On January 9, 2003, Mishcon de Reya, solicitors for Gerry Gable and Searchlight Magazine Limited, paid £2,000 into court in full settlement of the libel action brought by Mark Taha in connection with the November 1993 issue of the magazine. Although this was not a comprehensive victory for Taha it is surely no less than a crushing defeat for Gable, because this is the third time since 1997 he has walked away from the High Court with empty pockets. The first was when the current writer sued Gable personally over the same article; Gable published a full retraction and paid five thousand pounds towards his costs. The second, and most damning, was when the late Morris Riley won an historic judgment against Gable, Searchlight Magazine Limited, and Gable’s fellow hatemonger, so-called Nazi mole Ray Hill.
Although the final consent order in Taha’s action was sealed some three months ago, it could not be reported until now for legal reasons. Taha’s solicitors are currently preparing a massive bill of costs relating to the more than six years of litigation. During the course of this litigation, Gable pulled all manner of dirty tricks, including most amusingly, sending himself a fax agreeing to his own request for a delay in the proceedings!
After defending the spurious allegations of criminality against Taha with considerable venom, Gable’s lawyers attempted to break the almost impecunious Plaintiff on costs. To this effect they issued an application to strike out part of the action on the grounds that it would simplify the issues when finally the case came to trial. This “simplification” was supported by a 26 page skeleton argument - an argument that might be construed as more body than skeleton. An all day hearing before Mr Justice Eady on October 4, 2000 was billed for ten thousand pounds. The judge was as confused by the complexity of this application as everyone else present in the courtroom, including it seemed Gable’s own Solicitor Advocate, Anthony Julius, who at times almost choked on his own waffle. The application was adjourned until January 2001 when it was dismissed with costs, leaving Gable to pay his own inflated bill, and Taha’s more modest one as well.
The climax came when Mishcon de Reya sent what can only be described as an hysterical letter headed without prejudice to Taha’s solicitors outlining their defence strategy, which was to throw buckets of mud in a scandalous and irrelevant cross-examination. With some reluctance, Taha decided to swallow his pride and line his pockets.
Gable was not the only liar in this action, and he was far from the only loser. Two of his co-defendants, Housmans Bookshop and IS Books - the latter the creature of the Socialist Workers Party - have enjoyed grossly misleading and undeservingly sympathetic press coverage as well as a libel fund supported by fellow travellers and well meaning dupes with more money than sense, before eventually settling with Taha for £3,500 each. Claiming to be innocent victims of a vicious right wing conspiracy which had set out to target radical bookshops, what they conveniently neglected to mention was that as well as grossly defamatory literature they stocked material that incited violence and even murder against both agents of the state - such as judges and police officers - and named individuals, including the Conservative politician Michael Portillo.
During the course of the current writer’s action, Housmans had also, curiously, distributed a letter issued by one of its own staff which denounced Gable and his magazine and accused them of attempting to incite violence against the left wing conspiracy crank Larry O’Hara. This epistle undermined totally Housmans’ later claim of innocent dissemination. After Taha issued his writ, Housmans refused to stock Searchlight; at least two provincial bookshops have done the same.
Although the Searchlight Organisation has weathered the Taha storm, Gable’s problems are far from over. A circular issued by the anti-Searchlight magazine New Target and dated April 2003 reveals that the Charity Commission has ordered the closure of the Searchlight Educational Trust website “until certain changes are made both to the site and their organizational structure”.
Further revelations are promised by the next issue of New Target, which can be ordered from BM 4534, London WC1N 3XX for the price of three first class stamps. Further revelations about Gable and his Searchlight gang can be obtained for free by pointing your web browser at the searchlightarchive website, which contains, among other things, a Searchlight bibliography from 1962-92. This will be updated later this year.
April 17, 2003
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