201608.04

Stalked by Internet Trolls? You Are Not Powerless!

Internet trolls are one of the most unpleasant features of modern life – but with the right legal advice their victims are not powerless. In one case, a former councillor who was smeared online as a paedophile and child rapist won an injunction and libel damages against one of his tormenters.

The High Court found that the allegations made in the online posts – whose authors hid behind pseudonyms and which were accompanied by offensive mocked-up photographs – were entirely false. The man had complained politely but resorted to legal action after he was met by expletive-laden abuse.

With the assistance of his legal team, he had succeeded in identifying some of those responsible and most of the posts had been removed from the web. However, one habitual troll had so far proved untraceable. Summary judgment was entered against him and he was ordered to pay his victim £10,000 in libel damages, the maximum that the Court had power to award.

The troll was ordered to desist from publishing any further defamatory material concerning the man but was given 14 days in which to challenge the amount of the award. However, the Court ruled that he would only be permitted to do so if he stepped out from the shadows and revealed his name and address.

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