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Cartoon: Lord McAlpine dies

Matthew Buck Hack Cartoons and Multimedia

© Matthew Buck Hack Cartoons and Multimedia

One of the more famous libel litigants of the recent past has died.

Lord Alistair McAlpine famously sued Sally Bercow, wife of the current speaker of the House of Commons, for libel following a tweet she made about him amid allegations of his collusion in covering up a long-running series of stories in paedophilia at a number of  children’s homes in North Wales. This followed broadcast of allegations on BBC Newsnight in 2012.

Ten thousand or more other people who made similar allegations across social media services were not prosecuted.

Beyond the details of death, a bigger issue here is the spread of global communication tools and which mean legal jurisdictions are no longer as easily enforceable as they once were (see the cartoon).

In another example of this phenomenon, The Wall Street Journal newspaper in America has just won a legal case allowing it to report details of the long-running #hackingtrial about the activities of the former News International businesses (now News UK).

This means they will now be able to report detail that cannot legally be reported or repeated in the United Kingdom.



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