C, the chairman of a political party, the English Democrats, brought an action in defamation and malicious falsehood against D, the author of an internet blog known as ‘Bloggers4UKIP’. The words complained of were published under the heading “BNP Butler joined BNP Barnbrook in the English Democrats”. The text read:
“Eddy Butler the former National Front, former BNP, former Freedom Party, former BNP a couple more times, former BNP national elections co-ordinator has joined the English Democrats.
The announcement which was the EDP’s worse kept secret since his mate Richard Barnbrook joined in January, will be a bitter blow to the handful of party activists that haven’t yet joined UKIP who had hoped to stop the BNP takeover of the party…
English Democrats: not left, not right, just racist”.
C was not named, nor did the Particulars of Claim set out any facts relied on which might be known to any particular publishees, and no publishees were identified. The only fact set out in the Particulars of Claim relevant to the issue of whether the words complained of were capable of referring to C was the fact that he was the chairman of the English Democrats.
D applied for strike out and/or summary judgment primarily on the basis that the words were not capable of referring to C. Alternatively, D argued that the case should be struck out as being an abuse of process.