Sally Bercow guilty of libel

"Today's ruling should be seen as a warning to all social media users. Things can be held to be seriously defamatory, even when you do not intend them to be defamatory and do not make any express accusation. On this, I have learned my own lesson the hard way" - she said afterwards.

silly XXX may be the obvious comment

Lessons to be learned for the on-line community??



  • ....well it is Friday afternoon after allimage

  • I see the name Torque Steer is trending on Twitbook... What can that be about? (shrugs shoulders innocently)

  • Definitely lessons to be learned.  People do FAR more serious libel that she did...  all the time.

    In fact, I'm a bit surprised by the ruling. 

  • It's not as though she opened a non-running thread in the Spring Marathon forum - now that is a crimeimage

  • I'm not at all surprised by the ruling. Seems a pretty clear case of libel to me. It's clear to a reasonable person what she was alluding to. And though I don't like the man, he certainly has a reputation that can be damaged by totally false allegations of paedophilia.

  • No bad thing, in my opinion that people should be made accountable if they make wild allegations. I have heard that a certain DJ is next in line for Operation Yew Tree but of course I can't say anything. 

  • Peter Collins wrote (see)

    I'm not at all surprised by the ruling. Seems a pretty clear case of libel to me. It's clear to a reasonable person what she was alluding to. And though I don't like the man, he certainly has a reputation that can be damaged by totally false allegations of paedophilia.

    I agree.  

    She's a silly, attention-seeking cow who wanted to be the first with "news".  

    She needed a slap, and now she's had one.


  • PC
    it's because of all the PB's I've been setting image - we don't seem to have an innocent smilie

    well it could run and run.....................
    Not sure how it ended up there - it wasn't the heading I selected!!

    On a slightly more serious note it could l just lead to folk remembering that they are responsible for what they say on Facetwit and other forums and once it's out there there is no means of taking it back.
    I'll bet lawyers are rubbing their hands at this ruling - I can see the new TV adverts now - "Ever been libelled on Facebook or Twitter - call Libel Lawyers for U"  

    Hurridly scans post to make sure it contains no falsehoods attached to an individual .......................

  • The problem of course will come one day when a high-ranking or wealthy personage simply seeks to get unwelcome publicity about things that are true wiped off the web - same problem the media faces on occasion.

  • So if I say that I hear that X is to be the next subject of the Operation Yew Tree. Am I being libelous. It's true that I've heard it. I might mention the actual name but I'm not saying that anybody did anything. Would be my position be if I named a name?

  • SR - why would you want to say that you had heard that X is to be the next subject....?

    Because you want to draw attention to how "in the know" you are?  

    People who do post that sort of thing are generally just trying to get themselves some attention.


  • SR
    English law allows actions for libel to be brought in the High Court for any published statements which are alleged to defame a named or identifiable individual (or individuals; note that under English law companies are legal persons, and may bring suit for defamation) in a manner which causes them loss in their trade or profession, or causes a reasonable person to think worse of him, her or them.

    • Allowable defences are justification (i.e. the truth of the statement),
    • fair comment (i.e. whether the statement was a view that a reasonable person could have held),
    • and privilege (i.e. whether the statements were made in Parliament or in court, or whether they were fair reports of allegations in the public interest).

    An offer of amends is a barrier to litigation. A defamatory statement is presumed to be false, unless the defendant can prove its truth. Furthermore, to collect compensatory damages, a public official or public figure must prove actual malice (knowing falsity or reckless disregard for the truth).
    A private individual must only prove negligence (not exercising due care) to collect compensatory damages.
    In order to collect punitive damages, all individuals must prove actual malice.

    Thanks to Wikipedia for the above - a neat summary

    The onus is on you to prove your statement is true - if you cannot then you are liable for damages if sued. It is not enough to say that "you have heard it on the grapevine"

    Lance Armstrong used that very process to keep the lid on his drug taking activities - many "knew" he did it but none could "prove" it - he successfully sued the Sunday Times for libel when they named him as a drug cheat - though the wheel has now turned full circle and they are now after him for return of damages and costs

  • she's been done simply because of her see people post tons of worse stuff, and get away with it as they're anonymous drones.

    Go on 1000s of different youtube videos and read the stuff randoms post on there! It'd be a full time job to round those people up.

  • The reason he pursued her was because of the number of followers she has.

    The anonymous drones have half a dozen, she has thousands - 56,000 according to the Independent - so her libel was very widely spread.  Her position as the wife of the Speaker also gives her more credibility than your average anonymous drone.

  • Is this right? she said, I wonder why he is so prominant on the internet ( innocent face) where is that on the map when Newsnight is running their story?

  • I think the point is that when Newsnight ran the story they didn't identify him by name - Sally Bercow (and others) in effect, did it for them.

    She's not the only one that's been pursued, a settlement was reached with Geroge Monbiot of the Guardian that he should compenstae McAlpine by doing charity work.

    He won damages from the BBC and Newsnight not because thy had named him but because they hadn't contacted him to tell hm they were running the story.


Sign In or Register to comment.