Eight days wasted in London on Twitter libel
The victory of a New Zealand cricketer in a libel case against an Indian cricket official in London’s High Court will enrage the critics of libel tourism. As well as the advocates of free speech on twitter. And it should.
Chris Cairns, ex-captain of NZ, sued Lalit Modi for libel because Modi tweeted that Cairns was a match fixer.
24 words for £90,000 and costs
That 24-word, 131-character tweet cost Modi £90,000 in damages and costs will be on top. He says he plans to appeal.
Cairns says in an interview that he was consumed by the case: he spent 8 hours in the witness stand. Modi declined to go into the stand. This further seemed to enrage Cairns who said he reacted angrily when he heard Modi would not take the stand.
Admittedly Cairns has an international reputation. And admittedly Modi’s tweet could be read in England and Wales. But the tweet was seen by a maximum of 95 people by Modi’s tweet followers here.
Eight days wasted
All this took 8 days in the London High Court. I’ve seen nothing that indicates that Cairns will sue in NZ, where his reputation is centred. Nor in Australia where he is now resident. I’ve seen nothing that indicates that the tweet was sent from England and Wales by Modi.
I know it is not where the material is sent from, nor where it is stored, in social media. It is where it can be read.
But this is a waste of time and a poor precedent.