Laurence Fox loses last round in Supreme Court smear battle

Laurence Fox lost in the latest round of his Supreme Court defamation lawsuit against three people he called “pedophiles” on Twitter.

The actor, 44, is being sued by former Stonewall commissioner Simon Blake, former actress Nicola Thorp and drag artist Crystal – also known as Colin Seymour – sued over an online controversy in October 2020 .

By contrast, Mr Fox – who founded the Reclaim Party and was unsuccessful as a candidate in the last London mayoral election – is fighting back against the trio over tweets accusing him of racism in a exchange following Sainsbury’s decision to celebrate Black History Month.

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Nicola Thorp (Isabel Infantes / PA)

At Tuesday’s hearing, Mr Justice Nicklin was asked to decide on a number of preliminary issues in the statements, including the “natural and normal” meaning of the tweets and whether they were factual statements. or opinion.

In a ruling on Tuesday afternoon, the judge dismissed Fox’s argument that his tweets were “bloated comments” and found that they would be treated as statements of fact.

Heather Rogers KC, representing the trio, told the court: “Clearly this is an allegation that this person is a pedophile.

“It was shocking, it was brief, but really, in general, pedophilia is not a common derogatory term. It’s not like ‘twat’ or a bunch of other words.

“Pedophilia is a word that has both meaning and impact and damaging effect. It’s kind of sticky. “

She added: “Even on Twitter there are limits, and calling someone a pedophile is not just abuse.”

Ms Rogers later said that tweets from Mr Blake, Mr Seymour and Ms Thorp referring to Mr Fox as “racist” were all “indelible comments”.

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Drag queen Crystal is one of the claimants in the case (Ian West/PA)

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Greg Callus, for Mr Fox, said the actor never believed the trio were pedophiles.

“Mr Fox could be construed as suggesting that two people could play the game making extremely serious allegations without any factual basis,” the attorney said in written arguments.

Mr Callus said the actor’s tweets would be considered “vulgar abuse” in response to the trio which readers would not consider as fact.

He told the court: “They are being used in such a way that a reasonable reader normally understands what is being said not to be used as a literal statement.”

“The important thing is that it’s extreme… It’s not the kind of accusation, taken seriously, taken out of the shackles,” he said.

Mr Callus added: “Almost anyone who uses Twitter will immediately understand that this is not an allegation that the claimants are actually guilty of child molestation.”

The lawyer also said that three claimants had made allegations that Mr Fox was a racist “without proper basis”.

Mr. Justice Nicklin agreed with the attorneys of the three claimants, finding that Mr. Fox’s tweets were factual statements that could be construed as each of the three “are pedophiles”. prostitution and has or is likely to engage in sexual acts involving children, such conduct constitutes a serious criminal offence”.

“In my judgment, it is a factual charge that the defendant accepts as defamation,” he continued.

Rejecting Fox’s argument that his tweets were abusive, Mr. Justice Nicklin said: “The allegation that a person is a pedophile does not qualify as mere abuse.”

He added: “There is nothing to indicate that these words have not been given their clear meaning.”

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Tuesday’s hearing took place at Court 13 of the Royal Court of Justice (Aaron Chown/PA)

In the counterclaim, the judge found that the tweets sent to Mr Fox were statements of opinion, arguing that they were “very different from allegations of calling someone a pedophile”.

However, Mr. Justice Nicklin found that Ms. Thorp was unable to defend her honest position on the counterclaim.

Tuesday’s ruling came after Mr. Fox lost his case to have a jury hear the defamation trial instead of a single judge.

In May, Mr Fox was ordered to pay £36,684 of the trio’s legal costs in response to his unsuccessful claim.

https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/laurence-fox-loses-latest-round-of-high-court-libel-battle-42111195.html Laurence Fox loses last round in Supreme Court smear battle

Fry Electronics Team

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