The transgender activist lawyer who sued Father Ted and IT Crowd writer Graham Linehan has dropped her High Court claim against him.
Stephanie Hayden accused Linehan of harassment, defamation and misuse of private information.
Linehan is a vocal critic of the campaign by transgender activists to reform the Gender Recognition Act. Currently, people who wish to legally change their sex must go through a diagnostic process, which activists argue is lengthy and intrusive and should be replaced with 'self-ID'. Opponents say allowing male-bodied people easier access to spaces reserved for females will put women at risk.
In her claim, Hayden said Linehan harassed her by referring to her with male pronouns, citing her former male name and retweeting tweets which mentioned her in derogatory terms.
Because Linehan was "mocking" of her other claims, Hayden said, pre-action correspondence would "not be productive" and so in October she went from zero to issuing proceedings. Hayden told RollOnFriday she was now dropping the claim to concentrate on other cases. "My priority must be to deal with the Mail on Sunday and the Katherine Scottow cases", she said.
In February, Kate Scottow was arrested in front of her children by Hertfordshire police and locked up for seven hours after Hayden reported the woman for deadnaming her on Twitter. Hayden is now also suing Scottow, and recently won an interim injunction preventing Scottow from referring to Hayden as a man.
She is also suing the Mail on Sunday for publishing a story about the Scottow case which she has described as libellous. One wag responded to Hayden's tweet announcing the action, "No one can reply in case you also report them to the police..."
This week Hayden persuaded the High Court to grant an order requiring Mumsnet, an online discussion forum, to disclose any details it held on the identity of a Mumsnet user so that Hayden could consider suing them, too. Hayden, who has historic convictions, claimed the user posted defamatory allegations of criminality. On Thursday, she released a statement alleging that Mumsnet complied with the order one hour and 37 minutes late, and had “demonstrated their contempt for the law of England & Wales”.
Hayden presented the end of her action against Linehan as a victory, citing the money he spent dealing with the litigation. "Graham Linehan incurred approximately £28,000 in legal costs", she tweeted. "Linehan has been given a very expensive lesson".
Linehan said, "Hayden’s action caused my family unnecessary stress and financial strain and as far as I am concerned it should never have been brought. The courts should not be used as a tool to silence discussion and debate". He told RollOnFriday, "I just hope one of Hayden’s targets takes their case to court. It would be brilliant to see Hayden’s character and conduct exposed by a judge".