A JERSEY businesswoman who made ‘nasty’ and ‘baseless’ comments on Facebook about a TV anti-bullying campaigner has been ordered by a UK court to pay her £60,000.
Emma Hammond (37), who lives in Jersey, was ordered to pay £25,000 in damages and £35,000 in legal costs to Bullies Out ambassador and online coach Lisa Johnson (45) for libel and malicious falsehood.
Her comments were described in the High Court by Judge Richard Spearman KC as ‘nasty baseless libels’, according to the Daily Mail, and Mrs Hammond was told never to repeat them.
The pair were reported to have fallen out when Mrs Hammond refused to pay for an online course she had signed up for.
Mrs Hammond then took to Facebook and penned the offending post in May 2022, the court heard.
After Mrs Hammond failed to defend herself in court, Mrs Johnson won a judgment in her favour in November last year.
The damages element of the case was determined last week.
The court was told that Mrs Johnson found the post particularly hurtful because she had been bullied herself. She told the court that seeing the post had made her feel ‘physically sick’ and made her wonder if she had done something wrong and did not remember.
Her barrister, Gemma McNeil-Walsh, said that only a few days after the post was made, Mrs Hammond had set up her own business selling similar programmes to the Bullies Out charity champion.
Judge Spearman said: ‘The bullying allegation, in my judgment, is significant here in light of what the claimant says in her evidence about her association with anti-bullying campaigning.’
It had resulted in Mrs Johnson suffering ‘very significant psychological consequences’ and she was left ‘deeply upset’ – so much so that she had ended up taking anti-depressants, the court heard.
Mrs Hammond was said to have shown ‘no contrition or remorse whatsoever’, leading Judge Spearman to conclude that a ‘substantial award of damages is plainly appropriate’.