Rachel Riley wins libel action against Laura Murray

TV presenter wins Twitter libel case

On Monday 20 December 2020 Nicklin J handed down judgment in the libel action brought by TV presenter Rachel Riley against Laura Murray.  Ms Riley received judgment in her favour and damages of £10,000.

The claim concerned a tweet posted by Ms Murray on 3 March 2019, posted following an earlier tweet by Ms Riley, in the aftermath of an attack on Jeremy Corbyn with an egg. On 24 April 2020 Nicklin J had determined that Ms Murray’s tweet contained an allegation of fact about Ms Riley and a comment by Ms Murray on Ms Riley’s conduct, each of which were defamatory of Ms Riley.

In Monday’s judgment Nicklin J found that Ms Riley’s tweet was capable of being interpreted in at least two ways, but because Ms Murray’s tweet stated as a fact that it had one meaning, the defence of truth failed.

The defence of honest opinion failed because Ms Murray had failed to prove the truth of the foundation of her opinion.

The defence of public interest failed because Ms Murray had not demonstrated that her honest belief that the publication of her tweet was in the public interest was reasonable.

The Judge awarded £10,000 in damages because there was an element of provocation in Ms Riley’s tweet.

William Bennett QC and John Stables, instructed by Patron Law, appeared for Rachel Riley.

The judgment and a summary of the judgment prepared by the Judge can be found here.