The parties were anonymised. The Claimant (“C”) was, a graduate hoping to train as a lawyer. The Defendant (“D”) was her uncle.
The background to the claim involved an acrimonious family dispute involving, amongst others, C and her mother on one side, and D and C’s grandmother (“the Grandmother”) on another.
On 18 July 2018, C went on an afternoon and evening out to see the X-Factor auditions. C’s aunt created a post on Facebook about the trip, to which the Grandmother responded. The Grandmother then deleted this post, upon realising that C was also present, given the acrimony between them.
C and her mother responded to the Grandmother with goading comments. The next day, in response, the Grandmother posted a message referring to C as an “evil little troll” and reproducing an angry text message which C had sent her.
D posted his own response, the NTP Post, at 19.47, just 34 minutes after the Grandmother. Eleven minutes later, he re-posted having made some typographical corrections:
“On my God, can’t believe your you’re getting sucked in to [the Mother] and [C]’s sick world, I know it’s not easy when they’ve been sending sick texts and the endless abusive calls and online abuse – don’t put any more online, you unlike them have you your dignity, all you your kids are from one man and you’ve never had treatment for mental health and self harm – leave them to the police – what’s going on with getting the injunction against the 2 suck sick bitches”
The focus of the claim was on the words “treatment for mental health and self harm” (“the words complained of”).
C submitted a takedown request to Facebook and the NTP Post was removed by Facebook at 22.53 the same day for violation of its community standards, approximately three hours after it was posted. Facebook refused to remove the Grandmother’s post.