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QLD Accused of Stealing - Sue for Defamation?

Discussion in 'Defamation Law Forum' started by Boey, 3 September 2016.

  1. Boey

    Boey Member

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    Hi,

    I am a mobile massage therapist. One of my clients claimed that I stole his $600 which was left on his bedside table. I went to his place on Aug 20th around 8 am, and he rang me on the 21st around 8 am telling me to return his money or he would ring the police.

    The fact is, that I didn't take his money. He even paid for the massage by a bank transfer; he said he didn't have cash. 2 weeks later, 2 police officers came to my house to interview me.

    My question is - would I be able to sue him for defamation?

    After the interview with the police, what would be their next step?

    Thank you.
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Not necessarily.

    If there is any kind of reasonable belief it may have been you, then no. He can probably prove reasonable belief (ie you were in the house) and then it becomes your burden to show his belief is not reasonable for some other reason.

    However if he calls you a thief to other people and you have not been convicted of theft, this is likely to be defamatory. This includes online statements identifying you.

    If it was a demonstratedly false report, yes you can.
     
  3. Victoria S

    Victoria S Well-Known Member

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    For you to have a legal action, the defamatory comments must be published to third parties - and thereby tarnish your reputation in their eyes. An accusation to you is not sufficient. As stated above, there are defences for defamation actions such as honestly held beliefs etc. Also allegations made in legal proceedings are privileged and cannot be a "publication" for the purposes of defamation.
     
  4. Boey

    Boey Member

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    Thank you for your replies.

    I have a bank transfer receipt which he sent it to me after he had made a payment. I have already showed it to the police.

    Would that be enough evidence that he wouldn't have the cash as he claimed? What do I do after the interview with the police? Should I talk to a lawyer straight away?

    Thank you once again.
     
  5. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    No, but it helps.

    As you have already been interviewed by the police just wait now and see what they do. There is no rush.
     

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