Defamation: think before you speak online.

The High Court has granted an interim injunction against Balvinder Sambhi (t/a Torquebars) following the publishing of 84 YouTube videos which defamed the claimants, Al-KO Kober Limited, manufacturers of caravan components, and the claimant’s solicitors.

The parties are competitor businesses and the defendant’s publications on YouTube sought to deliberately defame the claimant. The publications alleged that the claimant’s products were unsafe and referred to the claimant as a “killer”, thus implying that they knew the products were unsatisfactory and that they were misleading their customers.

Al-KO Kober Limited brought an action for malicious falsehood, which was successful on the basis that Balvinder Sambhi could not prove that any of his statements were true. The court therefore concluded that any further statements would be deemed to be malicious and an interim injunction was granted.

Al-KO Kober Limited, also sought relief because of Balvinder Sambhi failure to comply with a data subject notice under section 10 of the Data Protection Act 1998.

The notice required the defendant to stop publishing words and images about the claimant. The defendant had published video footage, still images and a telephone recording. The defendant argued that the information was already in the public domain and this was the reason for his refusal to comply. The court made clear that no such exemption applied under the Data Protection Act. The court confirmed that the claimant was being “menaced” as a result of the criticism which extended beyond what a commercial entity would have to face in the ordinary course of business. The defendant was prevented from processing or causing to permit the defendant’s personal data to be processed further.

This is a useful reminder to any businesses or individuals publishing information online that breaches of the Data Protection Act will be taken seriously by the courts and a failure to comply with data protection notices or to comply with all legal requirements in the processing of personal data could lead to serious consequences financially and, potentially to you or your business’ reputation. This includes ensuring you are registered with the ICO.

Defamation is a serious offence. If you are going through a similar experience and have a case for defamation, please do not hesitate to contact us at Griffin Law on 01732 525923 or email justice@griffinlaw.co.uk.

For more information on the case, see Al-Ko Kober Ltd and Paul Jones v Balvinder Sambhi [2017] EWHC 2474 (QB)

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