London, May 5, 2000
Irving Must Pay £150,000 Or Face Bankruptcy
From the Press Association
Historian David Irving has been ordered to pay £150,000 on account towards the defence costs in his failed libel action over claims that he was a Holocaust denier - or face bankruptcy.
Mr Justice Gray, who heard the 32-day action in the High Court in London earlier this year, says the sum must be paid by June 16.
If it does not materialise, Penguin Books, which published the work at the centre of the case - Deborah Lipstadt's Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory - can issue a petition for 62-year-old Irving's bankruptcy.
Penguin's counsel, Heather Rogers, had initially asked for a sum of £500,000 but Mr Irving's counsel, Adrian Davies, had argued that a sum of even £250,000 could bankrupt his client.
Mr Irving was not in court for the decision which flows from the judge's ruling, last month, that he was both anti-Semitic and racist.
Miss Rogers, who is pursuing a total costs bill estimated at over £2 million, told the judge that more than £1 million had already been paid out to defence experts. She said that defence counsel fees amounted to £400,000 while the defence solicitors had not yet produced their own bill of costs.
Mr Irving, who still intends to pursue an appeal, although he has yet to obtain permission to do so, argues that both defence experts and counsel were paid too much.
Miss Rogers said that there was no evidence before the court about the state of Mr Irving's means or of his fighting fund, which he claimed had attracted many supporters around the world. The court, she added, should be very slow to conclude that he could not pay. Penguin's claim, she said, was not one of need - but of entitlement.
Mr Justice Gray said that it was right that he should make an order for payment of some costs on account and he was not persuaded that the proposed figure was too high.
The £150,000 order was made on the basis that Miss Rogers' clients were prepared for the time being to accept that figure - although they reserved the right to come back to court if the appeal did not go ahead.
Comment: The Guardian Newspapers Ltd are of course a defendant in the next libel action being brought by Mr Irving, and have every reason to vilify him while they still can.
London, May 5, 2000