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Football Fan Must Pay £18,000 Libel Damages for Angry Internet Post

Awards for libel/defamation have risen significantly since the Internet was invented. The reason why is obvious in that it provides the perfect opportunity for people to vent their anger, sometimes anonymously.

Such vents of anger are often directed towards an individual and the comments, if untrue, will be defamation. This in turn means such comments are actionable by the victim which can lead to a substantial damages payout as below.

Contrary to popular belief, you cannot say whatever you like on the Internet and ill-considered comments posted in anger can prove extremely costly. In one case, a disgruntled football fan was ordered to pay £18,000 in libel damages after falsely describing a club’s in-house lawyer as a ‘well-known struck off solicitor’.

The fan was deeply upset by the way that the club was being managed and posted his comment on a website that was popular with supporters. In the end, he did not dispute that the comment was false, in that the lawyer had never been struck off and remained a practising solicitor of good standing, and summary judgment had been entered against him.

In assessing the amount of damages payable, the High Court noted that the post, which had remained in place for about three weeks, had probably been viewed by hundreds, rather than thousands, of people and had caused no lasting harm to the lawyer’s reputation. The fan had ultimately apologised.

The seriousness of the libel was, however, aggravated by the fan’s late admission of liability and his persistent pursuit of other damaging slurs against the lawyer. The libel was not one that could be construed as merely tongue in cheek. The fan was also ordered to pay the substantial legal costs of the case.

If you are a victim of online discrimination email us today at info@selachii.co.uk or call us on 020 7792 5649.  Our team of specialist lawyers are hugely experienced in all types of litigation.

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