(1) Granting the application and ordering the preliminary issue sought:
(a) The circumstances of this case, and perhaps most cases, required the court to determine the meaning of the words complained of for the purpose, amongst others, of establishing the level of gravity. This was to be done without evidence. A distinction had to be drawn between the level of seriousness or gravity of a meaning (which largely depends on the words complained of and the identity of the claimant) and the seriousness of a libel (which embraces additional factors, such as extent of the publication and the identity of the publishee(s) or their relationship to the claimant).
(b) The mere fact that a defendant intimates that it is proposing to apply to strike out should not of itself preclude the court from determining the level of gravity of the allegation as it would appear to the hypothetical reasonable reader knowing only what is written and what is common knowledge.
(2) Bearing in mind the principles governing a meaning application set out in Jeynes v News Magazines Limited  EWCA Civ 130 at , the words complained of were defamatory of C:
(a) In their natural and ordinary meaning, the words complained of meant and were understood to mean that it was strongly to be suspected that C was being controlled and used by GW as a conduit for the fraudulent misappropriation of funds contributed by its members for his own personal benefit.
(b) The portrayal of C as a victim did not preclude the finding that the allegation was defamatory of C. The meaning had a tendency to deter third parties from dealing with, or being associated with C, Derbyshire County Council v Times Newspapers Ltd  AC 534 at 547.