Businessman ordered to pay £82,000 costs in Twitter libel case

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A Qatar businessman has been ordered to pay £82,000 costs after pulling out of a Twitter libel case.

The order followed grandmother Lesley Kemp’s victory in her David and Goliath battle.

Home typist, Lesley, 55, had been suicidal with worry after being threatened with a £100,000 libel action seven months ago.

Lesley has completed £150 work for Middle Eastern company Resolution Production, run by Mr Kirby Kearns.

When Mr Kearns was late paying the bill – then allegedly demanded bank charges too –Lesley went on to Twitter to describe the delay “disgraceful”.

The simple tweet sparked the libel claim for £50,000 plus up to £50,000 costs. Losing the case would have cost Lesley and her husband Kevin, their Greenleys home.

On her website Lesley states: “The judge described some of the behaviour of Mr Kearns’s solicitor, Barjinder Sahota, as lacking proportion and Mr Kearns was ordered by Mr Justice Nicol to pay £82,000 within 14 days of 5 December 2013.”

The Citizen reported Lesley’s story in April which prompted offers of help from sympathetic lawayers and legal experts.

“People were amazing,” said Lesley. I was in a very black place to the extent that at times I was even contemplating suicide. But for the first time I didn’t feel I was fighting this enormous battle alone.”

The Libel Reform Campaign covered Lesley’s initial £800 court costs.

But Mr Kirby, who sent threatening emails to the Citizen, dropped his claim last month before the case was due to to to court.

He said: “Regrettably I have taken the decision to pull out due to aperson reason and due to the huge advance costs to be paid into court that are being applied for by Mrs Kemp’s legal team.”

Afterwards, a relieved Lesley said: “Words cannot describe the relief I feel and my gratitude towards the people who have helped me. The whole experience affected me terribly. It has been a living hell.”

She is now offering to help other victims in the same situation.