Ms Hartley Dooda took grave exception yesterday to a Tweet from an account called NHS Million. Observing that minor thesp, not very good singer and dead on arrival politician Laurence Fox was parading a badge claiming he was exempt from wearing a face covering, the account told “Laurence Fox, Toby Young and Julia H-B continue to post nonsense like this”. Does that look libellous? Ms Hartley Dooda claimed it did.
Egged on by someone called Laura Dodsworth, she asserted “They say they've deleted it but I can still see it. It's libellous”. Oh what a giveaway! Ms Hartley Dooda does not get to say what may or may not be libellous, or, to use the correct terminology, defamatory of her. Moreover, this is not a first, a one-off slip: back in 2016, she told one critic “You've deleted your libellous tweet. Shame I screengrabbed it, eh? Still libel unless you apologise”.
It’s still alleged to be defamatory, she means. But she does not set out what form of words she claims to be defamatory. One does not merely proclaim airily that something is libellous. Thus another giveaway. Coming back two years to 2018, and we encounter Ms Hartley Dooda’s sensitivity to accusations of racism. This brought another giveaway.
“Suing for libel is an expensive business so I’d need to know what you’re worth first” she scolded. Yes, it is potentially expensive, but she’s not without a bob or two. In any case, if it’s supposed to be about defending her reputation, shouldn’t that come first? And talking of her being accused of racism, the latest of those brought a serious slip.
Earlier this month, a Tweeter suggested she was racist. “Please can you tweet me your lawyer’s contact details so we know where to send the libel writ to”. Whoops! Someone’s not been paying attention. One, they don’t do “libel writs” any more. The term is “Letter Before Action”, or LBA. And Two, they don’t have to be posted.
So back we come to NHS Million, and Ms Hartley Dooda claiming that what they asserted was libellous. The account said sorry, but one observer wondered what they were apologising for. “Calling out someone who spouts nonsense on Twitter is not libellous. Should've left it up, it was right on the money. Pity” was their conclusion.
I’ll go further: Ms Hartley Dooda shows by the language she uses that her grasp of defamation law is neither up to date, nor accurate. She has accused several Tweeters of libelling her, but as far as is known, has not taken any action against any of those who have declined to retract and apologise. Which leads to one conclusion.
Julia Hartley Dooda appears to be full of wind and ignorance. But you knew that already.
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