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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69268
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Slanderous remark have been made against me and I seek advice. The

Resolved Question:

Slanderous remark have been made against me and I seek advice.
The present secretary of the Whiteleas & District Social Club, South Shields, Mr Symcox has stated at a special meeting of the members that I had stolen club funds which is totally untrue and have witnesses
Donald Lyons
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.

What would you like to know about this please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I have been accused by the present secretary Mr Symcox of stealing club monies whilst I was in office. February 2009 - August 2010. I have appeared before the committee on several occasions and they have accepted my explanations that this money was not handled by me and that this was paid to helpers in the club. I have witnesses and letters about this matter. I am a 74 year old pensioner and this matter has caused me and my wife a great deal of stress. I have asked Mr Symcox for an apology to no avail, to which he said take the matter to court

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.

So are you asking if you can?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

What can I do next? Can I get legal help, can I arrange to see a solicitor or perhaps even a solicitors letter.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Yes, you can but you won't get legal aid for it. You do have a claim but it would be at your cost.

These comments are clearly defamatory. Defamation takes two forms. One is slander which covers the spoken word. The other is libel which covers the written.

You have to prove that the words are defamatory, that they would be understood to refer to you and that they have been published to a 3rd party.

You only have to show that the comments would cause serious harm to your reputation and given that this is an allegation of criminal conduct that should not be a problem.

An opinion, however, is not generally defamatory. People are entitled to an opinion under the human rights act and, indeed, under the common law generally. However, a person cannot hide behind the argument that a defamatory comment is just an opinion. For instance, if the person were to say “in my opinion, X is a liar with 15 convictions for theft" then that would be defamatory unless it were true. The opinion must be fair with some basis for it. It must be shown that it was a reasonable comments in all the circumstances.

Similarly, foul abuse is not defamatory although there might be other actions open to an aggrieved person.

Truth is a defence to defamation. The defendant would have to prove that it was the truth and that is reasonably hard to do so this defence is not often relied upon.

The real difficulty with defamation actions though is that they are very expensive. Unfortunately they are the domain of the very rich. That is not to say that you couldn't send a letter from a local solicitor for reasonable cost warning this person of the laws of libel and slander.

Also, you may want to consider other alternatives. This may amount to harassment which you can report to the police or sue at the civil courts much more economically. It might also be a malicious communication and you can report that to the police.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need any more information.

Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69268
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
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