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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Could I peruse defamation if I do not know the content of a

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Could I peruse defamation if I do not know the content of a group conversation about me but the conversation would definitely biased and a day after this group conversation took place I started receiving questions about my acts. What are my rights and is defamation strictly a civil thing and not criminal?

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

-Could you explain your situation a little more?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Basically from my knowledge there were a group of people who are extremely prejudiced against me having a conversation and I was the topic. I don't know what has been said but basically today which is one day after the conversation I got very weird accusations by other people saying that I'm intending to fraud one of the members in the group conversation. However I have a clear receipt of borrowing from one of the parties which the person has agreed to lay off until I finish my high court claim.
Sorry but I'm not sure what you mean?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Ok basically I have made a loan borrowing 30,000 GBP from someone, where there is a clear agreement of a receipt of borrowing, however since I now have an outstanding court case the lender have agreed to let me extend while I settle my outstanding cases. To further explain the lender Basically got with a group of people who are quite prejudice against me to speak discuss about me as a person. Then from what I understand from a third party was that, they have been making defamatory comments about me. Saying that I'm deliberately avoiding the debt to be repaid and in fact trying to defraud the lender. There are also talk of me threatening of someone else but that has not happened at all, and they have been spreading this around my social circle raising a lot of questions to me.
So what is the defamation?

What is the specific statement amounting to defamation?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Saying that I had an intention to fraud the 30,000. That I was blackmailing someone which I did not as I asked for justified requests from my end and it was willingly accepted. So I am not pleased how I appear to be a fraudster in other people's eyes when I have in fact signed a debt agreement with the person and I have a clear liability to pay and also how I was blackmailing someone is just unjustified.
Thanks for that.

These comments may be defamatory. Defamation takes two forms. One is slander which covers the spoken word. The other is libel which covers the written.

You have to prove that the words are defamatory, that they would be understood to refer to you and that they have been published to a 3rd party.

Comments made directly to a person about themselves are not published and so cannot be defamatory however bad or untrue they are. If such contact were to continue it might amount to harassment.

There is no set definition of defamation. A statement is likely to be considered defamatory if it tends to do anyone of the following.

1 lower the claimant in the estimation of right minded members of society

2 disparage the claimant in his business, trade, office or profession

3 expose the claimant to hatred, ridicule or contempt or

4 cause the claimant to be shunned or avoided

An opinion, however, is not generally defamatory. People are entitled to an opinion under the human rights act and, indeed, under the common law generally. However, a person cannot hide behind the argument that a defamatory comment is just an opinion. For instance, if the person were to say “in my opinion, X is a liar with 15 convictions for theft" then that would be defamatory unless it were true. The opinion must be fair with some basis for it. It must be shown that it was a reasonable comments in all the circumstances.

Similarly, foul abuse is not defamatory although there might be other actions open to an aggrieved person.

Truth is a defence to defamation. The defendant would have to prove that it was the truth and that is reasonably hard to do so this defence is not often relied upon.

The real difficulty with defamation actions though is that they are very expensive. Unfortunately they are the domain of the very rich. That is not to say that you couldn't send a letter from a local solicitor for reasonable cost warning this person of the laws of libel and slander.

Also, you may want to consider other alternatives. This may amount to harassment which you can report to the police or sue at the civil courts much more economically. It might also be a malicious communication and you can report that to the police.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need any more information.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
How do you define 3rd party in then name of law?
i'm not sure what you mean?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Ok let's say one person talks defamatory to another person and I know the both of them. Is that considered published on third party or is it required to be published on a website or on a media source. A mere conversation is not defamatory?
One person alone is probably not going to be sufficiently public to amount to defamation I'm afraid.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Ok thank you, XXXXX XXXXX please lock this question after?

No problem and all the best.

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