Irving v. Lipstadt


Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 1: Electronic Edition

Pages 6 - 10 of 103

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     My view really is this at the moment, that
 1you are the Claimant, you have a right to take the case
 2all in one bite or in two bites, whichever you like, and
 3if it is to be two bites, then the parties will have to
 4try to reach agreement and, if necessary, I can decide it.
 5 MR IRVING:      My Lord, we will try to reach an agreement behind
 6the scenes with the Defendants in this matter.
 7 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Will you try? I do realize you are wrestling
 8with a pretty enormous burden as a litigant in person.
 9 MR RAMPTON:      That I entirely understand and it gives rise again
10in an entirely neutral way to this small problem: my
11cross-examination of Mr Irving will consist in some
12considerable degree of reference to Professor van Pelt's
13report and underlying documents, particularly the
14blueprints and the contemporaneous journal. I cannot
15judge when Mr Irving will finish his evidence-in-chief,
16but as soon as he does, then (as with him) I must be free,
17I believe, to cross-examine in whichever order I see fit.
18 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Of course.
19 MR RAMPTON:      Therefore, as I say, I expected him to finish his
20evidence-in-chief probably towards the end of January by
21which time I would start straightaway with Auschwitz.
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      What I would like to do at some stage (and I
23think now is not the right time) is to work out an
24anticipated programme. I am not going to say anything
25about time limits at the moment, but this is the kind of
26case where it may become necessary to keep the thing

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 1within sensible bounds.
 2 MR RAMPTON:      Absolutely, yes.
 3 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      But I do not think now is the time because
 4I have not the feel for how it is going to go and I do not
 5think it is right to ask Mr Irving to estimate anything at
 6the moment.
 7 MR IRVING:      We all have constraints imposed on us, my Lord, by
 8the fact that we have witnesses coming from overseas who
 9have to fit in their visits here with their own academic
10time-tables. For this reason, I am showing a great degree
11of flexibility over the timetable and i am sure the
12Defendants will show the same courtesy.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      In a day or two's time, I think, if we spend
14half an hour -- perhaps if you would both like to think
15about it before then -- trying to work out how we hope we
16will make progress, and then do our level best to stick
17whatever programme we have decided on.
18 MR IRVING:      Very well, my Lord.
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      I think that would be sensible.
20 MR IRVING:      I think that is probably the only advance
21procedural matter which I wished to address at this stage,
22my Lord, and with your Lordship's permission, I will now
23commence with my opening statement.
24 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Can I just raise one small topic with you,
25which is that you wrote, I think, that you are intending
26to show a couple of video clips.

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 1 MR IRVING:      I do not think we will get to that today, my Lord.
 2 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Right. I was not clear why they should form
 3part of your opening. That is the only...
 4 MR IRVING:      They do not form part of the opening, my Lord.
 5There are immediately following it.
 6 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Right. If there is no objection, there is no
 7objection. There is not.
 8 MR IRVING:      One of the video clips I wish to show largely
 9because it contains about 20 minutes of the Second
10Defendant talking on television and, as I understand, the
11Second Defendant will probably not be giving evidence in
12person, and I thought it was fair that we should hear her
13in her own words explaining her position
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Yes.
15 MR RAMPTON:      My Lord, before Mr Irving opens his case, can
16I say this in advance? I say it now and I hope I will not
17need to say it again. So far as the introduction of
18evidence by Mr Irving is concerned, there will be only two
19grounds on which I shall ever object, since this is a case
20which is being tried without a jury; the first is that it
21is a waste of time and the second is that it is designed
22to catch the public eye and is not relevant to the case.
23My Lord, those are the only two matters, otherwise I am
24happy to leave it to your Lordship. There may be whole
25areas which are not really much to do with the case, but
26if Mr Irving wants to go down those roads, then subject to

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 1case management, I have no objection.
 2 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      It appeared to me, having now spent quite a
 3lot of time with the papers, in a curious way it is a case
 4that does not depend to a very great extent on the oral
 5evidence which is an unusual feature of a case of this
 7 MR IRVING:      My Lord, in this particular video which I wish to
 8show, there are passages which show the Second Defendant
 9making certain statements on which I wish to rely and also
10Professor van Pelt standing in a certain position in the
11site of Auschwitz making certain statements upon which
12I wish also to rely.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      There is no objection taken, so I would not
14dream of preventing you doing it.
15 MR IRVING:      Yes, and that is the reason why I wish particularly
16to show those videos. I know videos are a sore point
17between us because we discussed this at the pretrial
18hearing. Your Lordship will remember that I am concerned
19about the state of commercially edited videos where there
20have been cross-cuttings ----
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Yes.
22 MR IRVING:      --- and things cut out, and so on.
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Yes. Now do open the case.
24 MR IRVING:      May it please your Lordship, this is my opening
25statement in the matter of David Irving v. Penguin Books
26and Deborah Lipstadt. I appear as a litigant in person

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 1and the Defendants are represented by Richard Rampton and
 2Miss Rogers of counsel and by Mr Anthony Julius.
 3     My Lord, there were originally three other
 4Defendants as well who can be characterised here as
 5booksellers, which your Lordship will observe that they no
 6longer figure in this action, a settlement having been
 8     This is an action in libel arising from the
 9publication by the First Defendant of a book entitled
10"Denying the Holocaust" written by the Second Defendant,
11Professor Lipstadt.
12     As your Lordship is aware, the work complained
13of has attracted considerable attention, both in this
14country and in the United States and elsewhere since it
15was first published in 1993. Your Lordship will have
16before you my Statement of Claim in which I set out the
17grounds for my complaint, the consequence of which I am
18asking that the Defendants be ordered to pay damages of an
19amount which I will venture to suggest, and I will invite
20your Lordship to issue an injunction against further
21publication of this work and also order that the
22Defendants should make the usual undertakings.
23     My Lord, it is almost 30 years to the day since
24I last set foot in these Law Courts, and I trust that your
25Lordship will allow me to digress for two or three
26minutes, being (in my submission) something of

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