Friday 20 October 2017

Writer wins £24k damages from columnist Katie Hopkins

Katie Hopkins. Photo: Philip Toscano/PA Wire
Katie Hopkins. Photo: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

Cathy Gordon

A writer has won £24,000 (€27,461) damages in a High Court action against controversial newspaper columnist Katie Hopkins over tweets she said caused "serious harm" to her reputation.

Jack Monroe, a food blogger who also campaigns over poverty issues, sued Hopkins over two "war memorial" tweets, asking a judge in London to find she was "defamed" by the former Apprentice contestant.

Following a recent hearing, Mr Justice Warby ruled in Monroe's favour on Friday.

Monroe tweeted: "It's taken 21 months but today the High Court ruled that Hopkins statements to/about me were defamatory. I sued her for libel. and I won."

Jack Monroe. Photo: Nick Ansell/PA Wire
Jack Monroe. Photo: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

The case arose after Twitter erupted following the daubing of a memorial to the women of the Second World War in Whitehall with the words "F... Tory scum" during an anti-austerity demonstration.

Monroe took legal action over what her lawyer told the judge was a "widely published allegation" that she had "either vandalised a war memorial or approved of such an act", an allegation that would "inevitably cause serious damage to reputation".

Jonathan Price, for Hopkins, told the judge her case was "this relatively trivial dispute arose and was resolved on Twitter in a period of several hours".

He argued "no lasting harm, and certainly no serious harm", to Monroe's reputation resulted from it.

Hopkins had "mistakenly" used Monroe's Twitter handle instead of that of another columnist who had tweeted about the war memorial incident.

But Mr Justice Warby ruled "whilst the claimant may not have proved that her reputation suffered gravely, I am satisfied that she has established that the publications complained of caused serious harm to her reputation".

He said their publication "not only caused Ms Monroe real and substantial distress, but also harm to her reputation which was serious".

The judge concluded: "Ms Monroe is entitled to fair and reasonable compensation, which I assess at £24,000."

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