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Tweets and Defamation

Written by Michael Coyle on 24 May 2013

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Tweet away but don’t be stupid

“Sally Bercow may have agreed to pay a settlement to Lord McAlpine, but the high court has ensured the British tweeting public will be paying in fun, irony and innuendo forever”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/24/sally-bercow-lord-mcalpine-libel-twitter 

A quote from Patrick Strudwick from the Guardian- but is he right and can you still have fun on Twitter?

Well yes of course you still can. I think Patrick is reacting too soon and is OTT. Where Bercow went wrong of course was a) to Tweet probably in the early hours of the morning, b) perhaps the worse for wear and c) perhaps feeling how brilliantly witty she was ( well we’ve all done  it)!

But you don’t need to be Stephen Hawking to know that where someone is accused of committing a serious criminal offence ( one of the worst)  which is so serious for the accused then its probably wise to just “shurrup”  until as such time as you can Tweet what you want. This means once due process has taken place and the accused is found guilty.

I mean you are not going to get Gary Glitter or Stuart Hall seeking redress from the courts for any Tweets made. However would Lance Armstrong, or Maxwell have used Titter to stop witty comments or innuendo, well probably, but it still does not rule out applying some common sense to what you tweet or say online.

Finally the fact that a deal could not be reached ( it has now) underlines just how silly people can be in seeking to defend a defamatory claim when a settlement however unpalatable is staring you straight in the face. Always settle wherever you can.

 

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