News

"I can hear music...sweet tweet music"

November 2nd, 2012

Libelling someone on Twitter is a big deal.  It can result in huge damages. £90,000 was awarded to former New Zealand cricket captain Chris Cairns over an accusation of match-fixing. Cairns, 42, sued Lalit Modi, former chairman of the Indian Premier League, who published the allegation on Twitter in January 2010.  Cairns argued the allegation turned his achievements to "dust".  Modi appealed the award but the Court of Appeal has this week (October 2012) upheld the award.

In giving judgement in March 2012, Mr Justice Bean ruled that Modi had "singularly failed" to provide any reliable evidence that Cairns was involved in match-fixing or spot-fixing, or even that there were strong grounds for suspicion that he was.

A Court of Appeal headed by the Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, said the award of £90,000 was proportionate to the seriousness of the allegation and its direct impact on Cairns himself - and would serve to vindicate his reputation.  It mattered that Twitter had a "percolating" effect - meaning it attracts a wider readership / following which would mean many people would have seen the allegations.  Tweeters beware - 140 characters can be very costly!