UK High Court judge rules against Brexit activist in libel case
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UK High Court judge rules against Brexit activist in libel case

A UK High Court judge ruled against Brexit activist Arron Banks Monday in his libel case against journalist Carole Cadwalladr. The case concerned a tweet and TED talk by Cadwalladr, an independent journalist with a popular podcast who has written for the Guardian and the Observer. 

Mrs Justice Karen Steyn found that Cadwalladr’s TED talk was defamatory in nature but did not meet the criteria for libel, saying, “[t]he claimant has 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.” She also found Cadwalladr’s tweet did not meet the legal strictures for libel in the UK. Cadwalladr celebrated the ruling, saying she is “grateful” and “relieved.” 

In her TED talk, Cadwalladr had insinuated that Banks had financial ties, through the Brexit campaign, to Russia. This claim was investigated in 2018 by the National Crime Agency (NCA) after the Electoral Commission (EC) brought allegations to the NCA’s attention. However, the NCA dismissed the allegations in the absence of “evidence to suggest that Mr. Banks and his companies received funding from any third party to fund the loans, or that he acted as an agent on behalf of a third party.”

Banks said the rulingleaves 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 & we will likely appeal.”