Posted Wednesday, May 22, 2002

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Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Failed libel action costs Irving his home

Vikram Dodd

THE disgraced author David Irving yesterday lost a last ditch attempt to stave off the seizure of his home after the disastrous libel case which left his reputation in shreds.

A high court judge refused Irving's application to have a bankruptcy order against him lifted. Irving, 64, was declared bankrupt in March after failing to pay £150,000 in costs after he lost a libel action against charges that he was a Holocaust denier. Irving now faces losing his flat in Mayfair, central London, which is his prime asset and his home for more than 30 years. He shares it with his partner Bente and their eight-year-old daughter Jessica. In 2000 the high court found he had falsified history to exonerate Adolf Hitler, driven by anti-semitism and his pro-Nazi views.

He had sued Penguin books and the author Deborah Lipstadt over her book which said Irving had persistently and deliberately misinterpreted and twisted historical evidence to minimise Hitler's culpability for the Holocaust. Penguin incurred costs of £2m to defend the claim. In May 2000 Irving was ordered to pay an interim amount of £150,000, but has failed to pay a penny.

Yesterday Mr Justice Peter Smith upheld the bankruptcy order granted to Penguin books in March. He ruled that Irving - who was not in court - should not be enabled to escape liability for the costs of the failed libel action.

The judge rejected two arguments raised by Irving's lawyer, Adrian Davies.

Mr Davies said Penguin was not liable for any court costs which would be covered by its parent company and insurers.

The author had offered to pay Penguin £2,000 a month towards the interim payment but this would take six years to pay, not taking into account interest charges, said the judge.

He also said there were six other charges over the home that would take precedence and that the building society that granted a £248,000 mortgage for the property may take possession proceedings now Irving has been declared bankrupt. 


  Radical's Diary
  NJ lawyer Gary Redish gloats that Mr Irving's next home will be a cardboard box in The Strand
  Daily Telegraph: Historian fails to avert bankruptcy
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