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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My neighbour is harassing me by spreading untrue rumours

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My neighbour is harassing me by spreading untrue rumours that I battered my child. I am a teacher and these rumours are getting back to parents and are incredibly damaging to my career. What can I do to stop her?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 10 months ago.

What sort of things is she saying?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
She has told the entire street where I live that I have 'battered my child' and 'she was taken away in an ambulance' (she was not and the police interviewed me and didn't charge me and the whole thing was NFA due to insufficient evidence but it has got back to other teachers who have named her as the source and parents of those I teach and it has placed my employer (the school) and myself in an awful position.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
She has also said I was drunk and aggressive and intimidating
Expert:  Jo C. replied 10 months ago.

Do you have the money to fund a defamation action?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I was thinking that I could make a formal complaint to the police for harassment under the 1997 act but how much would a defamation suit cost and what would I need to do it? I was also thinking about getting my solicitor to write her a letter warning her to stop or that I would sue her for slander - what do you think?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 10 months ago.

They won't be interested I'm afraid. Their view will be that this isn't harassment. I have to say that I think that is wrong in law. Not necessarily on this occasion but it is certainly right that making false allegations can be harassment.

In any event, that is their current policy.

They will say it is a civil matter.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 10 months ago.

It is a defamation though. You would have a claim against them if you can prove that the allegation is untrue.

You should remember that it is one thing for an allegation to be disbelieved and another to be able to prove it is untrue.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Can I get my solicitor to write them a letter ?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I can prove I didn't batter my child as the police investigated and took no further action as there was no evidence - is that sufficient proof to prove it to be untrue?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 10 months ago.

The fact that the police took no further action doesn't prove it was a false allegation. It just proves there wasn't enough evidence. Many guilty people are NFAed and those who make false allegations are not usually even arrested.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
what do you think I should do to stop this?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 10 months ago.

Well, it depends on your view.

To be wholly honest, I would just ignore it.

If you are intent then you could get a solicitor to write to them for about £100 plus VAT warning them of the laws of defamation. Might work. Might not.

If that fails then your only option is to sue for defamation.

Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
thanks - I will get my solicitor to write to them

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