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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71153
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Would I have acase for slander when my sister in law recieved

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Would I have acase for slander when my sister in law recieved a threatning letter took it to the police and made a statement saying it was me I was arrested put on bail for7 weeks then when dna and hand writing wasnt me was discharged im hurt and humiliated by this

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

On what basis did your sister decide it was you please?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

My brother was accused of attempted murder he was in custody awaiting trial I was the only person that was standing by him writing and visiting him when she started getting threatening letters telling her not to turn up at court it wasnt me I knew nothing about these she took the letters to the police said to them she believed it was me I was arrested in the moring dna taken and photo and finger prints they said it was femail dna on envelope I was kept in cell all day bailed for 7 weeks so I was notallowed any where near her I was not allowed to go to court

is there any reason she believed it was you?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes they were living together they seperated for about 6 weeks andy my brother was collecting his daughter at weekends they were arguing she shouted hes stabbed me and ran home but my brother had no weapon I did visit her in her home whilst he was on remand she told me he stabbed her in her road but when it went to court it was at a bus stop the story had chaged I told her wether hes guilty or not I have to stand by him hes my brother as I was the only one supporting him I can only assume she thought it was me my brother was found guilty but I knew he did not do it she is on drugs and is a self harmmer but I was not allowed to read the letter at the interview they folded it just enough to see the hand writing when I got the paper from police 7 weeks later it said insufficent evidence I asked for my letters back that they took from my house that my brother had written to me but they said they need to keep them for a while later I no this is long and drawn out sorry

Ok. Thanks.

What I need to know is why did she think it was you?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

8that I dont know as she had never seen my hand writing she told a friend the police asked her well who keeps in touch with him she named me

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.
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