South West Wales

Council libel blogger must pay £25,000 or lose house

Mark James and Jacqui Thompson
Image caption Mark James won a libel action against blogger Jacqui Thompson last year

A blogger who launched a "campaign of harassment" against a council chief executive faces losing her house if she fails to pay £25,000 damages to him.

Jacqui Thompson was arrested in 2011 for filming a Carmarthenshire council meeting and sued Mark James for libel.

He counter-sued for posts made on her blog and received £25,000 in damages.

Carmarthen County Court imposed a suspended possession order on Thursday where her Llanwrda house will be sold if she does not make monthly payments.

Mrs Thompson was ordered to pay £250 a month over the next 10 years to cover the damages that were originally awarded in 2011.

Quoting the High Court ruling on awarding damages, Mr James' solicitor Mark Spackman said she engaged in an "unlawful campaign of harassment and defamation" and had "entirely been the author of her own misfortune".

'No option'

He told the hearing a 2016 valuation of Mrs Thompson's bungalow, which she co-owns with her husband, deemed it was worth £200,000.

She argued its value was between £150,000 and £180,000 and said granting an order for its sale would breach her human rights and have a " devastating impact" on family life.

Mrs Thompson also said her blog was "legitimate comment" on the activities of the council.

She also faces legal costs of £190,000 over the dispute - which has been ongoing since 2011.

Mr James said: "I was left with no other option in circumstances where Mrs Thompson openly refused to settle the judgement or make a reasonable proposal for payment."

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