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 Posted Saturday, July 21, 2001

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Saturday, July 21, 2001


Irving faces bankruptcy as libel appeal fails

By Michael Horsnell


DAVID IRVING, the discredited Hitler historian, was facing the threat of bankruptcy last night after losing his attempt to clear his name in the Court of Appeal.

LipstadtThe author -- who was branded a Holocaust denier and pro-Nazi polemicist during defeat in his High Court libel action last year -- was told to find an immediate £150,000 towards a legal bill estimated at more than £2.5 million. If he does not pay within 21 days, lawyers for Penguins Books and the American academic Deborah Lipstadt, whom he sued for libel, will institute bankruptcy proceedings against him.

Mr Irving, 63, has raised a fighting fund in an Internet ape peal believed to stand at more than £300,000, though -- he refuses to name his backers. He maintains that his only significant asset is his mansion-flat in Mayfair.

The historian was on the south coast selling copies of his latest book Churchill's War, Volume II, directly to bookshops. The book has been published under his own imprint, Focal Point Publications, and printed by a Singapore-based group to remove any risk of interference.

The three judges in the appeal court rejected his application for permission to appeal against the original judgment of Mr Justice Gray in his failed action arising out of Professor Lipstadt's 1994 book Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, published by Penguin.

The book claimed that in denying that the Holocaust happened, Mr Irving had frequently falsified statistics, manipulated documents, and distorted historical evidence in order to conform to his neo-fascist political agenda and ideological beliefs. Mr Irving said that the book destroyed his livelihood and generated waves of hatred against him.

The Court of Appeal judges -- Lord Justice Pill, Lord Justice Mantell and Lord Justice Buxton -- upheld the judgment of Mr Justice Gray that the defendants had proved that the allegations against Mr Irving were true.

Kevin Bays, partner at Davenport Lyons, solicitors for Penguin Books, said: "The Court of Appeal judgment again vindicates Penguin's decision to support its author and to defend Irving's claim as a matter of principle. It is to be hoped that this case, which concerned the integrity of one man rather than the history of the Holocaust itself, will at last be brought to an end."

IrvingLord Justice Pill said that, having regard to views expressed by Mr Irving about a range of events in the history of the Third Reich, the appeal judges agreed with Mr Justice Gray that Mr Irving "may be described as a Holocaust denier".

"The respondents were justified in describing him as "one of the most dangerous spokespersons for Holocaust denial' having regard to the views he has expressed and in some respects persisted in, and the manner and force with which he has expressed them."

Later, Professor Lipstadt said: "'With the decision rendered today by the Court of Appeal I hope that Mr Irving's six-year battle against my attempt to tell the truth about him will end. I do not delude myself into thinking that the fight against those who will pervert the historical record for their own political and ideological goals has ended."

Mr Irving later told The Times: "The judgment is not unexpected. I shall have to discuss with counsel exactly what shape it takes. My view remains that the original libel judgment was perverse."

© Copyright 2001 Times Newspapers Ltd.
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