I can't tell you too much about the case because I don't want to annoy the court. But this is what I am comfortable telling you.
The reason I will be contributing to Alex's legal costs is simple. What's happened to him could happen to any one of us. Even with comment moderation it is perfectly possible for something libellous to be posted on my blog, even for a short time, without me realising it. Alex has said some pretty nasty and vicious things about me in the past, and we have had occasion to fall out. He can be childish, an irritating little s*** and far too tribal for his own good. But that's ancient history.
1. An active Labourhome user wrote a piece about the past of a Labour member who had defected to Respect. That person has since joined the Conservative Party.
2. The Labourhome user is also being sued by this particular Tory, who is a litigant in person and has no lawyer.
3. The offended person contact me about the piece, which I immediately deleted. I offered the front and centre spot on Labourhome to the offended person for their right of reply or to write something else of their own choice. My offer was declined.
4. Because of my actions, my lawyer says I have an absolute defence under Section One of the Defamation Act. I also have other defence strategies available, one of which is the possibility that the article was not defamatory, thought this is still being explored.
5. Because the complainant is a litigant in person, this case has been more complicated than normal and I have actually received a total of four writs before it got tidied up into one action. This is partly why this defence is so expensive.
6. Despite the likelihood that I will probably win this case, I do not have a strong prospect of recouping my costs, at least in a reasonable timescale. I don't have the five-figure sum the complainant wants as a settlement.
I would be very very grateful if readers would consider donating any sum towards my legal costs. I built Labourhome two and a half years ago as an open forum for Labour supporters because I believed it was needed. I'm in court because of the freedom of this forum and I can tell you the whole situation is pretty depressing.
I'm a forgiving sort and on a simple human level I do feel sorry for what he is going through and know enough about the circumstances which he cannot elaborate on to believe that he has right on his side. I know others think he has it coming, and I understand that viewpoint. I just happen to think it is misguided.
Alex doesn't have the BBC to fight his cause. Like any one of us caught in this situation, he has to finance this on his own. We all recognise this when he stick our heads above the parapet. But despite our political differences, we all belong to the same community - the political blogging community. I'd like to think that if I ever found myself in this situation others would also rally to my aid. And that's why I am rallying to Alex's.
If you would like to donate to Alex's fighting fund, click HERE.
UPDATE: Dave's Part is also being sued by Ms Kaschke. Read his story HERE.
PS: Please be restrained in the comments. There are legal restrictions on what can be said about the case and I am simple not interested in hosting a 'bash Alex Hilton' thread. If it gets out of hand I won't hesitate to censor.