Actor and failed London mayoral candidate Laurence Fox will have to stump up tens of thousands of pounds for the three people who are suing him for libel after he called them ‘paedophiles’ on Twitter.
Fox, who turned 44 on Thursday, is being sued by former Stonewall trustee Simon Blake, ex-Coronation Street actress Nicola Thorp and drag artist Crystal over an online row in October 2020.
In turn, he is counter-suing the trio over tweets accusing him of racism in an exchange following Sainsbury’s decision to celebrate Black History Month.
At a hearing last month, Fox’s lawyers asked for the case to be decided by a jury rather than a judge – which is now highly unusual in defamation cases.
However, Justice Nicklin denied the request for a jury, adding he had “no hesitation” in doing so.
At a hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Thursday, the judge said Fox would have to pay the trio’s legal costs of responding to his request for a jury trial – £36,684.
“I think it would be fair for me to say that this was an ambitious application,” Justice Nicklin said.
Fox, who did not appear at the most recent hearing, has been given 21 days to pay the sum.
The next hearing in the case is now due in the autumn.