An argument between Countdown co-host Rachel Riley and a political blogger over an article accusing her of participating in an “online abuse and harassment campaign” against a teenager has reached the Court. Supreme.
iley is suing Michael Sivier, who published an article on the Vox Poli website on January 26, 2019 titled “Serial abuser Rachel Riley for ‘extra protection’ – on the grounds that she is abused”.
The article discusses tweets posted as part of an online debate about anti-Semitism within the Labor Party, some of which were exchanged between Riley and a user, who identified himself as Rose, then 16 years old, in December 2018 and January 2019.
Earlier, a judge found that Mr Sivier’s article would be read as claiming Ms Riley “participated in, supported and encouraged an online campaign of abuse and harassment of a 16-year-old girl”, Riley said. denied the allegation.
The blogger is defending the claim by arguing that he has a “reasonable belief” that publishing the statements in the article is in the public interest.
At High Court in London on Monday, Riley said the amount of abuse she received had increased dramatically since January 9, 2019.
“That’s when the floodgates open,” she said. I changed my Twitter settings after that week because it was so horrible.”
She continued: “That’s all the abuse I’ve received, that Channel 4 has received.”
David Mitchell, because of Sivier, then accused Riley of having double standards.
He said: “When it comes to your political opponents… You can accuse them of anti-Semitism or whatever you see fit, but those standards don’t apply to you or anyone you consider your political ally.”
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Riley said the claim was “nonsense”, adding: “When someone is not anti-epidemic, it is not a double standard to say that person is not anti-epidemic.”
Mr. Mitchell also argued that Riley had not provided any evidence that she had faced serious harm in connection with the article.
“The claimant has a reputation for being controversial and strongly offensive.
“It cannot be denied that the defendant’s publication can cause or is likely to cause serious damage to this reputation.”
However, John Stables, representing Riley, said the allegations made public by Mr Sivier had seriously harmed Ms Riley.
“Given the gravity of the allegations against the claimant and the extent of their publication, the objectively identifiable harm caused by the defendant’s publication is so great that it easily exceeds past the critical injury threshold,” he said in the submission.
Mr. Sivier initially defended the libel claim on the basis of facts and honest opinions as well as the public interest.
In January 2021, Mrs Justice Collins Rice removed all three of Mr Sivier’s defenses, finding they had “no prospect” of success in a full trial.
However, Mr. Sivier won a challenge in the Court of Appeal four months later, finding that his defense of the public interest should be assessed at a trial.
Justice Steyn’s trial will end this weekend and a decision is expected at a later date.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/television/tv-news/libel-trial-between-countdowns-rachel-riley-and-blogger-reaches-the-high-court-41848680.html Defamation trial between Countdown’s Rachel Riley and blogger goes to the Supreme Court