British Holocaust denier seeks appeal
of libel suit
By Richard Allen GreeneJewish Telegraph Agency, New York,
June 27, 2001
LONDON, June 27 (JTA) -
A British court is
considering Holocaust denier David
Irving's request to appeal his defeat
last year in a libel suit he brought
against an American scholar.
In a highly publicized case in London
last year, Irving lost his lawsuit
against Deborah Lipstadt and her
publisher, Penguin Books, who had accused
him of being a Holocaust denier.
In what was a crushing defeat for
Irving, Britain's High Court ruled in
April 2000 that he was a racist who had
deliberately misrepresented and distorted
historical evidence about the Holocaust.
The court found that Irving had portrayed
Hitler in a favorable light for
Irving was ordered at the time to pay
Lipstadt's legal costs, estimated at
nearly $3 million. The ruling ruined him
Irving, 63, is now requesting
permission to appeal the verdict.
Under the British legal system, the
right to appeal is not automatic in all
Irving's written request for an appeal
had already been rejected,
but he was granted the right to an oral
The Court of Appeal is expected to
decide by the end of July whether to grant
Irving claims evidence that should have
been permitted at the original trial was
James Libson of the law firm
Mischon de Reya, which is advising
Lipstadt, told The Lawyer magazine that
Irving's case has no merit.
looking for anything to attack the
judgment on," he said. "Our client
would like this to be over now. It has
taken up nearly six years of her
After representing himself last time,
Irving now has a legal team presenting his
In four days of oral arguments earlier
this month, Irving's lawyer, Adrian
Davies, maintained that his client did
not approve of the murder of Jews in the
"Nowhere in the entire core of Mr.
Irving's work has he said anything which
remotely began to suggest that he thought
the Nazis did a jolly good thing - or even
an excusable thing - in rounding up all
the Jews in Eastern Europe and putting
them into camps," Davies said.
He said Irving did not deny that Jews
had died in concentration camps, but that
the systematic murder of Europe's Jews was
not Nazi policy until 1943.
Davies said that while Irving might
have "poor judgment" as a researcher, that
did not make him a falsifier of
ruling last year found that Irving
"misrepresented and distorted" historical
evidence and that he was "anti-Semitic and
racist and that he associates with
right-wing extremists who promote
Richard Rampton, defending
Lipstadt, told the Court of Appeal that
the weight of evidence against Irving in
the original case was "absolutely
It is unusual for an oral request for
appeal to go on for days; they usually
last a few hours.
One source close to the case said
Irving was trying to turn the appeal
request into an appeal itself.
If the court finds that Irving's
request has no merit, it can deny him
permission to appeal.
In theory, he could fight that decision
in the European Court of Human Rights in
Strasbourg, France, on the basis that
Britain refused him a fair trial.
A decision to grant Irving the right to
appeal would not imply that the Court of
Appeal thinks the original ruling was
incorrect, only that there are grounds for
Irving's own online
diary of the case suggests that his
lawyers think the case is going badly for
Last Friday, Davies is quoted as
telling Irving "at least we can go down
with all guns firing."
"Go down?" Irving asks him.
"We're going down," Davies replies
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for the appeal
seems to be an exaggeration. Mr Irving
has paid not a penny to the defendants;
he still lives where he has lived for
34 years, he still writes history and
still conducts his publishing business
and leads the battle for Real History
against the traditional enemies of free
speech. Meanwhile the shareholders of
Penguin Books Ltd are seriously
questioning the folly of their company
in rejecting Mr Irving's two offers,
made two years ago, to halt the libel
action if they paid £500 (around
$700) to a charity for the limbless.
Defending Lipstadt's scribblings has so
far cost them around six million