Aspie awarded £10,000 damages after paedophile accusation

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Keeno
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28 Jul 2010, 3:29 am

A clear message.

This story, from the Daily Telegraph.

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Law student wins £10,000 after being branded a paedophile on Facebook

A law student left fearing reprisals after he was falsely named as a paedophile on Facebook has won a £10,000 libel damages payout at the High Court.

Published: 7:30AM BST 28 Jul 2010


Chef, Jeremiah Barber, 24, posted child porn on the Facebook page of student, Raymond Bryce, along with the comment: "Ray, you like kids and you are gay so I bet you love this picture, Ha ha."

Barber, who had fallen out with Mr Bryce over an £80 debt, removed the post, made on 23 November 2008, within 24 hours.

But he later pleaded guilty to making and distributing an indecent image of a child at Stafford Crown Court and was ordered to carry out 150 hours unpaid work and handed a £1,200 costs bill.

Now top judge Mr Justice Tugendhat, sitting at London's High Court, has awarded Mr Bryce £10,000 in libel damages for the stress he endured, including anxiety that hundreds of people in his local area may have seen the post.

Mr Bryce, 24, who lives with his parents in Stone, Staffs, suffers from high functioning Asperger's Syndrome, but has secured a place on a full time degree course studying law at Stafford University.

The dispute between him and Barber, from Stafford, arose after Mr Bryce lent his former pal £80 and he failed to pay it back, said the judge. Mr Bryce's efforts to secure repayment included obtaining a County Court order.

Judgement was entered for Mr Bryce in the libel case in November last year but he had to return to the High Court for an assesment of his damages.

In the witness box, Mr Bryce said: "Jeremy Barber put a defamatory blog (sic) on Facebook and made me appear to be a paedophile with homosexual tendencies, neither of which is true. He did so with intention and malice.

"When I viewed the pictures I was shocked because they were repulsive and disgusting and in no way reflected my attitude to life. I asked for an apology which I have not to this date received. The whole thing has been distressing, not only for myself but for my family," he added.

Mr Bryce said there had been 11 links to the post, 2 comments from viewers, and more than 800 people would have been able to view the material.

Diana Bryce, Mr Bryce's mother, also took to the witnesss box to tell the judge how the whole family had been put in fear.

"Not more than three streets away from where we live, in a family that we knew, just because the dad looked a bit weird, he was accused of being a paedophile. The family was threatened and there was an arson attack and they all had to be rehoused.

"When Raymond told me about what had happened I was really upset. He couldn't go into town because you didn't know who had been looking at Facebook. It was a vile thing to do, for him and for all our family. This is what you don't want for your son or any of your children.

"He is very easy to send up and he's been the butt of their jokes for years. He was very easy to ridicule and bully, being autistic, and he's had it all his life," she added.

"It was a horrible and really stressful time for all of us. It wouldn't be nice for any family, not knowing how many people have read it and what people are thinking.

"Some people just think there's no smoke without fire," Mrs Bryce concluded.

Mr Justice Tugendhat said: "This was not only defamatory, but a defamation which goes to a central aspect of Mr Bryce's private life as well as his public reputation.

"This post was deeply offensive to him, but also a cause for alarm.

"He could not go out in public because he feared he would be a victim of violence, which is not infrequently the result for those accused of paedophilia.

"It is well known that people accused of being pedophiles may be subjected to serious violence, even when there is no basis for the accusation.

"I can infer that the number of people who saw this Facebook page would have been in the hundreds.

"This post was clearly a malicious act and the defendant has done nothing to express any regret.

"Damages in libel actions are awarded as compensation, not as punishment, to vindicate reputation, to compensate for harm to that reputation and as compensation for injury to feelings.

"I asses the damages in this case at £10,000," the judge concluded, also imposing an injunction banning Barber from repeating the libel.

Barber was neither present, nor represented, during the hearing.



hartzofspace
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28 Jul 2010, 6:39 am

What an incredibly STUPID thing for Barber to do! :roll: I am overjoyed that he got called before a judge and made to pay damages. The bullying just never seems to stop. But at least adult Aspies can have recourse to the law. :thumright:


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PlatedDrake
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28 Jul 2010, 7:59 am

:thumright: :thumright: :thumleft: :thumleft: :hail: :hail: :cheers: :cheers:

Bout time to see bullies get what they deserve.



barney
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28 Jul 2010, 7:21 pm

I have had some bad experiences with psychiatric evaluations by people who were prejudiced against autistic people and at the autism conference in Chicago last year a forensic psychologist warned that some people "on the spectrum" are evil geniuses who sabotage things out of revenge for being bullied (computer hackers are an example).

Like racial profilers, forensic psychologists form profiles and can use these profiles against you. Part of their procile of a paedophile is that the suspect experienced sexual exploitation while growing up. I think it could be dangerous to let any psychologist or psychiatrist whom you do not know to have better integrity and thorough training in autism know of this darker side of growing up autistic especially if you were institutionalized where such things are common. It could be used against you to cast you as a paedophile especially if you are being evaluated for a legal reason.



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29 Jul 2010, 2:01 am

barney wrote:
I have had some bad experiences with psychiatric evaluations by people who were prejudiced against autistic people and at the autism conference in Chicago last year a forensic psychologist warned that some people "on the spectrum" are evil geniuses who sabotage things out of revenge for being bullied (computer hackers are an example).

Like racial profilers, forensic psychologists form profiles and can use these profiles against you. Part of their procile of a paedophile is that the suspect experienced sexual exploitation while growing up. I think it could be dangerous to let any psychologist or psychiatrist whom you do not know to have better integrity and thorough training in autism know of this darker side of growing up autistic especially if you were institutionalized where such things are common. It could be used against you to cast you as a paedophile especially if you are being evaluated for a legal reason.


When I was a kid, I would lash out at the bullies usauly by hitting but the teachers said it was my fault I was getting bullied and I got punished. My phycatrist at the time made countless notes about how I wanted revenge for bullying but instead of helping me and getting the school to take more serious action with the real bullies she just doped me up on medication. This was the mid 90's and not that much was known about AS but you still would think she would suspect the bullying had a role in my agressive tendendicies and paranoia. She was clearly an idot who needed her licence revoked.


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09 Aug 2010, 1:38 am

Justice was well served


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Asp-Z
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09 Aug 2010, 6:28 am

Good. Justice served!

I'd like to point out, though, that the Aspie did win by default, since British libel law runs on a "guilty until proven innocent" basis, and the other guy never showed up.



MONIQUEIJ
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09 Aug 2010, 8:23 am

excellent justice was gave.


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