Brighton lawyer facing Twitter action

First published in News by , Senior Reporter

 A lawyer is facing the threat of legal action after he wrongly accused a Tory peer of being a paedophile.

Duncan Roy from Brighton named Lord McAlpine as a child abuser in a lengthy blog posted under his pseudonym Scrapper Duncan.

The peer, who was incorrectly ‘outed’ as a paedophile after a botched BBC Newsnight investigation into child abuse at a North Wales care home, has vowed to pursue web users who repeated the false allegations.

In his post, which he promoted on Twitter, Mr Roy branded Lord McAlpine “evil” and claimed he had “a source” to back up the paedophilia claim.

He also suggested: “These allegations have been known about in informed circles for many years.”

Mr Roy, who practised at the Bar until 2010, also said he was “prepared to go to prison” to protect his confidential source.

After the allegations against Lord McAlpine were proved false, Mr Roy’s post naming Lord McAlpine was swiftly removed. However, at least one version has been re-published elsewhere and remains online.

'Pay the price'

Kelly Harrison, a solicitor from Lord McAlpine’s legal team, confirmed Mr Roy’s post was being investigated.

She said: “A lot of people have said some very silly things and now they will have to pay the price.

“We will be looking at this web post before making a decision whether to take any action.”

Lord McAlpine has since said he will pursue individual action against any Twitter user who repeated the allegations who has more than 500 followers. Mr Roy has 859.

When contacted, Mr Roy praised the “soaring heights of journalism” at The Argus but refused to comment on any legal threat to him.

Lord McAlpine’s solicitor Andrew Reid previously said action was being considered against a “very long list” of Twitter users.

Cash settlement

The peer has already reached a £185,000 settlement with the BBC and his lawyers are in talks with ITV over a bigger payment.

Comedian Alan Davies and the Commons Speaker’s wife Sally Bercow are among the prominent figures who have already apologised for linking the peer to child abuse allegations.

On Wednesday it emerged that Scotland Yard is to start looking into whether any criminal offence has taken place in connection with the saga.

It is thought crimes could reportedly include the offence of malicious communication.

Twitter users, and those who might have posted information on social networking sites, could face prosecution under the Communications Act 2003 or the Malicious Communications Act 1988.

The maximum penalty, on summary conviction, is up to six months in prison, or a fine up to £5,000, or both.

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Comments (14)

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3:42pm Fri 23 Nov 12

s&k says...

Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent. Ludwig Wittgenstein s&k
  • Score: 0

3:56pm Fri 23 Nov 12

yaddab says...

Lol


"When contacted, Mr Roy praised the “soaring heights of journalism” at The Argus but refused to comment on any legal threat to him. "


Does the Argus not know sarcasm when it sees ?
Lol "When contacted, Mr Roy praised the “soaring heights of journalism” at The Argus but refused to comment on any legal threat to him. " Does the Argus not know sarcasm when it sees ? yaddab
  • Score: 0

4:25pm Fri 23 Nov 12

Sally_Bee says...

having read his blog he seems to delight in being genuinely nasty to anyone he disagrees with politically, and when its unfounded you have to pay the price for just being malicious. I wish Lord McAlpine all the best what a nasty smear to have endeared.
having read his blog he seems to delight in being genuinely nasty to anyone he disagrees with politically, and when its unfounded you have to pay the price for just being malicious. I wish Lord McAlpine all the best what a nasty smear to have endeared. Sally_Bee
  • Score: 0

4:30pm Fri 23 Nov 12

still waiting says...

Poetic justice, it seems. It's all very well shouting to the world via your blog but even a barrister should understand that occasionally some facts should underpin a good story.
Poetic justice, it seems. It's all very well shouting to the world via your blog but even a barrister should understand that occasionally some facts should underpin a good story. still waiting
  • Score: 0

6:09pm Fri 23 Nov 12

Algeria Touchshriek says...

The hunter becomes the hunted!!
The hunter becomes the hunted!! Algeria Touchshriek
  • Score: 0

8:20pm Fri 23 Nov 12

GRANDAD says...

Not the sharpest knife ( soon to appear )in the box.
Not the sharpest knife ( soon to appear )in the box. GRANDAD
  • Score: 0

8:49pm Fri 23 Nov 12

thucydides says...

Funnily enough I recently got Mr Roy confused with someone else who had the same name........
Funnily enough I recently got Mr Roy confused with someone else who had the same name........ thucydides
  • Score: 0

9:48pm Fri 23 Nov 12

pperrin says...

Green party cheerleader Scrapper Duncan has been happily blogging unjustified nastyness about plebs for a long time - will he be taking those posts down? Or does he just bow to the rich and powerful I wonder...
Green party cheerleader Scrapper Duncan has been happily blogging unjustified nastyness about plebs for a long time - will he be taking those posts down? Or does he just bow to the rich and powerful I wonder... pperrin
  • Score: 0

11:25pm Fri 23 Nov 12

Hove Actually says...

Karma
Karma Hove Actually
  • Score: 0

4:48am Sat 24 Nov 12

Dirk Von Roden says...

the only thing I know is the author/Lord , has a lot of sympathy for the false allegations ! but going after folk who retweeted is wrong and malicious in my honest opinion ! the same as making threats about suing! how can you sue someone for repeating something that has been in the national news ??is Machavaeli just a book or a guideline in how to play the system?? I am really confused! I abhore false allegations and beleive those who make them should pay for it but if something is already there how can you repeating what is in black and white be a crime ? David Icke has made so many allegations not only against certain Lords but has allso said David Cameron etc etc the Royal family are all Lizards ! how come he has not been charged or sued!??? or is it that because he has a worldwide following no one will sue? I am very very confused ! I am so glad I do not go out side my home unless it is very necessary! just in case I get sued for saying "Good Morning" when its raining!! things are getting bad in this country!
the only thing I know is the author/Lord , has a lot of sympathy for the false allegations ! but going after folk who retweeted is wrong and malicious in my honest opinion ! the same as making threats about suing! how can you sue someone for repeating something that has been in the national news ??is Machavaeli just a book or a guideline in how to play the system?? I am really confused! I abhore false allegations and beleive those who make them should pay for it but if something is already there how can you repeating what is in black and white be a crime ? David Icke has made so many allegations not only against certain Lords but has allso said David Cameron etc etc the Royal family are all Lizards ! how come he has not been charged or sued!??? or is it that because he has a worldwide following no one will sue? I am very very confused ! I am so glad I do not go out side my home unless it is very necessary! just in case I get sued for saying "Good Morning" when its raining!! things are getting bad in this country! Dirk Von Roden
  • Score: 0

10:25am Sat 24 Nov 12

ibidi03 says...

It is surprising that the Green Party continue to tolerate the activities of Duncan Roy - his campaign against the Argus undermines the Green Administration's chances of a good relationship with this local paper, which is so important for positive comunication with Brighton and Hove residents. His blog represents an unpleasant aspect of the Party which I am sure many members would not want to be associated with. Yet he is obviously encouraged from within, as confidential information has been leaked to him to publish on his blog from someone inside the administration. And now this. The Green Party is nothing to do with the allegations that Roy made, but his blog is written from a party political perspective and the Greens would do well to distance themselves from it. Talk about bringing the Party into disrepute!
It is surprising that the Green Party continue to tolerate the activities of Duncan Roy - his campaign against the Argus undermines the Green Administration's chances of a good relationship with this local paper, which is so important for positive comunication with Brighton and Hove residents. His blog represents an unpleasant aspect of the Party which I am sure many members would not want to be associated with. Yet he is obviously encouraged from within, as confidential information has been leaked to him to publish on his blog from someone inside the administration. And now this. The Green Party is nothing to do with the allegations that Roy made, but his blog is written from a party political perspective and the Greens would do well to distance themselves from it. Talk about bringing the Party into disrepute! ibidi03
  • Score: 1

10:48am Sat 24 Nov 12

matlock says...

It's very surprising that a lawyer should make such a schoolboy error as relying upon the press as his source of accurate information.

I don't think he will escape the attention of McAlpine's legal team as he is the publisher of his own comments and is therefore accountable.

However, it is unlikely the CPS will approve a Malicious Communication prosecution as his intent does not appear to be that McAlpine should be the recipient of his blog.

I couldn't say whether the national press will be prosecuted under the Malicious Communications Act. What they published has undeniably caused distress to McAlpine, but they could argue he was not the intended recipient of what they sent. However, I really hope the CPS pursue this as a test case as it could clean-up our vile press.
It's very surprising that a lawyer should make such a schoolboy error as relying upon the press as his source of accurate information. I don't think he will escape the attention of McAlpine's legal team as he is the publisher of his own comments and is therefore accountable. However, it is unlikely the CPS will approve a Malicious Communication prosecution as his intent does not appear to be that McAlpine should be the recipient of his blog. I couldn't say whether the national press will be prosecuted under the Malicious Communications Act. What they published has undeniably caused distress to McAlpine, but they could argue he was not the intended recipient of what they sent. However, I really hope the CPS pursue this as a test case as it could clean-up our vile press. matlock
  • Score: 0

12:17pm Sat 24 Nov 12

Martha Gunn says...

Looks like time for another show trial and purge by the Green Party comrades. Surely he has done more damage than the evangelical ever did?
Looks like time for another show trial and purge by the Green Party comrades. Surely he has done more damage than the evangelical ever did? Martha Gunn
  • Score: 0

11:13pm Sun 25 Nov 12

Just asking! says...

Duncan Roy also made allegations about other people, apart from Lord McAlpine, in his blog but does not seem to be apologising for that. His grovelling apology reads like it was scripted by McAlpine's legal team and it is a joy to see him having do the bidding of his political enemies.
Duncan Roy also made allegations about other people, apart from Lord McAlpine, in his blog but does not seem to be apologising for that. His grovelling apology reads like it was scripted by McAlpine's legal team and it is a joy to see him having do the bidding of his political enemies. Just asking!
  • Score: 1

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