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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 12093
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I am "lead" for our neighbourhood "Nextdoor" social website

Customer Question

I am "lead" for our neighbourhood "Nextdoor" social website and need confirmation that this message is defamatory. I have seen video evidence of the abuse my gardener "Karl" and his widowed mother have suffered for many years since Karl's father died when he was only 11, leaving him as the only breadwinner. The neighbourhood is known as 'difficult' and the Parish Council doesn't want to get involved.
Assistant: Where are you located? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Ropsley, near Grantham Lincolnshire (South Kesteven)
Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: Histically yes - there have been secveral occasions on which Karl has called the police when he has been threatened, but as some of his neighbours gang together they corroborate their assertion that Karl is the one using abuse. The police were not interested even in seeing his video evidence and issued him with a warning to behave. I understand a similar warning was issued to his nearest neighbour.
Assistant: Anything else you want the solicitor to know before I connect you?
Customer: Hi father bought this ex-council house in 1987 on a mortgage; when he died of bone cancer his life insurance policy enabled his widow to pay of the mortgae. His Neighbours were clearly jealous! and shouted that she didn't deserve this.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 9 months ago.

Hello - I need to know what has been said please

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Message via "Nextdoor" from Sally ***** ***** that I believe defamatory as I know the allegations to be untrueKimberley Sherwood
, Ropsley and Humby•1d ago
Yes we use Karl too, he's a fantastic gardener very hard working. I love my gardens looking good but my disabilities prevent me doing any gardening, my husband has bad back. Even my Son and partner use Karl now and they live in Grantham. Would always recommend Karl .Pippa Tremlett
, Ropsley and Humby•1d ago
So pleased that you are enjoying Karl's hard work. Most definitely, THE BEST!Sally-***** *****
, Ropsley and Humby•1d ago
I'm afraid I would not use this person who for some unknown reason went from being friendly to abusing me, me now among many others. He is subject of a lifelong ASBO I am informed for his behaviour although I am sure he is a good gardener.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 9 months ago.

It is presumably the last sentence which is untrue about being subject to a lifelong ASBO. Is that untrue?

Presumably, you are the gardener. Please confirm.

If not, what is your interest in this?

What is the “agenda” of the poster?

Has the potentially defamatory poster actually complained to the police about the gardener? It’s not clear from your initial post.

Has anyone contacted the Social Media site and asked for this to be removed?

I am off-line now until tomorrow but will pick this up then. Kind regards

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I. suggest you read the full text of this correspondence. No-one has contacted the police. I have to decide whether there are sufficient grounds to expel the offending Member of Nextdoor. If I state they are that the offending message is defamatory, am I exposed to any legal comeback. You can find more information by Googling 'Derek Hindley - Retired'.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 9 months ago.

I have read the complete post.

You have said that Karl and his widowed mother of suffered years of abuse. I don’t know who from what you do say that he is call the police on numerous occasions.

It seems that some of the neighbours allege that he is the one causing abuse.

You say that he is a fantastic gardener.

However that doesn’t answer the question as to whether he is subject to a lifelong ASBO. It seems not but I need a definitive answer please.

If it is untrue, then clearly it’s not only defamatory, it’s malicious and if there is a campaign of such activity, then the victim is entitled to call the police with a view to having the person that’s doing this prosecuted under the Protection from Harassment Act. Some police forces take harassment extremely seriously, and others not so and therefore, if the police that come out don’t do anything about this, make a complaint in writing to the Chief Constable and if necessary, to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

I cannot comment on whether you should remove the person or not or whether this is a breach of the rules but if it isn’t true, it is of course defamatory.

Can I clarify anything else for you?

I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

Please take a moment to look at the top right hand corner of the page and rate my service by clicking one of the stars at the top of the screen. It’s important you use the rating service because that gives me credit. It doesn’t just give me a pat on the head! (Although there is an incentive scheme where the more five-star ratings I get, I do actually get a pat on the head! :-)) All you need to do is press Submit. Thank you.

If you still need any point clarifying, I will still reply because the thread does not close.

Best wishes.