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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70742
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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My partner recently had a post put on Facebook about him by

Customer Question

Hi my partner recently had a post put on Facebook about him by a female which has had an impact on his reputation and he has lost his career. She has evidence however I'm not sure where we stand on preventing her bringing this up again in the future if he did rebuild his career?
JA: Where is your partner? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: UK - Newcastle
JA: What steps has your partner taken so far?
Customer: Deactivated all social media, spoken with his employers and is unsure where else to go
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No, thank you
Submitted: 5 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 days ago.

Hello, I’m Ben. It’s my pleasure to assist you today. I may also ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 days ago.

Hi there. How does he know this person and does has he made any formal requests to her asking her to cease posting comments?

Customer: replied 5 days ago.
Hello, yes no problem
Customer: replied 5 days ago.
He knows her through mutual friends but has had no communication with her for 8 years. He did message her apologising but has not requested her to stop posting
Customer: replied 5 days ago.
The original posts have been reported and taken down however there are still other people circulating the screenshot of the messages from 8 years ago
Customer: replied 5 days ago.
She has also been messaging the businesses that he worked for intentionally trying to destroy his career. She has also been posting repeatedly about this for 4 days. I understand libell and slander would not apply however could we take the harassment route?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 days ago.

OK I understand and thank you for providing this information. Please do not worry and leave it with me for now; I will get back to you with my answer as soon as I can, which will be at some point today. The system will notify you when this happens. Please do not reply in the meantime as this may unnecessarily delay my response. Many thanks.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 days ago.

Many thanks for your patience, I am pleased to be able to continue assisting with your query now. Just to clarify – the posts are true and can be justified with evidence if needed?

Customer: replied 5 days ago.
they are true and there is evidence that this did happen 8 years ago. We also have proof of all the different posts being made now other than messages which were privately sent to company pages as we do not have access to those
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 days ago.

Thank you very much for clarifying. First of all, I am sorry to hear about the issues you have experienced in your situation.

As you have correctly identified, this will not be a case of defamation as the comments are true and they must have been false for them to be defamatory. Therefore, harassment may indeed be the most appropriate option here, considering there are no legitimate purposes for which these comments are continuously being made still.

Such conduct could likely amount to harassment, which can be either a civil or a criminal offence. The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 states that a person must not pursue a course of conduct, which amounts to harassment of another and which he or she knows or ought to know amounts to harassment. Although there is no definition of what harassment is, it would usually include alarming a person or causing them distress and must have occurred on at least two occasions. It could be verbal or physical acts, or both.

How this matter is dealt with would depend on whether the victim wants to take it down the civil route or the criminal one, or even both.

The civil law route will have to be pursued through the Civil courts and must be initiated within 6 years of the alleged act(s) of harassment taking place. The court can make an injunctive order instructing the harasser to stop their behaviour or place certain restrictions on them. For example, it can forbid the harasser from doing certain things such as being physically violent, contacting the victim directly or indirectly (by making someone else contact them), or going to their home address or place of work. If the victim is related to the harasser, then it would be dealt with via a non-molestation order, which has similar effects.

To apply for an injunction, application form N16A must be completed, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/form-n16a-application-for-injunction-general-form

If they still do not stop harassing the victim, it would become a criminal offence and they can be prosecuted in the criminal courts. It is also possible to seek financial compensation if financial or emotional losses have been suffered (e.g. causing severe anxiety or distress).

To apply for financial compensation, application form N1 must be completed, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/form-n1-claim-form-cpr-part-7

If the matter is reported to the police instead and they take it further and prosecute, the punishment for harassment can be imprisonment and/or a fine. A court may also impose a restraining order for the purpose of protecting the victim.

Before the courts or the police get involved it may be better to try and resolve this directly with the harasser. They should be warned that their actions are being treated as harassment under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and that unless they stop what they are doing they will be reported to the police and legal action under harassment legislation will be taken against them. If that does not help, the matter can be taken further either by contacting the police and letting them deal with it as they see fit, or starting civil court action as described above.

Finally, here is a very useful and detailed resource about harassment in general: https://rightsofwomen.org.uk/get-information/violence-against-women-and-international-law/harassment-and-the-law/#What%20is%20harassment

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

Customer: replied 5 days ago.
Thank you very much for your help. It makes sense and clarified what I thought our position would be.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 days ago.

You are most welcome. If you have any further questions about this then please do not hesitate to get back to me and I will be glad to help. All the best