Rachel Riley and Tracy-Ann Oberman drop libel claim on retweet | Labor

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Countdown presenter Rachel Riley and actor Tracy-Ann Oberman have dropped their joint defamation complaint against a lawyer for retweeting a critical blog post about the couple.

Jane Heybroek, an immigration lawyer, said the duo withdrew their case after 18 months of prosecution, resulting in a legal bill of £ 65,000.

In 2019, Heybroek retweeted a link to a long blog post by a man named Shaun Lawson titled “Beneath Contempt: How Tracy-Ann Oberman and Rachel Riley harassed, dogped and calished a 16 years old child and his father” . The article made allegations about Oberman and Riley’s actions towards a young Labor activist who had made comments about anti-Semitism within the party.

Heybroek did not publish the original blog post and said there was no evidence that anyone read it as a result of his retweet.

Heybroek said she has spent tens of thousands of pounds on the case, while Riley and Oberman, who have been actively involved in bringing to light allegations of anti-Semitism within Labor, were pictured on a base with no win and no cost: that there was virtually no risk for them to make a claim. Many people would have felt compelled to settle down for the sake of pragmatism.

At a hearing earlier this year, a judge described Heybroek as “broadly in favor of Jeremy Corbyn” but said there was no other clear evidence of his political position.

Heybroek said that despite Riley and Oberman’s “vocal stance against anti-Semitism” in other legal cases, this claim “did not in fact imply any allegation of anti-Semitism.”

“Unfortunately, as a result of the litigation, I was the subject of a number of nasty comments from a small minority of people who simply assumed they knew what it was and what it would be. ‘issue. They were wrong on both points.

Riley and Oberman’s attorney Mark Lewis of Patron Law said in a statement that his clients “chose not to pursue further after the judge determined that the opinion expressed was likely to be defamatory, in circumstances where Jane Heybroek claimed that she had quickly deleted her tweet ”. They have now both contributed to Heybroek’s costs.

Lewis said: “Their libel insurers each saw no benefit in pursuing a liability case for a retweet that was deleted so quickly. There are bigger fish to fry in pursuit of those who choose to maintain serious libel.

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