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Wednesday, 09 May 2012 17:48

Pell repels from Twitter lawsuit

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Sydney Archbishop George Pell has decided not to sue Twitter for defamation over an Australian comedian's tweet, after it was taken down from the site.


Cardinal Pell’s legal team had alleged Catherine Deveny, a former writer at The Age, implied he was involved in the "sexual abuse of young boys", through a comedic tweet.

Pell’s lawyers submitted a defamation claim to Twitter on April 19, and only after the social networking site refused to remove the tweet after two separate written requests, according to Fairfax reports.

General Counsel for the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney Jennifer Cook requested Twitter remove the tweet on the basis it contained "unlawful, defamatory content".

The issue all arose from a particularly heated episode of ABC’s Q&A, in which Pell faced off with renowned atheist Richard Dawkings.

Pell said during the program, to considerable unintended audience laughter, "When in England, we were preparing some young English boys...for Holy Communion."

A tweet sent by Deveny the following day depicted Pell's face surrounded by, "When in England, we were preparing some young English boys".

Pell's lawyers alleged Deveny "intentionally and maliciously" took Cardinal Pell's actual comments "out of context", as she only included part of Pell's quote in the image.

Deveny has since apologized to Pell in full on her blog and retracted the tweet, with Pell’s lawyers subsequently dropping any pursuit of legal action against Twitter.


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