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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70708
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hi, I thought my partner was cheating on me some time ago

Customer Question

Hi,
I thought my partner was cheating on me some time ago and I've emailed the woman asking her what had happened between them. It turns out I was wrong and I have upset her, therefore falsley accusing her of something she didn't do. I have apologised and she's accepted my apology.
My question is, can she take this further? I did mention to someone a while ago that I thought something had gone on. I'm worried that she could sue me for defamation of character if she finds out I've told someone else.
It looked like she whispered in my partner's ear when we were at a party some time ago and they were very flirty with each other which made me suspicious. He's always denied it but it's been a problem for me so I wanted to know the truth. I'm fairly sure this all sounds pathetic but I'm really worried now that I've caused a lot of unnecessary trouble and upset for her and me.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
To whom did you mention this apart from her?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I told my partner's sister. What I'm concerned about is that she may have told someone else who knows this woman but I don't know for sure.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thanks.
Making an allegation that you know to be untrue is indeed defamation. Making an allegation that you cannot substantiate, which is your position here really, may be defamation. There is a defence of fair comment and then you only have to show its a reasonable comment in all the circumstances. Not all incorrect allegations fall into that category but some do.
In any event though, its very unlikely she will sue you. A defamation action is a very expensive business and its not something that a reasonable person, not given to histronics, undertakes lightly. She may not be a reasonable person. There are attention seeking lunatics about. However, if she were not you would probably know about it. She would never have accepted your responsibility and she would probably have a long standing history of making allegations of abuse to the police, social workers, employers, her friends, random strangers on the street etc.
Even if she does though, the telling of person can amount to a defamation with a really poisonous allegation but I'm not sure that its sufficient here. She would have to show damage to her reputation. Some allegations only have to be said out loud even once to do that but not this type of thing.
Can I clarify anything for you? I'm just off for about an hour but I'll be back later if you want to know anything else.
Jo
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi,

Yes please. I didn't know it was untrue until now, it was my assumption due to the events of that night that made me believe something must have gone on.

Also, I contacted her as I've started counselling over this. I've known I have a problem and I wanted to clarify things, I didn't mean it to sound as though I was accusing her though that is obviously what I did.

If it did go further would any of that have an effect on things?

Thank you,

Margaret.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Yes, its an allegation that you could not substantiate which is different from it being untrue. In fairness, one can still see why its victim would be upset but its a different legal position.
The counselling isn't helpful to you but it won't go any further. She isn't going to spend £10k on this.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your help.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
No problem and all the best.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

hi Jo, I keep getting reminders to rate your service but I did it yesterday. Is there something else I need to do? I'm


 


getting one every hour. Thanks, Margaret.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
There's no need to do anything at all.

I'm not sure what the site are sending you but its nothing to worry about.

All the best.