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WA Being Sued - Defamation Act 2005

Discussion in 'Defamation Law Forum' started by Clara J, 12 September 2014.

  1. Clara J

    Clara J Well-Known Member

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    An accountant is trying to sue me for libel against a post I posted to a private page on Facebook. The defamation he has included in the Concern Notice is all correct against him (in that, he is unprofessional, and he was rude to me). Do I have to respond? Would it stand up in court?
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Do you have to respond? - depends - what has happened so far? If the page is private, how does he know about the page?

    Court? - depends - If what you said is true you have a valid defence.
     
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  3. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi Stephanie,

    1. Yes, I would suggest you respond to the accountant's action if he has already initiated action and served you with a writ. Otherwise, you risk having default judgment against you.

    2. Truth is a complete defence to defamation. Can you show support that the statements you made about the accountant was true? Further, if the statements were opinions as opposed to allegations of fact, then that is also a defence to defamation. Finally, you can argue that there was no, and will unlikely be, significant harm or damage to the accountant's reputation because the only people who saw the statement are those in your private Facebook page. This will depend on how many friends and subscribers you have, who can view your posts, what type of people these friends/subscribers are, what you wrote etc.
     
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  4. Clara J

    Clara J Well-Known Member

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    Hi Sarah,

    I called the lawyer and explained the situation. They are now asking for me to put what I said in writing which I think is pointless considering I'd already explained it and the lawyer took notes.

    In terms of showing support, he walked away from me several times when I was trying to talk to him, answered a phone call when I was talking to him, antagonized my boyfriend on the phone, hung up on me on the phone, called the police when I refused to leave without the paper after offering to pay a fee for his services thus far. He was incredibly rude to me, suggesting I "take my pretty little eyes down the sheet" and again walking away from me. The post was up on Facebook for a couple of hours before I took it down and it's a private page. I doubt he himself saw it, but one of his friends who must have relayed the message. I've got pictures of what I said and the responses I received.

    In terms of 'proof' to support what he said? I have antagonizing and threatening emails prior to me going to collect the paperwork. Is that enough?

    Now the lawyer is refusing to speak to me, will only have a conversation in writing. Surely that's unprofessional in itself???
     
  5. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    You do not need to talk to their lawyer, and probably shouldn't unless you have your own legal advice.

    Best to let them send you letters/take you to court first.

    Do not help them sue you by giving them information.
     
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  6. Clara J

    Clara J Well-Known Member

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    OK. I replied saying I'd explained my position over the phone and saw no need reiterating or explaining only for it to be pulled out of context. I'm going to speak to Citizens Advice, but would you recommend letting them come to me or ignoring?
     
  7. Bob Thompson

    Bob Thompson Active Member

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    This may not help much but I'll tell you my experience. A friend who had a community blog was sued for defamation for saying something as trivial as "the (plaintiffs) were seen illegally on the dunes". At the time our community was having council put a park on our foreshore which involved reshaping one of the dunes.
    My friend made the above comment on his blog and the plaintiffs send him a writ for $250,000 for each plaintiff. ($500k)!! They claimed these damages for loss of reputation which is ridiculous as most people in this small community can't stand them anyway.
    He appointed what seemed to be a good solicitor for his defence. So far it has cost him over $20,000 to defend and there is still no resolution.
    From a common sense point of view, this should have been finalised swiftly with no judgement against him. However the legal system can tangle you up with solicitors on both sides going back and forth until the cost is ridiculous.
    Hopefully there is a solicitor out there that won't tie you up forever and cost you a small fortune.
     
  8. Clara J

    Clara J Well-Known Member

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    I'm coming down now on the side of ignoring any communication. This is ridiculous already and he's got nothing to go on since the post was taken down the same day. They don't even have the right information to go on in the first place but I just want to make sure that I can ignore communication from lawyers unless they're a summons to court. Is that right? I don't have to speak to the lawyers, or provide them with an offer to make amends in writing. I've already spoken to the tax accountants lawyer and explained the situation, she didn't ask for it in writing then, so why now?
     
  9. Bob Thompson

    Bob Thompson Active Member

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    I'm not a lawyer, but as Sara J said in their reply, you run the risk of having a default judgement against you if you don't respond. It's a lousy situation I know, but that's the risk you take. You do nothing to reply and they get you and if you do reply they get you. It's all about $$$$$ I'm afraid.
     
  10. Clara J

    Clara J Well-Known Member

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    I explained to the lawyer that we wouldn't be making an offer to make amends as we'd already taken the post down the same day it was put up. There's nothing else there is to do? I've got all my "proof" as best as I can have it, in order. It's just knowing what to do and when
     
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