Sally Bercow’s Lord McAlpine tweet was libel

By Dyenamic Solitions - Last updated: Friday, May 24, 2013 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

A tweet published by Sally Bercow about Tory peer Lord McAlpine was libellous, the High Court has ruled.
Sally Bercow's Lord McAlpine tweet was libelAmid widespread speculation about his identity, she has Tweeted: “Why is Lord McAlpine trending. Innocent Face.”

Mrs Bercow said she was “disappointed” by the ruling but the peer’s lawyer said she had caused “unnecessary pain”.

After the ruling by Mr Justice Tugendhat in Lord McAlpine’s favour, Mrs Bercow said she had accepted a settlement with the peer’s lawyers. The amount of damages has not been disclosed.

Speaking after the ruling today, Lord McAlpine’s solicitor Andrew Reid said: “The failure of Mrs Bercow to admit that her tweet was defamatory caused considerable unnecessary pain and suffering to Lord McAlpine and his family over the past six months.

“With knowledge of the judgment, I am pleased to be able to say that Mrs Bercow has finally seen sense and has accepted an offer of settlement, which Lord McAlpine made back in January.”

After publishing her comment about Lord McAlpine, Mrs Bercow apologised in four subsequent tweets but denied that her original tweet had been defamatory.

Mr Justice Tugendhat dismissed Mrs Bercow’s argument that the question she had posed was entirely neutral.

Her inclusion of the words “innocent face” revealed that the question was “ironical”, the judge ruled.

Mr Justice Tugendhat’s reasoning included:

Today’s ruling should be seen as a warning to all social media users. I have frequently warned- use the same guidance as driving before writing ANYTHING online- don’t drink, don’t write when tired or emotional and be aware of DYENAMIC’S LAW- your good things may be hard to get found, but your bad things will be hard to cover up.

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