Bloggers, Beware of Comments

By: Will McNair · January 27, 2009 · Filed Under Torts · 13 Comments 

According to Out-law, the English High Court has ruled that a man who did not delete an allegedly-defamatory post from his blog could not sue the poster in defamation.

Christopher Carrie, the would-be litigant, established the blog in 2007 to promote his self-published book, in which he alleges that he was sexually abused by the late Father John Tolkien, who died in 2003. Tolkien was the son of an author with whom you may be familiar. According to Carrie, Tolkien’s grandson Royd Tolkien posted a comment on his site, accusing Carrie of lying about the abuse to extract money from the Catholic church.

The court found that by leaving the inflammatory remarks online, Carrie had consented to their publication, which contradicted his assertion that the post caused him “substantial upset and distress”. The ruling is here.

Summary judgment: Leaving the post online for all to see does little to alleviate the suspicion that Carrie was trying to cash in by besmirching a famous surname.

Comments

13 Responses to “Bloggers, Beware of Comments”

  1. Christopher Carrie on February 3rd, 2009 5:26 am

    Sir David Eady has set a dangerous precedent with this ruling.
    At the time of the posting I had very little understanding of how to edit my blog. This is evidenced by the 15 days it took me to work out how to delete my personal address. I then took the view it was too late to do anything more than argue the case in the forum. To that end I left Royd Tolkien’s scurrilous comments in place. The name Tolkien was very much in the news at the time virtue of the debacle between New Line Cinema and the Tolkien Estate. This resulted in Royd’s rant being copied and pasted throughout the Internet in a matter of hours. For me to remove it from one site was the equivalent of urinating on a volcano.
    The thing that irks me most about Sir David Eady’s conclusion is; he knows about as much as I did at the time of the posting about blogging and editing i.e. next to nothing.
    Combine his lack of knowledge with my position, unrepresented, against the Tolkien millions and you get the judgement he made. For the judge to use precedent set in matters concerning Arab billionaires is ridiculous. I am a single parent of two children struggling to make ends meet.
    I am prepared to answer any sensible question posed on this forum.
    Yours
    Christopher Carrie

  2. Marnie Tunay on March 17th, 2009 1:45 pm

    I think the summary judgment in the article above is unfair. I agree with Carrie that it can take awhile to figure out how to delete comments from a blog. I had that trouble with two of my blogs. Moreover, on one of my blogs I have to manually check for recent comments – I don’t get email notices. Additionally, there is the question of how to take action on a complaint if one has personally destroyed the evidence, which may also have been in Carrie’s mind.
    Having said all that, however, I do think there was a more effective way to deal with a comment like that: and that would have been to have left it on and challenged the commentator to provide proof of his allegation – together with a reminder to Tolkien that his comment is defamatory and the onus is therefore on him to either back it up with proof or to withdraw the comment like a gentleman. I do think this would have had the effect of spinning back on Tolkien, deservedly so, the detrimental effects of his comment. Moreover, I doubt anyone would have taken his comment seriously in lieu of proof – most of the cyberworld has had some experience of online trolls by now.

  3. Marnie Tunay on March 17th, 2009 1:51 pm

    P.S. I should add that my advice above about how to best address defamatory comments only applies, of course, if the comments are made about the blog owner. I quickly delete comments posted on my sites that defame anyone else – and I leave a note addressing the commentator by name if I know it and explaining why the comment was deleted (ie that it was defamatory/obscene/abusive asf). I have found this to be a very effective method for discouraging the making of further inappropriate comments. It also helps to teach people what is appropriate and what isn’t. Not everybody online automatically knows the difference.

  4. Carsten Weschells on May 5th, 2009 3:38 pm

    I’m a fan of Tolkien and a lot of us have know about this man who has hassles Tolkiens for many years. It is good to see he has not won and it is good to see the exposition of his lies and motivations. I believe Justice Eady made the correct decision and I hope this man will now stop his hassles of the Tolkiens and lovers of Tolkien books.

  5. Christopher Carrie on May 11th, 2009 4:33 am

    Carsten – Dream on…

    Marnie – Check these
    Quote; “Tolkien has been arrested…” Detective Inspector Steve Craddock, West-Midlands Police.

    Quote; “The case passed what is termed the evidential test; in that it was felt there was sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction.” Julie Seddon, Crown Prosecution Service.

  6. Roger Ansell on May 17th, 2009 6:26 am

    I can’t find a news source for those two quotes on the internet. Perhaps you could direct me to the news website they are quoted from so I can research this most interesting case. I would like to interview both these people.

  7. Christopher Carrie on May 18th, 2009 4:40 am

    The quote from DI Steve Craddock was a personal quote.

    The quote from the CPS can be verified at the following link:

    http://icbirmingham.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/0100localnews/content_objectid=13198462_method=full_siteid=50002_headline=–Damages–paid-in-Tolkien-case-name_page.html

  8. Roger Ansell on May 19th, 2009 5:20 am

    OK, so no online source for the first quote.
    On the second quote, despite searching, I cannot find any reference to a quote from the CPS or a Julie Seddon. I presume you have posted an incorrect link. Please could you post a link so I can verify this source and speak to Ms Seddon. Thanks.

  9. Christopher Carrie on May 20th, 2009 3:18 am

    The quote in this newspaper report is clear enough-don’t you think?
    Considering this news dates back to 2003 it’s reasonable to accept the many, many reports at that time have expired.

    Try archiving the information! http://www.archive.org/web/web.php

    Or if you are accredited contact the ‘Crown Prosecution Services’ and ask.
    You could contact the ‘Sunday Mercury’ and ask them to verify the quote used in the article.

    “A police investigation was launched into the sex abuse allegations and the Crown Prosecution Service decided that ***there was enough evidence to put Fr Tolkien before the courts***.
    But by that time he was too ill to be charged.”

  10. Roger Ansell on May 20th, 2009 11:26 am

    I still can’t find the quote, but thanks for the Sunday Mercury suggestion, I’ll call them.

    Just to clarify – “But by that time he was too ill to be charged.” – So he was never actually charged?

  11. Christopher Carrie on May 21st, 2009 4:40 am

    Correct he was not charged and forwarded for trial on the basis he was deemed to be in a state of senile dementia.
    I should add I took a private libel action in the High Courts against Fr Tolkien. The process of getting to court took fourteen months. Fr Tolkien died on the very morning his case was listed, stranger than fiction.

  12. Roger Ansell on May 22nd, 2009 4:43 am

    To be clear then – there were no judgements made against Fr Tolkien? If you have anything concrete, I’d be very interested in writing an article, but I’m sure you appreciate I can only publish if there are hard facts to deal with.

  13. Christopher Carrie on October 29th, 2009 10:48 pm

    Tolkien fans are flocking to my new website
    http://www.wix.com/CCarrie/TOLKIEN-TEMPLATE

    Sample of my page on Royd:
    In mid February 2007 Royd Baker took exception to me promoting my book Kloneit by posting the following on a movie forum.

    “10 Facts about Christopher Carrie

    1 Carrie has a criminal record which would prevent him working with children or vulnerable adults.

    2 Carrie is a fraudster who has tried for many years, unsuccessfully, to defraud and extract money from the Catholic Church, the Tolkien family and other celebrities.

    3 Carrie is well known to local and national police. He has been contacted by them on numerous occasions with regard to his threatening behavior.

    4 Carrie has admitted that he lied about his sexual abuse in order to extract money from the church. (The Sun, 14th September 2004). Carrie said: It was mischievous of me but when theres money on offer

    5 Carrie did not live within 100 miles of John Tolkien when at the time of the alleged abuse.

    6 Carrie has never won a legal case against another party.

    7 Carrie has never sued anyone who has challenged his self published lies.

    8 Carrie part owns Luna Internet. This is the only reason his website still exists.

    9 Carrie is trying to sell the film rights to his fictitious life story on ebay for £1 million. No one has bid for it.

    10 Carrie is currently a struggling IT worker who lives at 2 Conway Close, Solihull, West Midlands, B90 4RR you can contact him there.

    Royd Tolkien”

    The only factual part of his posting is my address.

    So why did this snivelling piece of shit do this.

    I made it my business to learn more about Royd. It didn’t take long to find he’s a nothing who plays on the Tolkien name in order to fulfill his egotistical aims.
    In comlete contovention of the principle Tolkien mandate he allowed Peter Jackson to use him to give credence to the film they were so much against. Then he posed naked for a gay magazine see photo one.