Like I care – anonymous defamation on the internet

“In my judgment, given the popularity of the website and the vile and offensive publications thereon, and the need for vindication, it is appropriate to make an order in the sum of £10,000. I will, however, in order to enable the Defendant to have a chance to put his side of the case on quantum, include as part of the order a liberty on the part of the Defendant to apply to vary the quantification if he considers that it is excessive or otherwise unjustified. The Defendant will have 14 days in which to lodge an application with the High Court for variation of that part of the order. If no such application is made within 14 days, then the sum of £10,000 will remain definitive. In this way, in my judgment, the interests of the Defendant are adequately protected. Any such application must however adhere to the normal procedural rules. It cannot be anonymous. The true name and address of the Defendant must be provided.
I am also satisfied that the pleaded allegations establish a case for the grant of injunctive relief against the Defendants. The Defendant has deliberately declined to participate in any process whereby the offending material was removed from the website. There is reason to believe that the Defendant would, unless enjoined, persist in the offensive campaign against the Claimant. In coming to this conclusion I have regard, as I have already observed, to section 12 of the Human Rights Act. The injunctions are prohibitory and mandatory. I have considered whether it is appropriate to grant relief in both forms. On the facts of this case I am satisfied that it is.”

suesspiciousminds

I don’t write about Queen Bench Division cases very often (not least because I usually can’t understand a single word of them), but this one seemed pertinent.

It relates to a McKenzie Friend operating in the family Court sphere,  who is also a blogger. And a satirical website that took a disliking to him.  It also relates to whether anonymity is a thick shield or a flimsy one in a defamation case.

Smith v Unknown Defendant Pseudonym ‘Likeicare’ and Others 2016

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2016/1775.html

  • There is before the Court today an application for default and summary judgment against the Second Defendant. The Claimant is a former borough councillor in Welwyn, Hatfield. He is active as a McKenzie friend. The Defendants are, so the Claimant asserts, users and operators of the website EncyclopediaDramatica.se (ED). ED is a satirical website which uses the Wiki software. The site is, to put it mildly, controversial and…

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