A woman from Reykjanesbaer, southwest Iceland, who is in her late twenties, has been found guilty of libel in the case of Lúkas the dog, which was rumored to have been brutally killed but was later found alive near its home in Akureyri, north Iceland.
Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.
Reykjanes District Court ruled that she is to pay Helgi Rafn Brynjarsson, the man she publicly accused of having killed the dog, ISK 700,000 (USD 5,900, EUR 4,400) in damages and legal costs, Fréttabladid reports.
Lúkas had disappeared from its home in early May 2007. Somehow the story got started that a group of visitors to the Car Days festival in Akureyri in June had put the dog in a sports bag and kicked it around until it died.
Rumor had it that the incident had been recorded and that the video showed Brynjarsson was the ringleader of the group. A number of people blogged about the alleged incident, calling Brynjarsson all sorts of names.
The blog entries caused Brynjarsson to be afraid to leave his house and he consequently lost his job, his lawyer, Arnar Kormákur Fridriksson, stated. About one month later, in mid-July, it turned out that Lúkas was alive and had been roaming the hills above town.
Two years afterwards, Brynjarsson sued one of the bloggers for libel, the woman from Reykjanesbaer. Two of her statements were deemed null and void: that Brynjarsson had committed “a despicable crime” and that the dog had “screamed inside the bag and the boy continued to kick it until it was clear that the dog had died.”
The court did not see reason to deem the comment that Brynjarsson was “a bloody loser” null and avoid, although it was considered distasteful and unreasonable. The woman also posted a picture of Brynjarsson on her blog.
Brynjarsson received ISK 200,000 in damages, ISK 100,000 to publish the verdict and ISK 400,000 in legal costs.
Fridriksson did not rule out that five other individuals who made similar public comments naming Brynjarsson as the perpetrator in the rumored death of Lúkas the dog will also be sued.
“This is a good milestone towards the work we began a long time ago in restoring the reputation of the young man and claiming the compensation that is rightly his,” Fridriksson told Morgunbladid.
Lúkas, a pure-bred Chinese Crested, is in good health and will turn five next summer. According to its owner, Kristjana Margrét Svavarsdóttir, the dog had become timid after the weeks in the wild and had taken some time to recover but now everything is fine.
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