Drammens Tidende 18 November 2003
Libel appeal dismissed
By Herborg Bergaplass
The court of appeal has dismissed an appeal by a 45-year-old Englishman who for years has harassed a woman from Nedre Eiker, and who had sued her for libel.
The Englishman has twice been convicted of harassing the woman. The 45-year-old has sent her hundreds of letters, telephoned her countless times, and sent "reports" containing various allegations about her to several newspapers and other entities in Norway. The woman from Nedre Eiker met the man when she was an au pair in England over 20 years ago. When their relationship ended, the harassment began. And when the woman told her story to Drammens Tidende and other Norwegian newspapers, the man responded by suing her for libel and demanding NOK 50,000 in compensation for non-pecuniary damages. He lost the case in the municipal court, and was ordered to pay costs. The 45-year-old appealed to Borgarting Court of Appeal, and in October the parties met in the courthouse in Drammen.
"My client is pleased that the verdict delivered by the municipal court has been upheld, and that the man has been ordered to pay court costs," says the woman's lawyer, advocate Vegard Aaløkken.
Arrested in court. No later than 14 days after service of the verdict, the Englishman is required to pay court costs totalling NOK 105,000. He was arrested by the police immediately after the proceedings in the court of appeal were concluded and he was charged with new cases of severe persecution, this time on the internet. The 45-year-old was brought before the court for a remand hearing, and appeared to be a repentant sinner. He pleaded guilty to harassing the woman, and was sentenced there and then. The judge felt that eight months' conditional imprisonment was appropriate, on condition that all information posted on the internet about the woman be deleted.
Terms breached. All he did was to give the woman a fictitious name on the web site, which is not enough for the police.
Ingunn Hodne, police lawyer at Søndre Buskerud Police Force, will apparently file for an alteration of terms. Ms Hodne says to Drammens Tidende that she has not had time to consider the case yet, but will do so shortly.
Last updated: 18 November 2003 23:12