Countdown star Rachel Riley has lost the latest round of a libel battle with a political blogger and Jeremy Corbyn supporter.
The 35-year-old television presenter was accused of engaging in a “campaign of online abuse and harassment” on Twitter.
She sued Mike Sivier after he published an article on his website Vox Political in January 2019 with the headline: “Serial abuser Rachel Riley to receive ‘extra protection’ – on grounds that she is receiving abuse”.
Mr Sivier defended the article and argued that it was “substantially true”, as well as an honest opinion and a matter of public interest.
A High Court judge had ruled in favour of Ms Riley – concluding Mr Sivier had “no prospect” of succeeding at a trial.
But today, Mr Sivier won an appeal.
Three Court of Appeal judges ruled that his public interest defence should be assessed at a trial.
In a written ruling, appeal judge Lord Justice Warby said: “I would allow the appeal.
“I would set aside the order striking out the defence of publication on matter of public interest.”
He added: “In my view, the appropriate course is for the public interest defence to be assessed at a trial.”
The two other appeal judges, Lord Justice Henderson and Dame Victoria Sharp, agreed with the ruling.
Ms Riley is also waiting to hear whether she has won a separate damages fight after suing Laura Murray – a former aide to Mr Corbyn – for libel.
She sued the 32-year-old over a tweet posted two years ago, telling Mr Justice Nicklin it “incited” hate and caused people to try and get her sacked.
The message described the numbers expert as “dangerous” and “stupid”.
A High Court judge finished overseeing a three-day trial at the High Court in London earlier this week.
Mr Justice Nicklin is expected to publish a ruling in the near future.