Posted by John North, Partner
On 1 September 2016 Withy King LLP merged with Royds LLP. The trading name for the merged firm is Royds Withy King. All content produced prior to this date will remain in the name of the firms pre-merger.
Be careful what you tweet…….
The High Court has found today that a tweet published by Sally Bercow about Lord McAlpine is libellous.
Last November, Newsnight alleged that a Conservative politician had sexually abused boys in the care of a children’s home in the 1970s and 1980s. Lord McAlpine was not named during the programme however it was indicated that the politician in question was a “leading Conservative politician” from the Thatcher era. Lord McAlpine was then wrongfully identified on the internet.
Two days after the programme Sally Bercow tweeted “Why is Lord McAlpine trending. *innocent face*”. Despite apologising for the tweet in four subsequent tweets Mrs Bercow denied that her original tweet had been defamatory. The judge has however ruled that was not the case and that the tweet could be read as meaning that the Conservative peer was a “paedophile who was guilty of sexually abusing boys living in care” and so was libellous.
Today’s ruling makes it clear- be careful what you tweet as you can be sued for libel for defamatory allegations.