NI: Ulster Unionist Party politician awarded £48,750 for defamatory tweet by Sinn Féin politician
The Member of Parliament for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, has been awarded £48,750.00 after a Sinn Féin politician posted a defamatory statement about him on Twitter in May 2014.
Philip Flanagan, a Sinn Féin MLA, published a tweet about Thomas Elliot MP, a member of the Ulster Unionist Party.
The tweet appeared on 1 May 2014, and stated “Tom Elliot talks to @StephenNolan about the past. I wonder if he will reveal how many people he harassed or shot as a member of the UDR.”
The tweet referred to Mr Elliot’s time as a member serving in the Ulster Defence Regiment between 1992 and 1999.
The plaintiff gave evidence, which was accepted by the judge, that he had an entirely clear disciplinary record in relation to his time with the UDR.
The defendant did not give evidence but in an affidavit sworn on 22 October 2015 stated that Twitter provides a service which is known as “Twitter Analytics” which measures the engagement of individual tweets. It revealed that the tweet was seen by 167 of his followers on Twitter and that 6 of those 167 retweeted the original tweet. One of those 167 “favourited” the tweet.