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Irving v Penguin Books Ltd

Case in English law against American author Deborah Lipstadt and her publisher Penguin Books / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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David Irving v Penguin Books and Deborah Lipstadt is a case in English law against American historian Deborah Lipstadt and her British publisher Penguin Books, filed in the High Court of Justice by the British author David Irving in 1996, asserting that Lipstadt had libelled him in her 1993 book Denying the Holocaust. The court ruled that Irving's claim of libel relating to Holocaust denial was not valid under English defamation law because Lipstadt's claim that he had deliberately distorted evidence had been shown to be substantially true. English libel law puts the burden of proof on the defence, meaning that it was up to Lipstadt and her publisher to prove that her claims of Irving's deliberate misrepresentation of evidence to conform to his ideological viewpoints were substantially true.

Quick facts: Irving v Penguin and Lipstadt, Court, Full ca...
Irving v Penguin and Lipstadt
CourtHigh Court of Justice (Queen's Bench Division)
Full case nameIrving v Penguin Books Limited, Deborah E. Lipstadt[1]
Decided11 April 2000[1]
Citation(s)(2000) EWHC QB 115
Transcript(s)[third-party source needed]
Case history
Subsequent action(s)Application for appeal denied[2]
Case opinions
... the evidence supports the following propositions: that the shooting of the Jews in the East was systematic and directed from Berlin with the knowledge and approval of Hitler; that there were gas chambers at several of the Operation Reinhard camps and that (as Irving during the trial admitted) hundreds of thousands of Jews were killed in them and that there were gas chambers at Auschwitz, where hundreds of thousands more Jews were gassed to death. It follows that it is my conclusion that Irving's denials of these propositions were contrary to the evidence...[3] Irving has for his own ideological reasons persistently and deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence...[4] therefore the defence of justification succeeds.[5]
Court membership
Judge(s) sittingMr Justice Gray

Lipstadt hired British lawyer Anthony Julius while Penguin hired libel experts Kevin Bays and Mark Bateman of media law firm Davenport Lyons. Richard J. Evans, an established historian, was hired by the defence to serve as an expert witness. Evans spent two years examining Irving's work, and presented evidence of Irving's misrepresentations, including evidence that Irving had knowingly used forged documents as source material. Of utmost importance was the role played by another expert witness for the defence, the Holocaust historian Christopher Browning. Upon mutual agreement,[6] the case was argued as a bench trial before Mr. Justice Gray, who produced a written judgment 349 pages long in favour of the defendants, in which he detailed Irving's systematic distortion of the historical record of the Holocaust and Hitler's role therein.