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Common sense settlement in McAlpine libel case


Sync

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Lord McAlpine row: George Monbiot reaches 'unprecedented' settlement | Media | guardian.co.uk

The Guardian columnist George Monbiot has reached what he called an "unprecedented" libel settlement with Lord McAlpine, pledging to carry out three years of charity work as recompense for Twitter messages that wrongly linked the former Conservative chairman with an allegation of child sex abuse.

Monbiot repeated that he was "extremely sorry" for the erroneous tweets sent in November last year and said he would carry out work amounting to £25,000 on behalf of three charities.
In a statement Monbiot said:

"I accepted the suggestion immediately and without reservation. I feel the proposed settlement reflects very well on Lord McAlpine, who is seeking nothing for himself, but wants to see work done which could be of great benefit to others.

"I am currently working on finding three charities to whom I can be useful and with whom I can build a good relationship, with a particular emphasis on groups helping dispossessed or abused or destitute children, groups helping children to reconnect with nature and groups seeking the restoration of damaged ecosystems. I am also investigating creative and interesting ways of generating value or raising money for them.

"I have been prompted by Lord McAlpine's admirable proposal to do the right thing – something I should have been doing all along – and I hope very much that I am able to do it well."
Good to see. I'm all for pursuing websites/papers for financial damages, but in cases like this, where the libel is due to idiocy as opposed to maliciousness or profit making, a full apology with appropriate public service seems a good way to make repairs.

McAlpine has his good name back, a public and full apology, the culprit learns his lesson and 3 charities will benefit. Good stuff all around.
 

Sync

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Could a similar case ever conclude as quickly in Ireland?
Most times in Ireland we don't get this sort of thing with Twitter and repeating libel do we? Most people have more sense. This was kind of an outlyer due to the circumstances surrounding the story and the multiple BBC muckups.
 

ShoutingIsLeadership

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Most times in Ireland we don't get this sort of thing with Twitter and repeating libel do we? Most people have more sense. This was kind of an outlyer due to the circumstances surrounding the story and the multiple BBC muckups.
Sorry, I didn't mean to relate it specifically to Twitter. Is it not more likely that people wait until they are on the steps of the High Court before they magically agree a settlement?
 

SilverSpurs

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Lord McAlpine row: George Monbiot reaches 'unprecedented' settlement | Media | guardian.co.uk



In a statement Monbiot said:



Good to see. I'm all for pursuing websites/papers for financial damages, but in cases like this, where the libel is due to idiocy as opposed to maliciousness or profit making, a full apology with appropriate public service seems a good way to make repairs.

McAlpine has his good name back, a public and full apology, the culprit learns his lesson and 3 charities will benefit. Good stuff all around.
Is it possible to be libelled by Monbiot on the basis that he isn't believable after the codology he spun about 'climate change'.
 

Clanrickard

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Is it possible to be libelled by Monbiot on the basis that he isn't believable after the codology he spun about 'climate change'.
Off topic and nonsense.
 
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t's basically a payment of £25k spread over three years, and he gets to spread his word among an audience he feels he should have been reaching with his evangelising.

Monbiot is not a cheap speaker by any means (I know of one organisation who refused to deal with him after they saw the accumulated costs of getting him to the venue in an eco-friendly manner.

It looks to me as if he can speak to a local school or five for "free" while claiming his normal fee against the £25k figure.

He makes quite a bit from his current gig, but has no particular aadience among the audience he promises to target, so that won't cut into the earnings from his target paying audience, and then saw his fee for the talk).

Hell, if he really wants to cut the costs to himself all he has to ask of the organisers of the next speaking engagement is: "While we have the venue, do you think we could do maybe two presentations for kids, one on the afternoon of the event and one the following morning?"

Forgive my cynicism, but I'm minded of a soccer-player in the past who received a few hundred hours Community Service for some reason. Turned out that an hour at the local school training their players counted for over a hundred hours as a result of preparation time,number of participants. As a result of his fame, in essence.

I should point out tha I agree essentially with Monbiot's core message, but this will cost him relatively little money and time, it's spreading a message to an audience he previously hadn't targeted, and I'm thankful that this is a civil rather than a criminal decision.
 
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Does anyone have any clue as to what Des Quirell is on about above?
The £é(k and the "three years" are entirely arbitrary figures and mean nothing in practice

Monbiot won't pay a penny or lose a penny.

The deal is merely PR puff for him and for McAlpine
 

Kilbarry

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Deliberate Libel

It should be noted that the BBC (and Monbiot) libelled Lord McAlpine on the word of Steven Messham who had already been exposed as a fraudster in a New Stateman article in February 1999 written by UK cultural historian Richard Webster. Incredibly the article was entitled "What the BBC Did Not Tell Us" but it refers to a BBC programme broadcast 13 years before the McAlpine libel.
What the BBC did not tell us

This is what Webster wrote about accuser Steven Messham in 1999:

The next witness to appear on the programme was Steven Messham. He said that on one occasion, when he had been in the sick-bay with blood pouring from his mouth, he had been buggered by Howarth as he lay in bed. He said that on another occasion he was asked to take a hamper of food to Howarth’s flat, where he was buggered by Howarth over the kitchen table.

What the BBC did not tell us was that Messham claims he was sexually abused by no less than 49 different people. He also says he has been physically abused by 26 people. In 1994 the Crown Prosecution Service declined to bring his allegations against Howarth to court. None of his allegations has ever resulted in a conviction. In 1995 one of his most serious sexual allegations was rejected by a jury after barristers argued that it was a transparent fabrication.


Why didn't the BBC Google Messham's name before broadcasting their latest libel? Wny didn't George Monbiot? And what are the chances that either of them would have made a "mistake" like that about Arthur Scargill say? McAlpine was targetted because he had been an adviser to Margaret Thatcher.
 

Kilbarry

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Deliberate Libel

........

Why didn't the BBC Google Messham's name before broadcasting their latest libel? Wny didn't George Monbiot? And what are the chances that either of them would have made a "mistake" like that about Arthur Scargill say? McAlpine was targetted because he had been an adviser to Margaret Thatcher.
Similarly Fr Kevin Reynolds was targeted because he was a Catholic priest and Sean Gallagher because he was supported by Fianna Fail. Does anyone believe that Primetime would "mistakenly" libel a Protestant clergyman using similar "evidence" or that Frontline would "mistakenly" derail the Presidential campaign of Michael D. Higgins??

Both RTE and the BBC choose the targets of their libels on ideological grounds. MISTAKE doesn't come into it!
 

Sync

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Sally Bercow shows how not to have common sense:

Sally Bercow says she is "surprised and disappointed" by the High Court ruling that her tweet about Tory peer Lord McAlpine was libellous.

The tweet - which read: "Why is Lord McAlpine trending? *Innocent face*" - appeared in November, two days after the BBC's Newsnight wrongly implicated the former Conservative Party treasurer in sex abuse allegations.

In a statement following the ruling, Mrs Bercow said: "Today the High Court found that my tweet constituted a serious libel, both in its natural meaning and as an innuendo.

"To say I'm surprised and disappointed by this is an understatement. However, I will accept the ruling as the end of the matter.

There will be another hearing at a later date on the appropriate level of damages, unless the two sides reach a settlement.
Idiot.

Twitter libel: Sally Bercow's tweet about Lord McAlpine ruled libellous - Crime - UK - The Independent
 

Sister Mercedes

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How is she an 'Idiot' for alluding to something that was broadcast on the flagship BBC TV News Show "Newsnight"?

Are we now expected to empirically verify news before we can comment on it, by personally contacting all the people involved?

Freedom of Speech in the UK is headed in the Irish Direction.
 

Sync

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How is she an 'Idiot' for alluding to something that was broadcast on the flagship BBC TV News Show "Newsnight"?

Are we now expected to empirically verify news before we can comment on it, by personally contacting all the people involved?

Freedom of Speech in the UK is headed in the Irish Direction.
It wasn't broadcast. They stated that a senior conservative was involved. If they had run with it and named him then I agree, there wouldn't have been an issue.

What Bercow was clearly doing was nudge nudge wink wink bolloxology (The technical legal name) designed to impugn McAlpine's reputation.
 

Sync

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The judge sums it up well:

In his judgment, Tugendhat said there was no sensible reason for Bercow to include the words "*innocent face*" in her tweet, which sensible readers among her 56,000 followers would have understood to be "insincere and ironical".

He decided that her tweet "provided the last piece in the jigsaw" and allowed readers to wrongly link McAlpine with the allegation of child sexual abuse. "It is an allegation of guilt. I see no room on these facts for any less serious meaning," Tugendhat added.
Bercow shows a stunning lack of perspective:

Bercow described the legal wrangle with McAlpine as a "nightmare" and added: "I am sure he has found it as stressful as I have."
I'd say the person you helped to label a child molester has probably had a tougher time of it than you actually.

She's agreed a settlement to charity of McAlpine's choice and to apologise in open court.
 

Paddyc

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I'm reminded of Homer Simpson telling Marge that it takes two to lie, one to lie and one to be lied to.

Monbiot does come out of this a lot better as does McAlpine who comes across as being remarkably forgiving, considering the awful crimes he was being accused of and not really wanting to be overly punitive, all things considered.
 

Sync

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Exactly. Bercow's defence amounted to "Oh I didn't know why he was tweeting I was just interested". That's a rubbish defence. It was clearly an accusation of guilt. Judge was dead right.
 

Sister Mercedes

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Exactly. Bercow's defence amounted to "Oh I didn't know why he was tweeting I was just interested". That's a rubbish defence. It was clearly an accusation of guilt. Judge was dead right.
Bercow didn't make it up. She was alluding to an accusation (incorrect as it turned out) that was coming from BBC's Newsnight programme. It wasn't malicious, and in the US she could have not have been sued for it.

You're the chief advocate on this site for the suppression of Freedom of Speech. It's not a positive quality in the Moderator of an Internet Forum.
 

Sync

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Bercow didn't make it up. She was alluding to an accusation (incorrect as it turned out) that was coming from BBC's Newsnight programme. It wasn't malicious, and in the US she could have not have been sued for it.

You're the chief advocate on this site for the suppression of Freedom of Speech. It's not a positive quality in the Moderator of an Internet Forum.
It's not freedom of speech if it violates the law. She violated the law. BBC did NOT make a direct accusation towards McAlpine. The internet did that. It was untrue. She was part of the spread of that untrue, damaging claim.
 
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