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Would I get done for defamation?

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InnisandGunn Wed 13-Nov-19 19:58:09

So, some of you may remember my previous post regarding a police investigation against a friend who sexually assaulted me twice. One whilst asleep, thinking I was drunk. And again when I was blind drunk. All whilst our friends we're sat around. We've gone through the correct channels, I've waited 18 months and the case has changed officer. It transpires the case has been handled horribly and it's looking as though it won't even get put through to CPS. We have a means of getting deleted Facebook messages that would provide irrefutable evidence, but the police won't do it 'because it's not a murder case'. I'm absolutely gutted. No wonder sexual offence conviction rates are so low.

My AIBU is, if this doesn't go anywhere, can I plaster the whole thing everywhere? Well maybe not do that, but post to Facebook about it? He's a school teacher. He's most likely done it to another friend. God knows how many others whilst he was at uni. He has a 16 year old girlfriend. And he gets off, as though nothing ever happens. I can't tell the school, I can't go ballistic at him. I've sat for 18 months and waited, all for it to be ballsed up.

I want everyone to know what he's really like. So I intend to post on Facebook with a very accurate description of him, whilst not actually naming, and describe what he's done to me. Would this be classed as defamation? Reading online it says it's only a crime if what you're saying isn't true. Well I know it's true, he knows it true. All our friends know its true. His parents and my parents know it's true. Yet his parents continue to lie to the police. Can I be done for defamation if I go off on this war path? I just need to do something. I need to somehow attack him back. Make him feel how I feel.

InnisandGunn Wed 13-Nov-19 19:59:27

Excuse all the typos, it's been a long day.

lolawasashowgirl Wed 13-Nov-19 20:02:17

Hi. Am so sorry to hear what you've been through thanks However please don't do that - you could be prosecuted yourself.

thirstyformore Wed 13-Nov-19 20:02:31

Yes, you could. You'd have to prove it was true in court if he sued.

FunOnTheBeach20 Wed 13-Nov-19 20:03:22

Truth is a defence to defamation, so if you’re telling the truth he can’t sue. He doesn’t have to prove you’re lying either. It’s civil so the test is on the balance of probabilities not beyond reasonable doubt.

FunOnTheBeach20 Wed 13-Nov-19 20:04:27

www.daslaw.co.uk/blog/defending-against-defamation-claims

InnisandGunn Wed 13-Nov-19 20:04:34

But surely, if they can't be arsed to get to the bottom of this, will they be bothered to get to the bottom of defamation? I wouldn't name him at all. I don't want to play with fire, but god I feel so helpless, like what's the bloody point of abiding by the rules when you can get away with not doing so.

BackOnceAgainWithABurnerEmail Wed 13-Nov-19 20:04:44

Why can’t you tell the school? If not about this then about his 16 year old girlfriend?

FunOnTheBeach20 Wed 13-Nov-19 20:05:16

Defamation is a civil, not a criminal matter. The police are not going to get involved.

Passthecherrycoke Wed 13-Nov-19 20:07:08

Deformation is a civil matter. He would have to sue you, and personally pay for that- it barely ever happens as it’s so expensive. Also, if it’s true, it’s not deformation.

I’m not actually sure it’s a good course of action, but I wouldn’t particularly worry about deformation of character

PegasusReturns Wed 13-Nov-19 20:07:49

Realistically unless he's extremely wealthy he's not going to sue for defamation it's extremely expensive.

In the event he did you'd have defence in that you're being truthful.

That said will it really achieve what you want? I suspect not.

JaniceBattersby Wed 13-Nov-19 20:08:22

Yes it would be classed as defamation. It doesn’t matter that you k ow it’s true, your assertion that it’s true has to be based on PROVABLE facts. If he sued you, you’d have to go to court yourself and prove to a judge that what you were saying was true.

It doesn’t matter that you won’t name him. If one other person knows who he is from your FB post then you are deemed to have identified him.

He would have to have provable loss in order for a defamation claim to be successful but I’m guessing if his school finds out then that won’t be too difficult a burden for him.

Defamation isn’t a criminal offence, it’s a civil tort but it could leave you in court and facing a huge financial cost.

You can weigh all this up against the likelihood of him suing you.

There is also the chance of you being charged with harassment. I’ve recently covered a case where a man was called a paedophile on Facebook and the accuser has recently been found guilty of harassment and now has a criminal record.

I’m sorry OP. It’s a crappy system.

InnisandGunn Wed 13-Nov-19 20:09:35

@FunOnTheBeach20 so I wouldn't get any prison time if I couldn't prove it to be true?

@BackOnceAgainWithABurnerEmail the police have told me not to. We made the police aware when this first started and they were seen kissing a few days after her 16th birthday. She was a student at a sister school of the school he teaches at. The police said unless she came forward they couldn't do anything. I've been told today by police that I could face huge fines if I informed the school about the investigation and he wasn't found guilty which is looking very likel at this point.

Passthecherrycoke Wed 13-Nov-19 20:12:07

Huge fines for what?

Justabaker Wed 13-Nov-19 20:12:39

You're in a lot of pain and I wish I could offer you comfort. Have some flowers and a virtual hug.

Anger is bad for the soul and is like a boomerang - it rebounds on you. Whether or not you are done for defamation for expressing your anger, it will do you more harm in the long run than him. It's not going to make him less of an asshole.

Sorry, I sense you're seeking confirmation of your chosen path. But you wouldn't be here asking if you didn't have reservations. In all emotional decision making there are two paths; one feels easy in the short term and one feels hard. The easy path (in the short term) is to vomit up all your anger on Facebook and shame him. The hard path (in the short term) is to move on with your life.

Say you have a daughter some day. 20 years from now do you want her to stumble across that Facebook post?

Hang in there.

Passthecherrycoke Wed 13-Nov-19 20:12:44

Sorry- posted too soon- I mean what offence would they be fining you for?

InnisandGunn Wed 13-Nov-19 20:13:16

Eugh, thanks everyone. How do they always come out on top? I can't even verbalise my frustration right now. If it weren't for my gorgeous little boy and my wonderful DP I'd be behaving in very unwise ways right now.

I can prove it, in taht we have messages where he admits it. We have numerous witness statements. I almost feel like I'd want it to go to court so I can prove this is true. He's made no attempt to deny, because he can't. It's far too common knowledge amongst too many people. He just goes no comment to every question.

Scarydinosaurs Wed 13-Nov-19 20:16:51

I’m so shocked about the girlfriend- I would definitely inform the school.

Can someone else do it on your behalf??

InnisandGunn Wed 13-Nov-19 20:17:11

@Justabaker I totally agree, but I'm finding it so difficult. I'm not one to overshare on SM, but I wondered if I went along the lines of the Me Too movement, it could come across in a way that wasn't too vindictive and spiteful. I have a little boy and I wanted to be able to be an example to him, that women aren't objects, and that as his mother I won't condone behaviour like that. Unlike his mother.

@Passthecherrycoke he said something about a big case not long ago where someone got fined thousands for saying something about someone before they were convicted and then they weren't found guilty. I don't remember the full details. I was a bit absorbed in what he'd said about it not getting to CPS to remember much else of what he said.

InnisandGunn Wed 13-Nov-19 20:18:04

@Scarydinosaurs a few people are willing to do this but will it not be a bit he said she said unless it's coming from me or the police? The girl is now 17 and no longer in school.

CareOfPunts Wed 13-Nov-19 20:18:41

It can’t be defamatory If it’s true

Standard of proof in civil cases is lower than in criminal. You could consider raising a civil action against him? This has been done in other cases where there’s been no prosecution/conviction. May be expensive in terms of legal fees

He’d have to be very stupid to sue you for defamation knowing he’d done it and he’d sent you messages admitting it

InnisandGunn Wed 13-Nov-19 20:19:34

Funnily enough I tentatively emailed 2 safeguarding officers in the county the school is in regarding this and I didn't get a reply from a single one. How can the systems fail so badly?

CareOfPunts Wed 13-Nov-19 20:19:56

@Passthecherrycoke he said something about a big case not long ago where someone got fined thousands for saying something about someone before they were convicted and then they weren't found guilty. I don't remember the full details. I was a bit absorbed in what he'd said about it not getting to CPS to remember much else of what he said.

Maybe some sort of offence against the course of justice/perjury/contempt of court

InnisandGunn Wed 13-Nov-19 20:20:43

@CareOfPunts gosh really? I had wondered if that was a thing. I will start looking into it. I just want him to acknowledge it happened and face the consequences.

CareOfPunts Wed 13-Nov-19 20:23:42

I really don’t get why you can’t tell the school or the education authorities. Police sound like they are talking out their arse. Coupled with the hash you’ve said they have made of the case, I’d wonder if they were trying to protect him.

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