Lesley Kemp faces libel suit over Twitter comments

Image caption,
Lesley Kemp said she was 'horrified' to receive the lawyers' letter

A woman who complained about an unpaid £146 invoice is facing a libel battle that could cost her more than £100,000.

Lesley Kemp, 55, took to Twitter claiming that a company based in the Middle East had failed to pay her promptly for transcription work.

Now the firm is suing Mrs Kemp, of Milton Keynes, for defamation, claiming up to £50,000 in damages and a further £70,000 in costs.

Solicitors for Resolution Productions, based in Qatar, declined to comment.

Mrs Kemp, an audio typist and transcriber, invoiced the TV production and video hire company in August for £146.

She said she later received an email from the company saying the payment had been delayed because it was experiencing late payments from a number of its own clients.

When the payment eventually arrived, £25 was outstanding, which the company explained was for bank charges.

Mrs Kemp, a grandmother-of-one, then took to Twitter to vent her frustration, calling the company's behaviour "disgraceful".

The company later accepted liability for the shortfall and paid the full amount.

'So frightening'

But Mrs Kemp said she was "horrified" to receive an email from the company's solicitors, announcing that they were suing her for defamation over her tweets.

"I couldn't believe it. They had threatened in previous emails to sue me but I thought it was hot air," she said.

"I'm absolutely horrified at how easy it is to slap a legal suit on someone. It was so frightening."

Mrs Kemp said she could not afford legal representation, and feared the law suit might ruin her financially.

Now, however, the case has been taken up on a no-win, no-fee basis by solicitor Robert Dougans of London practice Bryan Cave, and barrister Jonathan Price.

Mr Dougans said: "We thought this was a case we couldn't let go.

"The rights and wrongs are for the court to decide but we didn't think it was right for someone to be put in a corner like this.

"We're going to fight it all the way. My instructions are to take this to trial as quickly as possible."

Mrs Kemp said she was also grateful for the support of the Libel Reform Campaign, and a campaign to raise money to cover the legal fees she has incurred so far.

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.