the campaign needs more. Let me tell you what I'm doing with the money:

My solicitors are already in contact with the representative of Ms Riley and Ms Oberman and are impressing on all concerned that their case lacks substance.

We also intend to use your money to seek the opinion of a specialist counsel. This will allow me to decide how best to use further funds that you raise to help me defend the facts.

And I will need more. We're still a long way away from the target - but you've made a great start.

Please keep giving if you can - and keep sharing this campaign with friends and contacts who may also wish to donate.

I'll keep you informed of further developments.

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