Puddick Precedent Will Be Important

Guido has been awaiting the trial of Ian Puddick with avid interest. Puddick set up a series of websites to vent his anger over his wife’s 10-year affair with her boss, Timothy Haynes. On the first day of the case there has been no suggestion that anything posted online by Ian Puddick is untrue, simply that the widespread and repeated dissemination amounts to harassment. He was raided by the City of London Police on dubious grounds. This is as Mr Puddick himself says “a very interesting case”.

Tory MP Nadine Dorries is hounded online to a degree that is amazing for a backbench MP, even for one as admittedly colourful as Nadine, her persecution is extraordinary. Every thing she says, writes or tweets is deconstructed. Any slip of the tongue is a lie, any poorly phrased blog post is used in evidence against her. She is an outspoken woman with strong views, a socially conservative opponent of abortion. In some circles this is a thought-crime.

Her forays into blogging and tweeting have brought her nothing but grief, Guido advised her some years ago to quit the online limelight. There is little she can do about what people write about her online if it is not defamatory or a provable lie. Opinion is hard to action.

Lawyers believe the Puddick case could help define the limits of free expression online, the prosecution claims the plumber’s actions were harassment such that they forced the adulterous director to leave his position due to stress. In Guido’s opinion unless the harassment takes the form of direct communication – email, telephone, faxes, letters, tweets – it should not be actionable. If this case sets a precedent that online publication can be harassment won’t it have a chilling effect on free expression? For years this blog wrote almost daily negative stories about Gordon Brown, we know that this stressed him greatly. Should Brown be allowed to sue Guido for harassment? Should Nadine be allowed to sue her enemies for harassing her online?




Tip offs: 0709 284 0531
team@Order-order.com

Quote of the Day

Nick Timothy on George Osborne’s latest:

“Evening Standard editorials will soon be shortlisted for the Booker Prize.”

Sponsors

Guidogram: Sign up

Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.
All Smiles After Cabinet All Smiles After Cabinet
Who’s The Eye’s Telegraph Mole? Who’s The Eye’s Telegraph Mole?
UK Green Lobby Funded by Anti-Immigrant Multi-Millionaire UK Green Lobby Funded by Anti-Immigrant Multi-Millionaire
Tory Glasto Hosted by Multi-Millionaire Gambling Magnate Tory Glasto Hosted by Multi-Millionaire Gambling Magnate
Hammond and Treasury “On Manoeuvres” Against Brexit Hammond and Treasury “On Manoeuvres” Against Brexit
Osborne Lands Job Number Seven Osborne Lands Job Number Seven
Civil Service ‘Not Really Preparing’ For No Deal Civil Service ‘Not Really Preparing’ For No Deal
Osborne’s Latest Duff Analysis Osborne’s Latest Duff Analysis
Corbynista Journo Banned from Conference Corbynista Journo Banned from Conference
Sheerman’s Shameless Shilling Sheerman’s Shameless Shilling
Carwyn Jones Picks a Winner Carwyn Jones Picks a Winner
Red Robbins: May’s Brexit Supremo is Soviet Sympathiser Red Robbins: May’s Brexit Supremo is Soviet Sympathiser
Owen Goes Full Brent Owen Goes Full Brent
What Caused Rachel Sylvester’s Volte Face? What Caused Rachel Sylvester’s Volte Face?
Labour Moderates Screwed Labour Moderates Screwed
WATCH Boris: “I’m Not Resigning” WATCH Boris: “I’m Not Resigning”
Corbynistas Seek Right to Suspend NEC Elections With “Venezuela Amendment” Corbynistas Seek Right to Suspend NEC Elections With “Venezuela Amendment”
Osborne Repents Osborne Repents
Meanwhile on Labour’s Facebook Forum Meanwhile on Labour’s Facebook Forum
Heywood Breaching Cabinet Manual by Bypassing Ministers Heywood Breaching Cabinet Manual by Bypassing Ministers