Court orders the identity of author of anonymous tweets attacking Rachel Riley to be disclosed

TV presenter and blogger David Collier win first round of legal action against the @arrytuttle Twitter account


The TV presenter Rachel Riley has won a High Court order for the disclosure of the identity of people who attacked her and other campaigners against antisemitism on an anonymous pro-Corbyn Twitter account.

Ms Riley, actress Tracy Ann-Oberman and investigative blogger David Collier sought the information to assist with possible legal action over tweets posted on the @arrytuttle account.

A Jewish barrister, Daniel Bennett, who resigned from Doughty Street Chambers last summer after he was accused of being behind the account, has admitted being responsible for it but said that many people were involved.

When Mr Justice Saini at a hearing last week asked whether Mr Bennett had authored the tweets, or not, or else declined to answer, his counsel said that he took the third position and was not willing to answer the question.

Mr Bennett has previously said he set up the account in 2010 but since 2013 it had “drifted with many involved”.

When his name first appeared on social media in connection with the account last year, he made it private and deleted its followers and tweeting history.

Harry Tuttle is the name of a character played in the 1985 film Brazil.

Tweets posted on the account were said to have made “serious allegations of hypocrisy” against Ms Riley and to “have stated that she had knowingly made false allegations of antisemitism in order to discredit Jeremy Corbyn”, according to the judge.

Tweets about Mr Collier were said to have claimed that “he acts against the best interests of Jewish people, that he is dishonest and falsely fabricates allegations against Mr Corbyn, is hypocritical, a fraudster a racist and supports violence”, the judge said.

Mr Bennett opposed the disclosure application, arguing that the claimants had not been victims of any wrongdoing.

But Mr Justice Saini was satisfied that Ms Riley and Mr Collier might have a case that they had been defamed.

They were “entitled to information stating who used and had access” to the account between March 2018 and July 9 2018 when it became dormant, he said.

“This information must specifically disclose the identity of the person or persons posting tweets on the said account referring to Mr Collier and Ms Riley or replying to these claimants,” he said.

But he dismissed the application in relation to Ms Oberman, saying the evidence was vague and non-specific.

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