A rare settlement has been agreed between the former Conservative chairman and the guardian columnist George Monbiot following defamatory tweets that wrongfully linked Lord McAlpine with child sex abuse.
Following a suggestion from Lord McAlpines lawyer Andrew Ried, Monbiot has pledged to carry out 3 years of charity work amounting to £25,000 for three children’s charities as a form of compensation for the defamation carried out late last year.
The tweets were a response to the BBC’s ruinous Newsnight programme on child sex abuse in November. The guardian columnist was part of mass libel carried out by a number of high profile twitter users, including Commons speakers wife Sally Bercow (whom McAlpine is currently engaged in litigation with that is heading to the High Court).
Monbiot has repeatedly apologised for the incident and has stated:
- I accepted the suggestion for charity work without reservation, the proposed settlement reflects very well on Lord McAlpine who is seeking nothing for himself but wants work done that will be of benefit to others.
- Newsnights story was completely wrong, I helped to stroke an atmosphere of innuendo around an innocent man, I remain extremely sorry for the harm I have caused him.
- For the attention of twitter users: please make sure you check your facts and think before you tweet.
This is yet another case that highlights consequences for the misuse of the internet, McAlpines admiral proposal to allow children’s charities to benefit from the case is a rare departure from the monetary settlements common in defamation cases.