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 Ash Your Own Question
Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
75100385
Type Your Law Question Here...
Ash is online now

I use an online dating site and recently a girl on there

Resolved Question:

I use an online dating site and recently a girl on there wrote a series of mocking posts that indicated that she knew a few details about my personal life. I was alarmed by this and it transpired that she had what she described a "mutual friend". Anyway, it soon become clear that she had a source that fed her with some reasonably private information about me ... she let it be known that it came from someone who went to watch a small local football team that I also watch. Today I received a message from her (unsolicited, I had ended my communication with her) stating that her source had been to a football game this weekend on a train where he had a great time but it was a "shame that The Weasel turned up". She mocked that she wondered who that person was speaking about. There were around 20-30 of us who travelled and this of course made me ponder who this person could be. During the train trip, there was a gentleman, Mark Winter, who travelled, who I know does not like me, that was telling all his friends he was refusing to travel in our train coach because I was there. So with that in mind I thought that this person was probably one of the roots. That does not really bother me. However, what does bother me is this morning - this gentleman has posted on his Facebook page to not only his 500-plus friends (many of who live in the local community and support this small football club with me) the following: ***"So who are your real team?" asked an affable Scouser outside the pub near Liverpool Lime Street station. Pointing to 50-odd Dover fans inside the pub, I replied: "Does this look like we're pretending then, mate?" Cracking day out, even though The Weasel turned up.** He was then asked by one of his "friends" in the thread that followed: ** I hope your not referring to me as 'the weasel' mr winter!! ** His reply was as follows: "Don't be silly, Mrs Pawley. ***** ***** joined us on the train."** I am ***** *****. I am well-known at the football club and within the local community.

I am a football writer for a national newspaper, was a journalist for the local newspaper that serves the Dover community, and been supporting this team since I was 14.

He has not only made the reference about "The Weasel" ... he has also named me! In my mind, this is defamation of character. Mark Winter is also well-known at Dover Athletic FC as a former writer for a local newspaper, which was a rival to my former local newspaper serving the same club and town.

His opinion is respected and believed by many in that community so I am very upset that he is making a statement that brings into question my good name in the minds of right-thinking people.

And that is not to mention the hurt that this quite spiteful pubic comment has made to me.

When you notice people behaving strangely around you, it does make you wonder if their view of me has been lowered. I know he has slandered me on several occasions but have no evidence to support that at the moment - but the Facebook post is clear evidence.

The very fact that even on an online dating site I am getting a message repeating this "weasel" slur, surely goes beyond just a bit of harmless name calling in a pub. This post is there for all to see. Do I have any legal leg to stand on here? Sorry for the perhaps "round the houses" outline of what has happened ... but I wanted to put it all into context. Many thanks, ***** *****

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you.
What is it you want to achieve please?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Alex
The following -
- For him to retract his comment with an apology - in the same way my newspaper The Sun have to make such retractions when we get something wrong.
- To stop this individual in making future comments of this nature about me, either in written form or verbally in front of a number of people who know me.
- To force him to delete the post as well. It has been up already for nearly two days.
I have a good reputation in my career and worked hard to gain that. The term "weasel" is offensive, insulting and suggests I am a underhanded person in some way.
Justin
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I also want him to at least be warned about engaging in any behaviour where he is spreading personal rumours about me that are not true.I cannot prove he has but know he has been doing so.Also I just want to know if there is any libel case I could raise against him for the Facebook post?
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
You need to get a Solicitor to write, ask for an apology and confirm they wont publish any more. If they refuse then you can complain to the Press Complaints Commission. They offer a free, independent service at: http://www.pcc.org.uk/
If they do not then you can seek a Court order.
You need to write and set out your losses and request a compensation within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this signed delivery and keep a copy.
If they do not then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk  or by completing form N1 http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/n001-eng.pdf and take it to your local County Court.
The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.
If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim so you will not need legal representation. Over this value you would need representation for trial.
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
HI Alex
Are you sure that I would go to the Press Complaints Commission?
This is for a comment on Facebook?
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
If it is their FB page then yes you can complain to them too.
Otherwise it would just be a Solicitor letter and then Court. If the paper has published anything the PCC may well investigate.
Does that help?
Alex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Alex
This gentleman no longer works for a newspaper. He used to.
This is just for a comment he has made on Facebook.
So if that is the case, it is just a letter and then court?
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Yes. The newspaper is vicariously liable for the actions of its employees.
Does that clarify?
Alex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Alex - I have reported it to Facebook and apparently they say there is nothing wrong with this post. How can someone naming someone has a disparaging name that suggests someone is dishonest or dishonourable can be acceptable. I have no idea.
Here is facebook's response -
We reviewed your report of Mark Winter's post.
Thank you for taking the time to report something that you feel may violate our Community Standards. Reports like yours are an important part of making Facebook a safe and welcoming environment. We reviewed the post you reported for harassment and found it doesn't violate our Community Standards.
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
You can still take civil action we have discussed.
Alex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I know but now am confused - because I approached solicitors who deal with libel and they told me because it is Facebook I have to contact them and they should take it down.
However, they have refused.
My point here is ... Is what he has written a libel?
Calling someone The Weasel ... Does that have any chance of successfully challenging?
That is what I wish to know?
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
You have to show you have suffered serious harm, if you can it is something you can action.
But you need to show serious harm, that is the test,
Does that clarify?
Alex
Ash and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Hi
I am just following up to see if there is anything else I can help with?
If you have not done so already might I ask you to rate my answer before you go today please, the button should be at the bottom of the screen.
If you need more help please click reply.
Alex