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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 11225
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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A podiatrist wrote to my GP stating that "police were called

Customer Question

A podiatrist wrote to my GP stating that "police were called to remove me from my GP surgery due to accusations of threatening behaviour towards staff. I will not accept such aggressive behaviour from you." This accusation was made by a lady GP i attended who was experiencing a psychotic episode and following a written complaint from me i received a full apology from the GP head of practice. Police were not called and it was all dealt with within the surgery. Shorty after the incident the lady GP was admitted to the Cornhill Hospital in Aberdeen for treatment for mental disorder. Although now retired and 69 years of age, previous to this I undertook work for the surgery as a psychoanalyst and this causes me considerable embarrassment. There is paperwork to support my complaint to the surgery and a record of my meeting with the head of practice. There is no record of the police being called or involved in the surgery's records. The head of practice apologised to me verbally when we met. The incident took place in 2005. Please advise me whether i have a good case for defamation of character and what settlement I should pursue.

Nigel John Frostwick

Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Buachaill replied 5 years ago.
1. I regret to say that since the incident took place in 2005, an action in defamation against this lady GP or her practice is now statute barred, so any action will be met with a defence of the Statute of Limitations. Additionally, two other points should be made. Firstly, since you received an immediate and full apology, this would have greatly diminished damages you received. Secondly, since this lady was suffering from a psychotic episode when she uttered these words, the law will consider this to be "vulgar abuse" and not something for which the law will give recompense.
2. However, should someone else, such as the podiatrist, now seek to utter these incorrect words today to someone else, then you will have a fresh cause of action against that person and you will be able to successfully sue them for defamation for the fresh uttering of the wrongful allegation. Each repeating of a wrongful allegation gives rise to a fresh action in defamation. So if someone is attempting to rumour or innuendo you from this old incident today, then you will be able to successfully sue today.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thank you for your reply. I have no difference with the lady GP from 2005 for which I received, and accepted, an apology. It is the podiatrist who wrote to my GP practice on the 10th July, 2013 setting out the statement I set out in quotes in my previous email to you and against whom I am alleging defamation of character. I think you may have got a little confused. So presumably I do have a case? How do I put a figure on the damage or will a court do that? Do a need a specialist lawyer for this type of work.

Kind regards

Nigel John Frostwick

Expert:  Buachaill replied 5 years ago.
3. Sorry Nigel John if I have been a bit confused as to who you intended to sue and in respect of what. You certainly do have a good cause of action for the remarks of the podiatrist made on 10th July, 2013. Secondly, you should get a specialist defamation lawyer to handle any claim you make as this is an area which demands specialisation. Thirdly, you have six months from 10th July 2013, within which to make a claim. Your lawyer will be best able to put a figure on an award once he knows the full facts. Be aware that here, whilst the defamation is bad, it has had a limited publication which does tend to reduce the award. However, given that it was written by a professional to your GP, who is a person of significance, the award will be good.
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Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 5 years ago.

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Thank you,
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

If I take this podiatrist to court for defamation of character and win my claim will he have to pay all my legal/court costs involved in this?

Thank you,


Expert:  Buachaill replied 5 years ago.
4. Costs are in the discretion of the trial judge. However, almost always if you win your case the other side has to pay all the legal costs involved. Accordingly, if you take the podiatrist to court and win your claim for defamation, then you will get all your legal costs paid as well.
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