London high court building

Wright v Granath: Parties argue over motion to dismiss Craig Wright libel case before trial

Parties representing Dr. Craig Wright and Magnus ‘Hodlonaut’ Granath appeared before the High Court in London on Thursday to argue over Granath’s motion to have Dr. Wright’s libel case against him dismissed before trial.

Summary judgment is usually awarded where the Court finds that the losing party has no reasonable prospect of succeeding at trial. Granath, represented by Hugh Tomlinson QC (instructed by Atkins Thomson), was asking that the court order summary judgment in his favor on the basis that Dr. Wright had presented no evidence that Granath’s alleged defamatory tweet had seriously harmed the reputation of Dr. Wright.

In particular, Granath was complaining that Dr. Wright had not shown anything to indicate the reach of the tweet being complained of, with counsel for Granath insisting to the Court that his then-meagre following on Twitter only translated into a small but unknown number of actual impressions and even less engagements. According to them, no more detailed analysis of the tweet was available because Granath had earlier complied with Dr. Wright’s request to delete it, without specifying that they preserve any analytics. As a result, they argued, the tweet could not be said to be capable of causing serious harm to Dr. Wright’s reputation.

However, Adam Wolanski QC (instructed by ONTIER LLP) in representing Dr. Wright submitted that the question of serious harm is not a numbers game, citing cases in which tweets from accounts within some cases tens of followers had been successfully held liable for defamation to the tune of tens of thousands of pounds.

Further, the plaintiffs told the Court that contrary to Granath’s submission that no analysis could be conducted on the Tweet, the blogger had in fact waited until November 29, 2021—months into the proceedings—to reveal he had archived the tweet days after its publication. Wolanski told the Court that Granath has still not turned over the archive.

On that basis, Wolanski argued to the Court that summary judgment was not appropriate.

The question now rests with the Court. Given that there is currently a case management conference scheduled for March 31, a judgment is expected before then, but delays are possible.

Neither Dr. Wright nor Granath were present in Court.

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