Northern Ireland news

Dr Christian Jessen facing legal costs and damages 'well over £250,000'

Dr Christian Jessen appears at Belfast High Court during an earlier hearing. Picture by Hugh Russell

DOCTOR Christian Jessen could have to pay well over £250,000 in damages and legal costs following yesterday's libel case.

The TV personality, best known for presenting Channel Four's Embarrassing Bodies, engaged a London firm of solicitors, a Belfast firm and a senior and junior counsel in Belfast.

He will have to pay his own legal costs as well as those of Mrs Foster.

It is understood he is facing substantial six-figure legal bills as well as £125,000 for damages.

The total is expected to be in excess of £250,000.

Mr Justice McAlinden awarded costs on an indemnity basis which means that it is now up to Dr Jessen to either challenge Mrs Foster's legal bills or pay them.

If he does not agree to pay Mrs Foster's costs and damages, the matter will be passed to financial recovery specialists.

It is understood that Mrs Foster's legal team are pushing for the money to be paid as soon as possible.

Following the case, Mrs Foster's solicitor Paul Tweed, one of the world's most high-profile libel lawyers, said he was pleased by the outcome.

"It's record damages for the UK and Ireland for a defamatory tweet," he said.

"The previous highest award was £90,000 for a cricketer accused of match-fixing.

"It's a good result. It's a good vindication for my client.

"Both the First Minister and deputy First Minister took to a platform a few weeks ago to speak out against online abuse.

"Women in high-level politics have had to suffer.

"It's an important case, an important decision for women in politics right across the political and religious divide."

Mr Tweed said he hoped the case would discourage people from making defamatory remarks online.

"We have now entered the era of accountability for what you tweet," he said.

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