In Antony & anr v Sivakumar (2020) the High Court ordered a defendant to pay the sum of £30,000 to two claimants following a defamatory post on Facebook. It’s a case that touches on many of the issues we come across in our online defamation and online harassment work.
The case involved a Facebook review posted on the claimants’ Facebook business page. The defendant made allegations of paedophilia about the Claimants which were false.
A Norwich Pharmacal order was sought against Facebook and three telecoms providers to establish the individual responsible for the statements made before proceedings were issued against the defendant. The Defendant denied responsibility for the defamatory statements made. Other than that he refused to engage meaningfully in the proceedings.
As a result the claimants were able to secure a default judgment against the defendant (although when the defendant subsequently filed a defence the judgment was set aside). The defence simply denied the claim without producing any evidence to dispute the claimant’s case
The Claimants then applied for summary judgment. The judge, satisfied that the defence had no prospect of succeeding at trial and given the seriousness of the allegations awarded the claimants £30,000 in damages.
The court also granted an injunction preventing the defendant for making similar posts in the future. The claimants were also awarded their costs in full – some £49,000.
An expensive Facebook post by the defendant.
The case demonstrates the legal tactics specialists in this area can employ to secure judgment for clients who are the victims of harmful online content. It shows too that the courts really do have teeth when asked to compensate for harmful and unjustified online material.
At Nath Solicitors we have a team of experts who deal with cases like Antony regularly. If you are faced with a similar situation, please contact us and we’ll advise you in the legal remedies available to you. . To get in touch call director Shubha Nath at Nath Solicitors on 44 (0) 203 670 5540 or contact the firm online.
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