The movie ‘Denial’, in which Sir Richard is played by John Sessions, is based on a real life high court trial that took place in London in 2000. Notorious Holocaust denier, David Irving, brought a libel action against historian Deborah Lipstadt and her publisher, Penguin books, alleging that Lipstadt had defamed him by saying he was a Holocaust Denier, thus damaging his career as a writer and impeding his livelihood. By filing his case in an English High Court, the burden of proof lay with the defendant, rather than the plaintiff, in contrast to the US.
With the help of two research assistants over a three year period, Evans produced a detailed 740 page report on the English and German writings of Irving. Although the movie presents part of Evans’ evidence in a dramatic 3 minute segment, the reality was entirely more tedious, lasting 28 hours over 10 days, in which Irving (who represented himself) cross-examined Evans by traversing his report line by line.
Evans was ultimately able to help the defence prove incontrovertibly that Irving had deliberately falsified, distorted and misrepresented historical evidence. The judge found Irving to be a “Holocaust denier, anti-Semite and racist who had deliberately manipulated historical evidence”, and ordered him to pay more than £2m in legal costs. The 330 page judgement has been described as ‘the most savage judgement ever dumped on an English plaintiff in a high court’.
Excerpted from a Shalom.Kiwi article