Basically I would like to know if:-
a) Can somebody be sued for libel if they have made a libelous statement in a text message, or does libel only cover something in writing or in a newspaper.
b) If the answer to question point a) is YES, if somebody (Janice) uses their own phone, to pretend to be somebody else (i.e our granddaughter, Jade). can they (Janice) be sued for libel, as this message has been sent from their phone and she is the registered owner of this phone. So basically can she get out of it by saying, 'I didn't send this message, it was nothing to do with me, it was sent by Jade (our granddaugter). Because this is what she has said to me basically when I accused her (Janice) of pretending to be Jade (our granddaugter). So if somebody (Jade) uses her (Janice's) phone, could she still be sued for libel, as it has been sent from her (Janice's) phone.
c) If the answer to point b) is YES, do you think that she (Janice) could be sued by my wife (Lorraine) for an act of Libel.
d) If the answer to ponit c) is YES, do you think that Libel action would be successful.
e) If it was successful, what sort of punishment would it be. would it be looking at. A fine, or a prison sentece. And finally,
f) If it was a fine, how much could it be for (the maximim amount) or if it was a prison sentence, how long could it be for (months/years)
At the end of the day the last thing that my wife and I want to do is to take this action, as we would much prefer to sort this matter out like responsible adults, by having a long chat with her, and pointing out to her, that what she is doing is actually against the law and that she could therefore get a fine (or even a prison sentence). This is the last thing that we would ever want to do, but she refuses to speak to me. She will have nothing to no with me. Could I send her a text message or even an e-mail maybe explainging this to her, if she won't actually talk to me in person or on the phone (neither of which she is prepared to do)
But we are sick to death of this, as this sort of thing has been going on for 4 years now, and we just want it to stop it.
So to sum up, I think that we can might be able to sue her for saying that my wife (Lorrane) said that she (Janice) was a bad mother, because Lorraine has never said that to her or anone else and never would say that. And she (Janice) said in her text message to Lorraine, that Lorraine was SNIDE, which also is not true, as Snide according to the dictionary means: Disparaging, unkind, hurtful, mean, sarcastic, base, malicious, cynical and spite ful. My wife (lorraine) is none of these and thereful is very upset by this statement which has been made by Janice, although she says it was our granddaugter (Jade) who said it.
But Jade does not know what Snide means, as she is just an 11 year old child, and perhaps more importantly she has told her dad that she did not send this message, and has no idea what he is talking..
Many thanks for your assistance.
No, it's just my wife, and it's only been since my wife told her to stop using her children as a weapon against their day.
Thank you for your response. So what you are saying therefore is that you can say absolutely anything in a text message, because as other people cannot see it there has been no damage to their reputation. So therefore you could accuse somebody of being a rapist or mass murderer, even if that were untrue, and they couldn't do anything about it.
Surely that cannot be right that you can say such things in an e-mail.
But if that's what the Libel Law says then you are correct in what you have told me.
So it sounds like Libel only occurs if something is written in a newspaper/magazine etc. or written on a website, such as FaceBook
My wife did receive seven text message in one day, which was the day Janice made these two comments (e.g when Lorraine was accused of being SNIDE and when Janice accused Lorraine of saying that she (Janice) was a bad mother, which she did not say). She did respond to all messages but just to say that Janice was wrong and why she was wrong.
As an example, Janice accused Lorraine of:-
1) Being a bad mother and the reason that our son was such a bad person,
2) Janice said I do wish my kids weren't called Beanlands (the children took their father's name).
Since this day, in June, Lorraine and Janice have not had any communication, as Lorraine refuses to have any contact with her and wants nothing to do with her ever again.
I wonder if there is anything that we could do under the Slander Act, as Janice told my two daughters out in the street, whilst she was sitting in the driving seat of her car, that our son had contracted Clymidia, whilst having many affairs. She also said he had given it to her. My son has said that he has not had Clymidia and that he hadn't slept with anyone until he met his latest partner. So my two daughters, Isabelle and Denise heard this comment and so did our three granddaugheers, who wer sitting in the back of the car at the time.
Or can you not rely on my daughters, as they are sisters. Or can minors not be included as witnesses, or can they not be included as it is their mother who has lied to Isabelle and Denise.
This is obviously starting to get extremely messy with brother and sisters involved and children involved.
Ok, unfortunately it looks like there is nothing we can do under the Libel Act or the Slander Act.
You say that other options are open if my wife is not responding. What might they be ?
There has been absolutely no contact since June, so I cannot say that Janice is harrassing her now, as she isn't. What really annoys me is that Janice has lied and used her child (by pretending to be her child) and then attacked my wife. Janice has pretended to be Jade (our granddaughter) and said such hurtful things that my wife has been very upset and she has been very depressed and the day that Jade did ignore her (which was Father's Day) my wife disappeared for about 4 hours and we were really worried where she had disappered to. My two sons went out looking for her and eventually found her sobbing over the park. What Janice does not reallise is this one horrible, nasty and despicable act has caused my wife immense pain, as she thinks that Jade doesn't love her any more.
So I was hoping that I could threaten to sue Janice, unless she admitted that it was actually her (Janice) who had sent the horrible message. If she were to do that, Lorraine would feel so much better about herself, and would at the same time absolutely hate Janice for what she had done.
Thank you for your help