Saturday, July 21, 2001
Irving must pay £2.4m libel costs
BY CAHAL MILMO
REVISIONIST historian David Irving is facing
bankruptcy after losing an appeal yesterday over a
libel ruling that he was a "Holocaust
The academic, whose book Hitler's War contended
there was no strong evidence of the mass gassing of
Jews by the Nazis, had sought to claim that last
year's libel judgment against him was unjustified.
But the Court of Appeal ruled that, in casting
doubt on the existence of gas chambers and the
scale of their use, he had taken a position that
"no objective or fair-minded" historian could
Mr Irving, 63, was ordered to pay the estimated
£2.4m legal bill. Lawyers said they would
consider bankruptcy proceedings if the first
£150,000 was not paid within 21 days.
The writer had sued Deborah Lipstadt, an
American academic, and her publisher, Penguin, over
her 1994 book, Denying the Holocaust: The Growing
Assault on Truth and Memory, which described Mr
Irving as "one of the most dangerous spokespersons
for Holocaust denial".
At last year's High Court trial, Mr Irving
claimed Professor Lipstadt's work had been
defamatory and destroyed his livelihood as well as
generating -waves of hatred against him.
the original trial, the judge, Mr Justice Gray,
found that Mr Irving had deliberately
misrepresented historical evidence and portrayed
Hitler in an unwarranted favourable light, thus
justifying Professor Lipstadt's description.
In the week-long appeal heard last month, Lord
Justice Pill, sitting with two other judges at the
Court of Appeal, threw out the case, saying there
was incontrovertible proof that Mr Irving had set
out to deny the Holocaust and, in some aspects,
continued to do so.
The judgment added that the trial judge, Mr
Justice Gray was "fully justified" in reaching his
conclusion that Mr Irving's views on the Third
Reich meant he could be called a "Holocaust
Lawyers for the academic, who was not in court
for yesterday's judgment, said he never sought to
excuse the deaths of Jews and the libel ruling had
been made against the weight of evidence.
Penguin is likely to have to foot much of the
legal bill if he is declared bankrupt and his
assets do not amount to £2.4m.© Copyright 2001
Independent Newspapers Ltd.