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March 15, 2017updated 16 Mar 2017 11:28am

Katie Hopkins set to appeal Monroe Twitter libel verdict: ‘Defamation bar is as low as my labia’

By Freddy Mayhew

Katie Hopkins has said she will look to appeal the High Court judgment that found she libeled food blogger Jack Monroe on Twitter and has called for the defamation bar to be “higher” on the social media platform.

The bar refers to the level at which the judge felt “serious harm” had been caused to Monroe’s reputation, as required by the Defamation Act 2013.

Hopkins said: “I think we have reached a situation at the moment where the bar could not be lower and I think that has serious ramifications for the media industry as a whole.”

She added: “The defamation bar [is] as low as my labia. I would like the defamation bar to be at a reasonable level.”

Monroe was awarded £24,000 in damages as a result of the legal action, which concluded on Friday, with Mail Online columnist Hopkins ordered to pay in excess of £100,000 in court costs.

Monroe sued over two tweets sent by Hopkins.

The first, sent at 7.20pm on 18 May, 2015, said: “@MsJackMonroe scrawled on any memorials recently? Vandalised the memory of those who fought for your freedom. Grandma got any more medals?”

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This was prompted by Hopkins confusing Monroe with New Statesman columnist Laurie Penny who had tweeted that she did not have a problem with protesters spraying “Fuck Tory Scum” on a memorial to the women of World War Two.

Monroe immediately responded with the following tweets:

At 7.33pm: “I have NEVER ‘scrawled on a memorial’. Brother in RAF. Dad was a Para in the Falklands. You’re a piece of shit.”

7.36pm: “I’m asking you nicely please delete this lie Katie, and if I have to ask again it will be through by lawyer.”

8.14pm: “Dear @KTHopkins, plublic apology +£5k to migrant rescue & I won’t sue. It’ll be cheaper for you and v. satisfying for me.”

Hopkins then deleted the tweet and at 9.47pm wrote the second message which was also the subject of the libel action:

“Can somone explain to me – in 10 words or less – the difference between irritant @PennyRed and social anthrax @Jack Monroe.”

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s The Media Show today, Hopkins admitted she had made a “mistake” in confusing Monroe for Penny but said she was “very satisfied with her behaviour” after deleting the first tweet within a couple of hours of making the error.

She added: “I believe my second tweet was just an opinion tweet and since I deleted the first, those two don’t seem linked to me. But clearly the judge and I will differ in that opinion.

“I will not be changing the way that I operate on Twitter [as a result of the ruling]. I will be looking to try to appeal this judgement because I believe the defamation bar could be far higher.”

Former Sun writer Hopkins said: “Where it now stands, the bar is too low. Where it currently sits after this judgment, which is pertinent to my good self, is far too low.

“I would go as far as to suggest that with this judgment a whole new world of defamation judgment law has been opened up.”

She added: “What I would prefer is if someone makes a mistake, as I did, if they delete the tweet within two hours – or two-and-a-half hours, whatever – and then they formerly retract it using the language provided by the claimant’s solicitor…

“I would prefer that that’s how we operate on social media, in a grown up manner, and I would prefer that we would be able to operate in some way that isn’t litigious.

“I feel always falling back to litigation is a terrible indictment of our society.”

Hopkins said her grounds for appeal would be that no evidence of harm was produced in court and that the tweet was not injurious to Monroe.

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