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Online Libel - what do you think?

Geoffrey Settle

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Given Obs keeps refering to libellous statements on this site, I wonder if this is the sort of compensation he is looking for? It occurred back on Wednesday, 22 March 2006, 13:48 GMT - BBC news site.


Online libel costs woman ?10,000


Ms Williams was a contributor to a Yahoo! discussion board

A woman who waged an abusive internet campaign against a politician has been ordered to pay him ?10,000 in damages.

UK Independence Party member Michael Keith Smith brought the libel case against Tracy Williams over remarks she made on a Yahoo! discussion board.


Mr Smith, 53, of Fareham, Hampshire, contested the Portsmouth North constituency at the General Election.


Ms Williams, of Oldham, Gtr Manchester, used a pseudonym to post claims that he was a sexual offender and racist bigot.


Ms Williams had also claimed that the chartered surveyor had sexually harassed a female co-worker, had been charged with soliciting boys and cottaging and that he was a sexual deviant and pervert.


No defence


In June 2004, Mr Smith, of Portchester, Fareham, obtained a court order requiring the site operator to disclose Ms Williams' identity.


Judge Macduff QC said the legal proceedings that then followed only provoked her into more "frenzied abuse", which continued well into 2005.


But Ms Williams, who did not attend the High Court hearing and did not file a defence, had not tried to justify her statements which were clearly defamatory, the judge said.


Ms Williams had met a request for an apology with contempt, the court heard.


Mr Smith was awarded ?5,000 general damages plus ?5,000 aggravated damages to reflect the way Ms Williams had behaved.


He granted an injunction preventing further publication of the same or similar libels and ordered Ms Williams to pay the costs of the action, which Mr Smith put at ?7,200.


After reading the above is everyone happy about what they are posting and will people's identities have to be disclosed?


[ 14.03.2008, 21:30: Message edited by: Semi-retired Geoff ]

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