Jail serious, that’s how serious.
Stuart Syvret, a politician and former Health Minister of Jersey, was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment on 4th November in connection with material published on his blog. He had made grave allegations against a nurse in a hospital with a high death rate, and against several individuals regarding historic child abuse in Jersey care homes.
Yesterday, Teresa May, the Home Secretary, confirmed the Government would not seek to overturn an amendment supported by peers in the House of Lords in December 2012, regarding the removal of the word ‘insulting’ from Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986.
Section 5 states that: “threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour” could be deemed a criminal offence. The amendment to the Act was proposed last year by the former chief Constable of the West Midlands, Lord Dear, as part of the Crime and Courts Bill.#
With the end of the year quickly approaching we thought we’d do a round up on the big stories we’ve covered this year relating to the law and social media.
From Twitter users being sued, fined and jailed to Facebook cyber bullying, it’s been a very interesting year in the world of social media.
The fallout from the Lord McAlpine saga continues this week with reports that Sally Bercow, the Speaker’s wife, is being sued by McAlpine for a tweet Mrs Bercow made which linked McAlpine to the allegations of child abuse which were aired on BBC’s Newsnight.
The BBC reports that lawyers acting for Lord McAlpine have made a claim for damages limited to £50,000.
Comedian Frankie Boyle has won a defamation case against the Daily Mirror after the newspaper described him as racist in an article published in July last year, according to the BBC.
Boyle was awarded £50,650 by a High Court jury after deciding that the description was libellous, and another £4,250 for allegations that he had been “forced to quit” comedy show ‘Mock the Week’.
The Daily Mail has targeted Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs) after receiving a £130,000 bill for a defamation claim by actor Neil Morrissey which settled for just £15,000, according to The Press Gazette.
In early 2011 The Daily Mail alleged that Mr Morrissey had been banned from a local bar near his home in France for drunken behaviour.
Today’s Supreme Court judgement will significantly impact defamation law in England and Wales as it deals with one of the “most difficult areas of the law of defamation, the defence of fair comment”, renaming it “honest comment”. (more…)