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In the High Court of Justice

DJC Irving

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Penguin Books Ltd and Deborah Lipstadt

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In 1993 American scholar Deborah Lipstadt published Denying the Holocaust, product of a research contract funded by an Israeli agency.

British writer David Irving claims that it libels him.

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Affidavit by the Plaintiff [David Irving]


I David John Cawdell Irving of 81 Duke Street, Grosvenor Square, London W1M 5DJ MAKE OATH and say as follows:

1. I swear this affidavit in support of an application for an Order in the terms set out in my summons issued and served on the Second Defendant on Friday, April 16, 1999. The contents of this affidavit are within my own knowledge save as where appears otherwise from the context. Its purport is that the Second Defendant made a selective discovery, to wit wilfully concealing her possession of three newsreel videocassettes containing materials portraying me and also otherwise highly relevant to the issues in this action; and that she recklessly and fraudulently, and with the intent of denying a fair trial of this action, swore an affidavit verifying her lists.

2. There is now produced and shown to me marked "DJCI.6" a paginated bundle ("the bundle"). I rely also on my affidavits herein dated September 4 and November 21, 1998 and January 26, 1999, and on the lists served by the Second Defendant on February 17, 1998 and September 9, 1998.

3. The Second Defendant is represented in this action by Mishcon de Reya ("Mishcon"), to which firm of solicitors Mr Anthony Robert Julius is the consultant who has the conduct of this matter on her behalf (see his affidavit of November 20, 1998, at page 1 of the bundle, in which he also applies for an "unless" Order that my claim be struck out because of alleged non-compliance with an Order for discovery).


4. On November 24, 1998 I filed an affidavit setting out a history of difficulties in obtaining proper discovery from the Second Defendant out (see para. 6 at pages 12-15 of the bundle).

5. These difficulties are to be summarised as

(i) difficulties experienced in obtaining proper discovery of documents and categories of documents for which I had applied in writing repeatedly between March and September 1998; and

(ii) difficulties experienced in obtaining a copy under O.24, r 11A(i) of the lengthy document No. 500 listed in her discovery, of which I requested a copy on March 11 and on subsequent dates until September 1998.

As to (i), I was finally obliged to issue a summons for specific discovery on September 4, 1998 whereupon on September 9, 1998 Mishcon provided the Second Defendant's second supplemental list containing many of the documents in the categories requested, indicating that these solicitors had had them in their custody all along; inspection confirmed that they were highly relevant to the issues pleaded in this action.

As to (ii), after initially furnishing on May 22, 1998 a copy of a different one-page document which had been numbered No. 500, and which was different from the 25 pp. item I had inspected, on September 11 and 18, 1998 I repeated in writing my request for a copy of the original item No. 500. Only when I issued a summons on September 28, 1998 applying for an "unless" order did Mishcon mail to me, on September 29, 1998, a copy of the real Item No. 500.

6. The above difficulties were rehearsed in detail both in my affidavit of November 21, 1998 and its exhibits, to which I respectfully draw attention, and at the hearing before this Honourable Court on December 15, 1998 on my application for an order that the Second Defendant now verify her lists by affidavit.

7. Resisting the application at its hearing on December 15, 1998, Mishcon ventured to exonerate their client by arguing that they accepted responsibility for the above deficiencies. This Honourable Court declined to accept that argument.

8. After hearing myself and solicitors for the Second Defendant this Honourable Court duly made the Order sought, namely that the Second Defendant make file and serve an affidavit verifying the truth of the statements in all her lists of documents by January 12, 1999.


9. On December 30, 1998 I had reason to write to Mishcon that that I felt that they should advise the Second Defendant of her O.24 obligations, and in particular that they should advise her not to swear the affidavit prematurely if she now realised that there were further items which might be subject to discovery (page 18 of the bundle).

10. On January 7, 1999 I repeated this statement in terms, and for a second time offered a voluntary extension on the date stipulated under the Order (page 19 of the bundle).

11. During the intervening period, I had received information from a paid legal assistant in America who claimed to have ascertained that the Second Defendant had concealed material documents in the case. I emphasise that I do not wish here to uphold this statement beyond the relevant fact that upon meeting Mr James Lewis Libson of Mishcon in another matter on the forenoon of January 12, 1999, I for a third time verbally offered to extend the above mentioned Order by seven days to enable them to advise their client seriously of her discovery obligations. (Extract from my diary at page 20 of the bundle).

12. Mr Libson replied that:

(i) if I had received the said information (which I did not describe), I ought to disclose it to the Second Defendant;

(ii) the Second Defendant had already "sworn" her affidavit anyway.

That being so, I said, her affidavit was conclusive and I was debarred from pursuing the matter as against the Second Defendant before trial (per Dillon LJ in Lonrho plc v. Fayed [No. 3] [1993] The Times, 24th June).

12. Mr Libson confirmed the above verbal exchange in a letter faxed to me at 1:08 p.m. on the same day (page 21 of the bundle). I reiterated my position and repeated for a fourth time to Mishcon, by fax an hour later, my offer to extend the period for service of the affidavit (page 22).

13. Since this offer was not taken up, at five p.m. on January 12, 1999 the Second Defendant was in breach of the order. Just before 7 p.m. Mishcon served on me by fax the Second Defendant's affidavit verifying her lists (page 23 of the bundle), but it was unsworn.

14. That being so, I issued and served on January 14, 1999 a summons for an "unless" order returnable on January 21, 1999 (page 28 of the bundle).The jurat to her affidavit, sworn by the Second Defendant at the consular section of the British Embassy in Washington DC on January 20, 1999, was faxed to me that evening (January 21, page 30 of the bundle), and posted to me on the same date.


15. As this Honourable Court is aware, I have made full and proper discovery; over and above which I have complied with every request by the Defendants. I also voluntarily allowed the inspection of my entire private diaries. Paras. 4 (iv) to (xii) of my affidavit of November 21, 1998 set out the manpower effort put into my discovery.

16. On several occasions I volunteered without prompting fresh items which I had come across, e.g. during refiling operations; see for example my letter of January 31, 1999 to Mishcon (page 33 of the bundle).


17. In the course of this discovery, I voluntarily listed a total of 236 personal and commercial videocassettes and audiotapes in my custody. As the Second Defendant declined to consider the whole list, a schedule of those selected by me as being of relevance to the issues pleaded was provided as Item 2025 in my third supplemental list.

18. Mishcon's staff duly collected selected items from this list for inspection and copying and returned them to this address in two consecutive deliveries on different dates, namely April 8 and 14, 1999.

19. The first carton of tape cassettes was received and checked by my staff on April 8, 1999 (see affidavit of April 20, 1999 exhibited at page 90 of the bundle); Mishcon's covering letter (page 91 of the bundle) listed the carton's contents as "Numbers 172, 175, 176, 177, 178, 179, 183, 184, 186, 189, 191, 194, 198, 199, 200, 201, 202, 204, 206, 207, 208, 212, 213, 214, 221, 223 (x2), 225, 226, 227, 231, 232, 233, 234, 236." In fact there was no item No. 221 included in this carton.

20. However I observed two days later, April 10, on myself inspecting the carton, that the videocassettes Nos. 223, 226, 227 (the "rogue" cassettes) which it contained were not my property and never had been, as inter alia the handwriting and non-standard number-labels also indicated.


21. VHS Videocassette No. 223 bore the following labels: (i) spine: "223" "'Dispatches,' 27/11/91 - on German Nazis. 'This Week,' 28/11/91 - on German/UK Nazis." (ii) side: no labels (iii) box: "2 Yes Minister's Jews & Moslems".

22. Super-VHS Videocassette No. 226 bore the following labels: (i) spine: "226" "'This Week', 28/11/91 - Unedited Material, re David Irving / German Nazis. Not for Public Use. Tape 1" (ii) side: "Tape 1. This Week, Thames TV, Original Film material obtained by TV crew, unedited, not for public use. Programme shown 28/11/91. About David Irving/German Nazis." (iii) box: no labels.

23. Super-VHS Videocassette No. 227 bore the following labels: (i) spine: "227" "'This Week', 28/11/91 - Unedited Material, re David Irving / German Nazis. Not for Public Use. Tape 2" (ii) side: "Tape 2. This week, Thames TV, original film material, obtained by TV crew, unedited, programme shown on 28/11/91, not for public use. About David Irving/Nazis in Germany." (iii) box: no labels.

24. I am informed by the expert whom I employ for videotape manufacture, Mr S K, who is fully proficient in these matters, and verily believe that Super-VHS videocassettes (i.e. videocassettes Nos. 226 and 227) are used for television newsreel cameras and have to be specially converted for domestic viewing.


25. It was or in the alternative it should have been evident to the Second Defendant that the unedited content of these videotapes, showing me addressing a crowd of foreign newspaper and television journalists and youngsters in Halle on November 9, 1991, were or might have been significant both for my claim and for the destruction of an essential part of the defence of justification and any subsequent argument on mitigation of damages.

(i) the Second Defendant claims in her Defence that I associate with ultra-right wingers, neo-Nazis, anti-semites, and racists;

(ii) I have frequently denied this including in my Reply to the Defence;

(iii) In their Discovery the Second Defendant produced several printed documents referring both directly and indirectly to the Halle meeting (the most offensive but by no means the only example is Second Defendant's Discovery item 305, the article by Michael Kapel in Australia/Israel Review, exhibited herein at pages 81-86 of the bundle). These printed documents portray me in a most unhelpful and prejudicial light;

(iv) The videotapes will confirm that the television newsreels, as they were broadcast in many countries around the world and on which these printed newspaper articles were based, were tendentiously doctored to remove all material showing me in a proper light: for example that I criticised the skinheads who emerged and began giving Hitler salutes while I was speaking, and that I loudly criticised them for using the slogans of Germany's inglorious past.

(v) From inspection of my Discovery, particularly of my archive file box "No. 38" ("Australia 1992-8") Mishcon was aware of my search for these videotapes. (The doctored newsreel had been shown several times in Australia and it was used in part to justify refusing me a visa.) Mishcon's staff removed this archive file box "No. 38" from my premises along with a score of others in toto for inspection in November; on December 22 Mishcon returned six of them, but retained "No. 38" and others for return "at the end of January . . . as and when they have been copied." (Mishcon letter of December 22, 1998, at page 16 of the bundle). They held, inspected, and copied the discovery documents in these boxes for over two months. On January 28, 1999 Mishcon notified me that the boxes were ready for return (page 32 of the bundle) and the Australia box "No. 38" was one of the eighteen boxes returned to me on February 2, 1999 (page 34 of bundle). It was returned with a Mishcon printed label Sellotaped to it marked in writing: "whole box" (see copy in the bundle at page 35) which indicates and so I verily believe that Mishcon photocopied the whole contents of the box for their client or clients.

(vi) From the letters contained in this box and the box of "broadcasting" correspondence, in particular those at pages36-80B of the bundle, the Second Defendant was thus aware that I had attempted for six years to obtain access to precisely this raw unedited television footage, to establish beyond peradventure the events at Halle in November 1991, and to destroy the smear-effect of the doctored newsreel and the subsequent printed media references to it. The discovery documents show that I wrote on April 11, 1993 to every ascertainable television-newsreel company who had covered the Halle speech -- about ten of them -- and to many of the journalists present to ask if they still had the original film footage (page 40-49 of the bundle).

(vii) Mishcon was also aware from the same file that these companies either did not reply, or regretted they could not assist (e.g. Reuters Television, page 49 of the bundle). I submit that because they were aware from my own discovery that I had failed to locate this footage they concealed the three videocassettes that were in their own custody. (viii) As recently as March 19, 1999 Mr Martin Bell MP wrote to me regretting that he could not answer from memory my specific questions about that meeting, although he recalled it well (page 88 of the bundle).

(vii) My search continued until the very day the three "rogue" items were found in the returned box.


26. Mishcon had in their custody but concealed from me

(i) two original videocassettes of the raw television newsreel-camera footage

(ii) one videocassette containing a copy of two of the defamatory programmes as broadcast.

27. They gave discovery of none of these despite the obligations which O.24 imposes on all parties to discover voluntarily and immediately to the other parties all such documents. Documents includes videocassettes.

28. I respectfully submit that in the premises this conduct represents on the part of Mishcon a wilful disobedience to the directions of this Honourable Court; and on the part of the Second Defendant this conduct represents a reckless act of perjury in having deposed on oath to the completeness of her discovery despite having been alerted by me to suspicions that it was deficient, and despite having four times been offered by me extra time to think it over.


29. The fact that

  • attempts had already, in my submission, been made to withhold from discovery and inspection the documents in the second list, and
  • to withhold from me a copy of the item No. 500 after I had inspected it, and
  • to withhold from discovery completely the clearly relevant videotapes referred to above, indicates that the Second Defendant has engaged in elective discovery.

30. Furthermore, after I served an unsealed copy of the Summons on Mishcon on April 16, 1999 and a member of my staff served the duly sealed Summons on Mishcon at 3 p.m. on April 19, 1999 on that same date namely April 19, 1999 Mishcon faxed to me two letters (pages 95 and 97 of the bundle) claiming privilege in the "rogue" videocassettes.

31. It becomes perfectly apparent from these letters therefore that this is not a case of a negligent mistake by the Second Defendant, which would be reprehensible given that she had sworn an affidavit but perhaps understandable given the scope of discovery; on the contrary, the letters make it plain Mishcon took a deliberate decision to withhold these documents on the basis of a claim of privilege which cannot be sustained as a matter of law, and I respectfully submit that that is as clear an instance of elective discovery as can be imagined.


32. As an impoverished litigant in person, I am subject to formidable obstacles in preparing and bringing this action against a well organised, highly professional and tactically versed firm of solicitors.

33. The history of discovery in this action as set out above shows in my submission that the Second Defendant intends to use these advantages against me quite ruthlessly. That being so, I respectfuly submit that there is little prospect that the Second Defendant intends to assist in a fair trial of this action.

34. In the premises I ask that this Honourable Court make an order granting the relief sought namely that

(1) the Second Defendant's defence be struck out with costs, including the costs of this application, the Plaintiff to be at liberty to set the action down for trial on the evidence of the Plaintiff and the First Defendant alone, and the Second Defendant to be debarred from giving evidence without the leave of the Trial Judge; alternatively

(2) the Second Defendant do within seven days from the date of the said Order make and serve upon the Plaintiff a Further & Better List of the documents which are or have been in her possession, custody or power relating to any matter in question in this action, and that Anthony Julius, a partner in the firm of Mishcon de Reya, solicitors for the Second Defendant, file an Affidavit verifying such list and stating in particular (i) when and (ii) whence the Second Defendant of her solicitors obtained the videtapes above-mentioned (iii) what has become of item 221 mentioned in the first paragraph of Mishcon de Reya's letter to the Plaintiff dated April 8, 1999 (iv) whether items Numbers 224 and 225 in the series 221, 223, 226, 227 which is to be inferred from this letter are videotapes and (v) what has become of them and (vi) why inspection thereof has not been offered to the Plaintiff pursuant to the Order herein of Master Trench dated November 3, 1997; and in either case

(3) that the costs of and occasioned by this application be the Plaintiff's costs in any event, to be taxed forthwith on an indemnity basis and paid by the Second Defendant to the Plaintiff.

 [sworn etc by David Irving, London, April 20, 1999]

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