Can I haz some defamation money pleez?

South Tyneside Council’s legal foray into Twitter’s nether data regions doesn’t seem to be going away. Today’s Guardian legal blog has some comment questioning the legal basis for South Tyneside Council’s use of public money for the case, and  news site the Register has covered the news, kindly linking to the original Demand For Jury Trial at San Mateo Superior Court over the alleged defamation on various Mr Monkey WordPress blogs.

I didn’t know the document was in the public domain until it was featured on tonight’s BBC North East news so I’ve not read it before.  It does make interesting reading.  On page 58, referring to False Defamatory Statement number 94 against David Potts, the local blogger Rossinisbird is mentioned.  It refers to a post on the Mr Monkey ‘Monkeyhouse’ blog in July 2008, which I’d forgotten all about.  However, the Monkeyhouse blog post selectively referred to in the statement mentions me specifically by name.

If you’ve read the original full blog post, you’ll see that David Potts wasn’t the main target.  I was.  David Potts was drive-by collateral damage in the Monkey’s sub-literate attempt at humour at my expense, which contained nothing truthful about me.  Despite the horrendous slight on my good name, I resisted pursuing anyone in the courts for comparing me to David Potts.

Besides, I’ve been called much worse than a malfunctioning dildo and likely will again, and making a big issue of it would only have raised the silly simian’s profile and ego.  Anyhow, I don’t have the deep and generous pockets of South Tyneside’s council-tax payers to back expensive legal actions.

It’s already been suggested to me that I should have a tee-shirt made with “I was defamed by Mr Monkey” to wear as a badge of honour.  Given the number of people the Monkey maligned in South Tyneside, it might be a lucrative seller too.


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5 responses to “Can I haz some defamation money pleez?”

  1. curly says :

    When you get them printed I’ll buy one too.

  2. Bryan says :

    Maybe it’s just me but if I’d have been compared with a dildo I’d have presumed it was a compliment.

  3. brianpaget says :

    Whistleblower, thanks for your comment, its been a while. I think part of your post dances on the line between fair comment and libel, so I’m minded to not let your comment pass moderation, for two key reasons.

    First, my decision was tainted by the concern that the councillor you’ve referred to has already been the beneficiary of South Tyneside Council funding their personal legal action. Given the heated situation, I do not want to be subject to libel action myself or be drawn into this affair. Chalk my caution down to the chilling effect of libel on free speech if you like.

    Second, I think you can get your message across without specific comment on the individual, and instead focus on what they do or say. In these already volatile circumstances, your approach just seems a little too nasty and personal, even for my robust constitution.

    I think your comment relating to council staff to be grossly unfair and unnecessarily insulting. You may genuinely hold this opinion, but viewed objectively it seems extremely sour. However, this comment didn’t affect my decision not to approve.

    I think you’ve got some interesting news to impart, so if you’re willing to moderate your post in such a way that it doesn’t put my head in the noose, and to be less personally abrasive, I’ll be more than happy to approve your post.

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