Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
23 July 2010updated 27 Sep 2015 2:17am

Libel victory for Labour bloggers

Case against Alex Hilton and John Gray struck out.

By George Eaton

Some good news from the high court where the bloggers Alex Hilton (formerly of Recess Monkey and Labourhome) and John Gray (John’s Labour blog) have had the libel case against them struck out. Both faced bankruptcy if the three-year case proceeded to jury trial.

The case was brought by Johanna Kaschke, a blogger and a remarkable political cross-dresser (in the space of 12 months she defected to George Galloway’s Respect from Labour, then joined the Communist Party and finally settled in the Conservative Party), who previously lost her libel action against David Osler.

Jack of Kent, who provided legal assistance to Hilton and Gray, has a long and detailed summary of the background to the case on his blog. But for those who haven’t been following the story, the case revolved around the fact that Kaschke was once falsely suspected of being a member of a criminal gang.

Kaschke took exception to Gray’s decision to refer to the Baader-Meinhof Gang by name (preferring the euphemistic “criminal gang”), despite previously mentioning them on her own website. As Jack of Kent writes, Kaschke was challenged by the presiding judge to explain the reputational difference between:

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

1) being arrested on suspicion of being a member of Baader-Meinhof, the terrorist group that carried out bombings, robberies and murder (the meaning on which she is seeking vindication by means of this claim for libel), and

2) being accused of being a member of a criminal gang with the aim to commit terrorist offences (a statement which the claimant herself adopts as the position).

She was unable to do so persuasively. That the case has ended in a victory for free speech and common sense is to be welcomed. But that it was allowed to proceed for so long is a salutary reminder of the desperate need to reform our draconian libel laws.

Topics in this article :