Holocaust Denial on Trial, Appeal Judgment: Electronic Edition, by Lord Justice Pill

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Section 5 of the 1952 Act

98. The judge acknowledged (13.166) that "there are certain defamatory imputations which I have found to be defamatory of Irving but which have not been proved to be true". With respect to those, the respondents seek to rely on section 5 of the 1952 Act. That provides:
"In an action for libel or slander in respect of words containing two or more distinct charges against the plaintiff, a defence of justification shall not fail by reason only that the truth of every charge is not proved if the words not proved be true do not materially injure the plaintiffs reputation having regard to the truth of the remaining charges".
99 With respect to one charge, Mr Davies strongly submits that the respondents are not entitled to rely on that defence. It is the unproved allegation that "on one occasion [the   applicant] agreed to participate in a conference at which representatives of terrorist organisations were due to speak". The conference was (13.166) "an anti-Zionist conference in Sweden in 1992 which was also to be attended by various representatives of terrorist organisations such as Hezbollah and Hamas". Mr Davies submits that not only is this a very grave allegation but it is of quite a different category from the charges against the applicant's historiography which have been the main issue in the case. Whatever the conclusion upon the applicant's historiography, Mr Davies submits, the applicant's reputation is materially injured by the allegation that he agreed to speak at a conference attended by terrorist organisations.
100. The judge concluded:
"The charges which I have found to be substantially true include the charges that Irving has for his own ideological reasons persistently and deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence; that for the same reasons he has portrayed Hitler in an unwarrantedly favourable light, principally in relation to his attitude towards and responsibility for the treatment of the Jews; that he is an active Holocaust denier; that he is anti-semitic and racist and that he associated with right wing extremists who promote neo-Nazism. In my judgment the charges against Irving which have been proved to be true are of sufficient gravity for it to be clear that the failure to prove the truth of the matters set out in paragraph 13.165 above does not have any material effect on Irving's reputation."
101. We agree with the judge. While the attack on the applicant's historiography was central and fundamental to the case, it was proved in the context described by the judge which involved anti-semitism and racism and association with right-wing extremists. In that context, the allegation that on one occasion he agreed to participate in a conference at which representatives of terrorist organisations were due to speak did not materially injure his reputation having regard to the truth of the charges proved.
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accessed 12 March 2013