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Woman wins libel battle over husband 'strangle' Facebook post

Woman wins libel battle over husband 'strangle' Facebook post

Nicola Stocker made the comments in an online exchange with her ex-husband's new partner
A woman has won a libel battle against her ex-husband over comments she made on Facebook about him trying to strangle her.Nicola Stocker, 51, made the remarks about Ronald Stocker in an online exchange with his new partner in 2012.Mr Stocker previously won his case at London's High Court after it was ruled people reading Mrs Stocker's post would have thought he tried to kill her.But the ruling has now been overturned by the Supreme Court.A panel of five justices said the High Court judge, Mr Justice Mitting, made a legal error by using the dictionary definition of "strangle" when he ruled Mrs Stocker's comment meant her ex-husband "tried to kill" her.
Giving their ruling, Lord Kerr said: "In consequence, he failed to conduct a realistic exploration of how the ordinary reader of the post would have understood it."In view of the judge's error of law, his decision as to the meaning of the Facebook post cannot stand."Lord Kerr said the "ordinary reader" would have understood the comments to mean Mr Stocker, 68, grasped the neck of his ex-wife and not that he tried to kill her.
The court heard Ronald Stocker left red marks on Nicola Stocker's neck which were visible two hours
The comments were made by Mrs Stocker, who is from Longwick, Buckinghamshire, in an exchange with her ex-husband's new partner Deborah Bligh.During the 2016 High Court trial it was said the post was visible to 110 of Ms Bligh's Facebook friends.Ruling in favour of Mrs Stocker on Wednesday, Lord Kerr said: "It is beyond dispute that Mr Stocker grasped his wife by the throat so tightly as to leave red marks on her neck visible to police officers two hours after the attack on her took place."It is not disputed that he breached a non-molestation order. Nor has it been asserted that he did not utter threats to Mrs Stocker."Many would consider these to be sufficient to establish that he was a dangerous and disreputable man."Mr Stocker, from Aston Clinton in Buckinghamshire, has been ordered to pay all legal costs.
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UK Supreme Court
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