Will Daily Mail columnist Katie Hopkins appeal a libel verdict leaving her on the hook for tweets that accused blogger Jack Monroe of vandalizing a war memorial? The controversial Hopkins, who also regularly appears on British television, was ordered this month to pay £24,000 and hefty legal fees over two 2015 tweets aimed at Monroe.
While Hopkins didn’t appear in court during the March trial, she has given interviews since the trial that indicate she will appeal the guilty verdict. However, she has yet to file paperwork for any appeal.
In a statement sent to iMediaEthics, Monroe’s lawyer, Mark Lewis, suggested Hopkins is just trying to “spin” the ruling against her.
Despite Hopkins’ comments to the media, her legal team hasn’t been in touch and her lawyers didn’t ask to appeal when the ruling was issued, his statement said. iMediaEthics has contacted Hopkins and her lawyers for a response and information about any appeal.
After the verdict, Hopkins stated in a March 15 BBC interview, “I think we’ve reached a situation right at this moment where the defamation bar on Twitter could not be lower, and I think that has serious ramifications for the media industry as a whole.”
Hopkins told the BBC after the verdict that she wasn’t “certain” her team would appeal but, “It is very likely that we will appeal and the grounds for that appeal will be the fact that no evidence of harm was produced in the court … there is absolutely no evidence that anybody believed the tweet that I wrote.”
When asked if she would repeat the actions she took in the Monroe case — where she sent a follow-up provocative tweet after being threatened with legal action, and refused to apologize — she said, “I will not be changing the way that I operate on Twitter, I will be looking to try to appeal this judgment because I believe the defamation bar should be far higher.”
As iMediaEthics previously reported, Hopkins’ 2015 tweets asked if Monroe “scrawled on any memorials lately? Vandalised the memory of those who fought for your freedom? Grandma got any more medals?”
Hopkins meant to send her comment to New Statesman columnist Laurie Penny but misdirected her tweet to Monroe, suggesting Monroe vandalized war memorials.
Monroe demanded an apology and retraction. While Hopkins did delete that tweet after a few hours, she then sent a tweet calling Monroe “social anthrax,” which didn’t indicate Hopkins conceded erring in the original misdirected tweet.
Read Lewis’s full statement to iMediaEthics below:
“Notwithstanding Katie Hopkins’ public pronouncements that she will appeal, we have not been notified by her solicitors that such is the case, in fact we have not heard from them at all, permission was not sought at court when the judgment was handed down. If she decides that she wishes to seek permission to appeal I am very confident that such will be dismissed by the court as having no merit whatsoever. It sounds like face saving “spin” rather than the proper legal process”.