Banks v Cadwalladr Appeal Hearing Next Week

The High Court gave Arron Banks permission to proceed with an appeal against the strange libel claim ruling given to Carole Cadwalladr. The appeal hearing this coming Tuesday will focus on whether the threshold for “serious harm” inflicted by Cadwalladr’s TED talk needed to be reassessed since Banks had previously proved it.

Banks’ KC is arguing:

“The claimant succeeded in discharging the burden of establishing that the publication complained of had caused and was likely to cause serious harm to his reputation. At that point, it was for the defendant to demonstrate that she had a defence to the original publication and/or its continuing publication.”

It was a very odd ruling; even though Banks won the claim that he was defamed, the judged ruled that it was of little consequence and awarded no damages. In her ruling she stated:

“it may reasonably be inferred that the vast majority of the defendant’s followers on Twitter “are likely to be persons within her own echo chamber” and “it’s probably right that they wouldn’t have thought very much of [the claimant] by that time”. In my judgment, those within the jurisdiction to whom the Tweet was published are likely to consist of people whose opinion of the claimant was of no consequence to him.

The claimant’s case on this issue is essentially dependent on drawing an inference of serious harm from the combination of the gravity of the imputation and the extent of publication. While I have been persuaded, on balance, to draw such an inference in relation to the TED Talk, in my judgment, the claimant has not established that the Tweet caused (or is likely to cause) serious harm to Mr Banks’s reputation.”

In other words, Carole Cadwalladr’s #FBPE echo chamber on Twitter constantly repeating deranged allegations does not constitute “serious harm”. “Defamatory tweets don’t matter” is an extraordinary ruling in an age where social media dominates public discourse.

After that ruling, Guido drew attention to some of the judge’s own tweets and her Brexit-hating, LibDem husband. This appeal will be legally interesting.

mdi-timer 3 February 2023 @ 16:39 3 Feb 2023 @ 16:39 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
High Court Grants Permission for Banks to Appeal Cadwalladr Verdict

The High Court has given Arron Banks permission to proceed with an appeal against his libel claim loss to Carole Cadwalladr. Banks appealed the verdict on five counts, with Justice Steyn today granting appeal permission on one count she claimed has a “real prospect of success” – on whether the threshold for “serious harm” inflicted by Cadwalladr’s TED talk needed to be reassessed since Banks had previously proved it.

Banks’ QC said:

“The claimant succeeded in discharging the burden of establishing that the publication complained of had caused and was likely to cause serious harm to his reputation. At that point, it was for the defendant to demonstrate that she had a defence to the original publication and/or its continuing publication.”

Justice Steyn herself added: “I am going to grant permission. It does raise clearly an issue of law that has not been determined previously. There is a real prospect of success on that ground”…

mdi-timer 24 June 2022 @ 15:01 24 Jun 2022 @ 15:01 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
REVEALED: Brexit-Hating, LibDem Husband of Controversial Cadwalladr Decision Judge

Yesterday’s Cadwalladr ruling was confusing at best. While Mrs Justice Steyn ruled the TED Talk Carole Cadwalladr gave was defamatory, she said Banks had failed to prove that its publication caused “serious harm to reputation”. Part of this was based on a belief that Carole’s followers are mainly an #FBPE echo chamber, therefore unlikely to have had their minds changed by the defamatory Russia claim…

It’s since been pointed out to Guido that the husband of Mrs Justice Steyn, Alex Glassbrook, is none other than a Brexit-hating former LibDem candidate who is not unfamiliar with that Twitter echo chamber. Glassbrook stood for the LibDems as their Tooting by-election candidate in 2016, and at the 2017 General Election, where his leaflets said he “was dismayed when our country voted to leave the European Union.”

Justice Steyn, first name Karen, was loyaly supportive of her husband’s electoral efforts. Her Twitter account shows her delighting in the LibDems’ potential at the 2017 election, and retweeting a photo of her husband at a husting where he “brilliantly [represented] #LibDems”

Guido has no intention of impugning the integrity of the judge in this case – just observing that it would have been very fraught over last night’s dinner table had she ruled in favour of the “Hard Brexit” backer her husband pledged to fight…

mdi-timer 14 June 2022 @ 15:43 14 Jun 2022 @ 15:43 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Judge Rules Cadwalladr Claims of Russian Backing for Banks Were Defamatory, Awards No Damages

Mrs Justice Steyn has ruled that a TED Talk given by Carole Cadwalladr was defamatory, though Banks failed to prove that “the publication of the TED Talk from 29 April 2020 caused and/or is likely to cause serious harm to his reputation.” He was as a consequence awarded no damages.

The judgement ruled that “there was a significant change of circumstances once … the National Crime Agency” investigation cleared Banks and her public interest defence ceased to apply after that finding. Banks was sanguine, publicly tweeting “Congratulations to Carole on winning today, it leaves open for the journalist the excuse that she thought what she said was correct even though she had no facts. There are important points of law at stake here and we will likely appeal.” For Banks it was never really about money and winning damages – she would have been bankrupted, if she had to pay anyway. It was about clearing his name in court once and for all.

The Judge also dismissed Cadwalladr’s bluster from when she was trying to frame the case as a “freedom of the press” issue, that this was a SLAPP suit:

9. Ms Cadwalladr has repeatedly labelled this claim a SLAPP suit, that is a strategic lawsuit against public participation, designed to silence and intimidate her. Although, for the reasons I have given, Mr Banks’s claim has failed, his attempt to seek vindication through these proceedings was, in my judgment, legitimate. In circumstances where Ms Cadwalladr has no defence of truth, and her defence of public interest has succeeded only in part, it is neither fair nor apt to describe this as a SLAPP suit.

That was always nonsense.

Crucially Justice Steyn ruled

“it may reasonably be inferred that the vast majority of the defendant’s followers on Twitter “are likely to be persons within her own echo chamber” and “it’s probably right that they wouldn’t have thought very much of [the claimant] by that time”. In my judgment, those within the jurisdiction to whom the Tweet was published are likely to consist of people whose opinion of the claimant was of no consequence to him.

The claimant’s case on this issue is essentially dependent on drawing an inference of serious harm from the combination of the gravity of the imputation and the extent of publication. While I have been persuaded, on balance, to draw such an inference in relation to the TED Talk, in my judgment, the claimant has not established that the Tweet caused (or is likely to cause) serious harm to Mr Banks’s reputation.”

In other words Carole Cadwalladr’s #FBPE echo chamber on Twitter constantly repeating deranged allegations does not constitute “serious harm”. “Defamatory tweets don’t matter” is an extraordinary ruling in an age where social media dominates public discourse…

Full judgement Banks v Cadwalladr.
UPDATE: Banks has released a statement on the result:

Read More

mdi-timer 13 June 2022 @ 10:37 13 Jun 2022 @ 10:37 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Carole’s Quiet Crowdfunder Switcheroo

Usually-prolific tweeter Carole Cadwalladr has been mysteriously quiet since Guido revealed she’d been unlawfully soliciting crowd-raised funds via her struck-off company, We The Citizens Ltd. When Guido went to pixel, her active crowdfunding page was still soliciting and taking donations. Today it still is, albeit with one quiet change…

The registered beneficiary of the page has been switched from the struck off We The Citizens Ltd. to All The Citizens.

“We the Citizens Limited” filed to strike off on January 12, 2022 and was struck off on April 12, 2022. During the period when by law the company should have ceased all activity – which pre-dates the file off date by 3 months – she used it to raise thousands of pounds to fund the “upcoming trial, and the preparation for the trial, are the most expensive parts of the litigation. I would be very grateful for any further donations to assist me with this crucial stage, or if you could share this fundraiser with your networks” according to a written statement by Cadwalladr on the crowdfunder dated January 14, 2022.  Guido’s understanding of the law is that all those funds were solicited improperly and legally should be the property of the crown.

Last night following our story, Carole updated her crowdfunding page to confess to breaching the Companies Act:

“Meanwhile, there’s a housekeeping update: we’ve moved the money into a ring fenced bank account with the Citizens as of January 2022. This is a registered company All the Citizens which houses the media non-profit, I set up two years ago. If I lose, this goes to Banks. If I win, I intend to offer anyone who donated the option of being refunded. Otherwise, it goes to the Citizens where it will be used to fund more vital investigative journalism.”

A company filing for dissolution must be inactive for 3 months, not soliciting revenue or spending it. Awkward.

Guido was particularly amused to see, among the overnight donors, one named Alan Simpson donating £20 along with the message, “Guido had another go at you. Good luck.” Guido is happy to take Carole’s quiet change as an admission our legal analysis is correct…

mdi-timer 14 April 2022 @ 10:34 14 Apr 2022 @ 10:34 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Carole Crowdfunded Her Legal Costs Unlawfully

Co-conspirators have pointed out that Carole Cadwalladr’s campaign company “We the Citizens Limited” has been struck off the register at Companies House. This has been done deliberately and not through incompetence or from failing to make filings. The company was used as an umbrella for Carole’s various campaigns and causes that seem to be coming to a close. Or at least they are coming to a close via this vehicle.

Legally, under the Companies Act, once a company strike off form has been filed the company can no longer trade or be involved in any other business activities. For all intents and purposes, the business is closed. If your company does continue doing business, you could face severe penalties. These penalties can include a directorship ban for up to 15 years. All company assets that have not been distributed before dissolving the company become the property of the crown, via ‘bona vacantia’. So it is important to make sure all the company’s financial affairs are in order in advance of the strike off filing.

“We the Citizens Limited” filed to strike off on January 12, 2022 and was struck off yesterday, April 12, 2022. During the period when the company should have ceased all activity she used it to raise thousands of pounds to fund the “upcoming trial, and the preparation for the trial, are the most expensive parts of the litigation. I would be very grateful for any further donations to assist me with this crucial stage, or if you could share this fundraiser with your networks” according to a written statement by Cadwalladr on the crowdfunder dated January 14, 2022.  Guido’s understanding of the law is that all those funds were solicited improperly and legally should be the property of the crown.

The – at the time of publication – active crowdfunding page is still soliciting and taking donations, even today. Guido has contacted GoFundMe about this matter. They are considering what to do…

mdi-timer 13 April 2022 @ 16:45 13 Apr 2022 @ 16:45 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Previous Page Next Page