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Kasare
Kasare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1301
Experience:  Solicitor, 10 yrs plus experience in civil litigation, employment and family law
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I am a minister of a church and by way of my work I have met

Resolved Question:

I am a minister of a church and by way of my work I have met , in a public place, a friend and member of our church for a couple of times over a coffee, in the last few months to talk through some of her issues.
I have now heard that someone, who has a personal vendetta against my friend has put it around that We are having an affair which is totally untrue and may possibly damage my ministry and our church in the community.
What can I do ?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Kasare replied 3 years ago.
Hi thank you for your question, I will assist you with this.
How has this person "put it around"?
Such disparaging statements made by this person against you and your friend may well be a defamatory statement and can give rise to an action for slander if only spoken or libel if written or recorded.
The remedies are different for libel and slander.
In the case of libel (written or recorded statement which can include photos and video), the victim(s) can bring a claim for damages even if they have not suffered financial loss as a result of the statement.
On the other hand, a person who has been slandered (this is more of a transient form of communication i.e. a spoken statement which is not recorded) must prove that actual damage has been suffered.
If this person has simply used spoken words, then to successfully bring a claim against this person you would have to show actual damage. That does not mean to say you cannot send a warning letter to this person. I would strongly recommend you have a solicitor send a letter advising that their words are damaging and untrue and if they do not cease legal action will be taken. You can demand they make a public apology, however, a court cannot make them apologise per se.
If they have libelled you, then you can make a claim against this person. But if you intend to do this, again I would recommend the use of a specialist solicitor.
I would also warn you that legal action for defamation is very expensive and can take a long time, but generally a legal letter with a warning should make this person realise you are serious about protecting your reputation and that of your ministry/church.
I hope this assists. If you have any other questions regarding this matter, please ask.
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