How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Alice H Your Own Question
Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2850
Experience:  Partner in national law firm
30932268
Type Your Law Question Here...
Alice H is online now

I have a question relating to defamation of character

Resolved Question:

I have a question relating to defamation of character
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alice H replied 2 years ago.
Alice H : My name is ***** ***** I'm happy to help with your question today.
Alice H : What is your question?
Customer:

I was texting my stepdaughters boyfriend, who was bullying her and has been for some time, he is aware of the relationship that my wife had with her ex husband, who bullied her for years, mental, not physical, I told the boyfriend that he was acting this way, unfortunately I put this in a text, about my wife being bullied by him. He subsequently sent the text to the ex husband, who tells me he will sue, can you advise me of my position please?

Alice H : Understood. What is he going to sue for exactly? You have not done anything illegal as far as I can see.
Customer:

I believe it will for slander since he states that he never bullied or hit his ex wife, although I did not say that he had, he seems to have misunderstood the text which was sent to the boyfriend. I merely was pointing out that the boyfriends behaviour and demands on my stepdaughter where that of a bully like her father had bullied my wife.

Alice H : OK. The Defamation Act 2013 says that "...(1)A statement is not defamatory unless its publication has caused or is likely to cause serious harm to the reputation of the claimant..." So the first thing the other person has to prove is that the text message 'caused or is likely to cause serious harm'. Secondly you have a defence to any claim he decides to bring on the basis that what you said is an "honest opinion". In any event to sue for defamation/
Alice H : in any event to sue for defamation he would have to start proceedings in the High Court which are costly and time consuming. This is not the kind of case that the High Court would entertain.
Customer:

Thank you, ***** ***** he prove it had affected him?, I am told he and his partner have placed this on Facebook, in respect that I called him a bully, I have no positive confirmation of this, but my stepdaughter has told me of this.

Alice H : If they place the comment on Facebook then they are PUBLISHING the alleged defamatory comment and you cannot be held responsible for their actions,
Alice H : If you had placed the comment on FB then I would be concerned - but if they are doing it you are not publishing the comment so you cannot be sued.
Customer:

It may not be the comment, but a statement that I called him a bully

Alice H : You cannot be held liable in law for somebody else publishing something on their FB page.
Customer:

so to text the boyfriend in question and tell him my wife was bullied by him for years, whilst it`s not a good thing to do, a stupid error on my behalf, there is not enough there to take me to court?

Alice H : Is this an honestly held belief that you have? Will your wife support you?
Customer:

yes she, and yes it is an honest belief.

Customer:

sorry bad English. She would back me up, and it is an honest belief

Alice H : In that case you have a defence to any claim that he wishes to bring; furthermore he has to prove "serious damage" and I fail to see how he will do that.
Alice H : Is he an important member of the community? A businessman or a celebrity perhaps?
Customer:

no, he works in a warehouse

Alice H : Seriously? And he is going to sue you? Does he have any idea how much these things cost I wonder?!
Alice H : i am sorry to be so facetious but his threat to sue you is hollow.
Customer:

I have been worried sick all day, I am not malicious, it was simply a statement to get this boy to understand the gravity of his bullying, my wife was getting extremely upset, I guess I answered with that statement, out of pure frustration

Customer:

You are doing a fantastic job, in calming down, one of life`s worriers

Alice H : You have two choices : 1 Offer an immediate apology and withdraw the comment - but you may be ridiculed by someone who seems to be a bully 2 Stand your ground if you believe that what you have said is the truth.
Customer:

Option 2 please

Alice H : In that case you need do nothing else. If he or a lawyer contacts you again then please come back to me answe an formulate a response; for your information you cannot be sued unless the other party has written to you setting out the full particulate of the claim they wish to make. I suspect when he goes to see a solicitor and is told how much this will all cost he will give up at that point.
Alice H : Apologies for the typos. I'm a lawyer not a typist.
Customer:

we are on par then, thank you for your help.

Alice H : The law is the same. Libel and slander fall under defamation and are thus governed by the Defamation Act 2013.
Alice H : You are most welcome.
Alice H and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Alice H replied 2 years ago.
Our chat has ended, but you can still continue to ask me questions here until you are satisfied with your answer. Come back to this page to view our conversation and any other new information.

What happens now?

If you haven’t already done so, please rate your answer above. Or, you can reply to me using the box below.