Defamation Claim in Craig Wright v Peter McCormack Ruled as Part of a ‘Mendacious Campaign’

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In a significant ruling today in the case of Craig Wright v Peter McCormack, Mr Justice Mellor condemned Wright’s defamation claim as part of a deceptive effort to assert a false claim to bitcoin assets valued at billions. The judgment reveals that Wright utilised defamation law as a tool to silence those who questioned his assertions about bitcoin ownership. Justice Mellor pointed out the amplified power of defamation actions when wielded by individuals like Dr Wright, who are willing to invest disproportionate sums in litigation.

The financial implications of the case were considerable, with the costs budgets approved amounting to £3.92 million plus VAT. McCormack was recognised to have a compelling case for the recovery of his costs totalling some £1.548 million.

A crucial aspect of the judgment addressed the risk of dissipation of Wright’s assets, with the judge noting that Wright’s current whereabouts were unknown. The latest information suggested he was in the UTC +7 timezone, with no further updates on whether he had permanently left the UK. This uncertainty led the judge to conclude there was a significant risk of asset dissipation.

Granting a freezing order against Wright, the judge emphasised that the defamation claim was baseless and should never have been initiated. Mr Justice Mellor expressed concern over the state of the legal system if litigants like Mr McCormack could not recover costs incurred from defending against such unfounded litigation.

The case highlights the risks of the misuse of defamation laws and the need for vigilance in protecting individuals from costly and groundless legal actions aimed at silencing their opponents.

Nicholas Taylor is recognised as a leading practitioner in his field, and has been ranked as a Leading Individual by the Legal 500 directory and as a Recommended Lawyer in the Spears 500 private client guide, for his work in Reputation Management.

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If you would like further advice on this or any other defamation matter, please contact Nicholas Taylor directly below.

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