LONDON – A judge has ruled that a former police officer who was sued by a lawyer for an insulting tweet must pay damages.
The court in Bristol ruled that Paul Cuthbertson should pay £1,200 ($2,000) to the lawyer, Richard Stover, after the tweet was deleted.
Cuthberson’s lawyer argued that he was entitled to a court hearing and damages.
However, the court in London said there was no evidence the tweet caused any injury.
It also said Stover’s tweet was likely to cause embarrassment to Cuthbersons family.
The judge said that while there was a clear distinction between what is offensive and what is not, “the nature of the comment does not allow the plaintiff to be compensated for any injury which may have been caused.”
He added that Cuthbetts tweets were not defamatory and should be considered as part of the civil litigation process.
The tweet was published on October 23, 2016, shortly after the death of Cuthibers father, John, in a car crash.
It was captioned: “John was a fine young man who had the heart of a lion.”
In the tweet, Cuthbert said: “I am sorry I did not stop you.
I will never forgive myself for what I did to you.”
The judge also said the tweet would have caused embarrassment to his family and had caused “irreparable harm”.
Cuthberson’s lawyers argued that it was a breach of duty and defamation to publish the comment, but the judge dismissed the case.