Blogger Defends Claim Over Baader-Meinhof Post


Settlements for defamation and libel are based on the value of the loss of reputation.
Johanna Kaschke defected from New Labour to the Respect party in 2007. Blogger David Osler commented on Ms Kaschke’s decision to join the Respect party in an article on his blog. He also included details about her arrest and detention by German police in the 1970s.
Although Ms Kaschke spent three months in prison, she was never charged with any crime and was in fact awarded damages for wrongful arrest some time later by the German Government. Osler’s article purported to link Ms Kaschke’s alleged ‘criminal association’ with the terrorist group Baader-Meinhof. The name Baader-Meinhof was never mentioned in the course of her criminal proceedings.
It was accepted that Ms Kaschke had held a benefit gig while a student in Germany in the 1970s in aid of ‘Red Help’, an organisation that gave legal assistance to German left-wing radicals at the time. After Osler posted the article on his blog, a number of others commented on the contents and Ms Kaschke was prompted to contact Osler. He allowed her to reply to the post and, as well as removing his original post, published her reply on his blog in May 2007. Ms. Kaschke lodged proceedings against him in the County Court because of the damage to her reputation.
Ms Kaschke represented herself in Court. Osler’s lawyer, who had been instructed very late in the proceedings, argued that the right to reply and the removal of the article from the blog brought an end to the matter. As such, there could be no real benefit to the claimant in continuing with Court action as it was not necessary in order to protect her reputation. The Court agreed and the claim was struck out for ‘abuse of process’, in that there was nothing to be gained from ongoing litigation.
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