I want to ask about law on slander:I am in a custody/residency battle and during a CAFCASS meeting today the officer mentioned that my STBX brought in a letter from our local priest. Now, the fact that SHE brought it in tells me straight away it is NOT a good one or that it would say anything positive. This person must have written something bad against me, whether it will be used or not is a different question but the truth is 3-4 years ago, we were very good friends, he had my full support as a secretary in the Parish committee until I figured out he wasn't the person he portraid himself as. He then lost my support and I was all over sudden his biggest enemy.I'm going through a private family situation which is difficult enough as it is, but for him to write untruthful "character" references and letters is from my point of view unacceptable and I think he should not have got involved unless he could help with some pleas for understanding, peace, love...something you would expect from a priest - NOT the opposite, to create more animosity and hate! My questions are: is he allowed to do this?if not, what are my rights? Can I take him to court for slander?is there any way I can legally obtain the letter to see the contents of it?
Province/Country relating to question : uk
HiSince you have no idea what it actually says or if it is in any way relevant - or if it referred to you in any way at all then there is no action that you can take - nor indeed should you.It is highly unlikely that the CAFCASS officer was in any way impressedClaire
Hi ClaireI thought this would be more of a general criminal law kind of question and wasn't expecting an answer from you, however, I'm always happy to hear from you as your advice has always been very good indeed and helpful.Hoever, this "letter" from the priest would NOT have been brought in by my ex unless it was something she thought would help her paint a as negative picture of me as possible and I saw the letter's top page with his name address at the top.The officer seemed to have made a point to make it "known" to me my ex "brought a letter from the priest" so something IS there. Why else would my ex bring it in? Even if it doesn't (which I believe strongly is does) contain negative comments about me (because he made sure I know what he thinks of me in the last couple of years) what gives him the right to write letters about me for her to give to a CAFCASS officer? What does the law on slander say or is it called "defamation law"? I have reported the matter to the Bishop anyway (who personally knows me and as a decent person) and Highest Diocese Committee Court already simply for his unethical involvement in a private matter if nothing else - he has a duty to either help or stay out of it) and the Church court will be dealing with it. They've already given me there initial support and said it was incorrect what he didI didn't quite understand "It is highly unlikely that the CAFCASS officer was in any way impressed"..impressed with her bringing the letter you mean regardless of the contents at this stage?
HiSome basicsFirst you do NOT know that it was about you so please be careful what you say.Priests Vicars Ministers etc are free to write character references for use in family proceedings and many do - (in my opinion misguidedly) there is nothing unprofessional about it although frankly I have never known such a letter impress CAFCASS or the courts I am not sure why you thought this was a criminal matter - libel and slander are civil issues - and libel (written) requires publication - which is not simply a letter to a CAFCASS officer.If there was/is anything negative in the letter the CAFCASS officer WILL discuss it with you - and at that point you can make a formal complaint to the Bishop.Claire
family solictor with 25 years experience
Fair enough, I know that he was just waiting for an opportunity to "stab me in the back" and that the letter is there for reason. If it was a positive letter, she wouldn't have brought it along. My wife certainly wouldn't bring it unless it said something bad about me. Either way, I will take on board what you say and will sleep better now so thank you. The orthodox church law and hierarachy allows me to complain so I will to the church by requesting to know what he is writing about me as a Committee member. Our Church rules state a priest is NOT allowed to publicly or in any other way talk against a member of the committee which runs the church and he has done that already and broken rules so I have enough to proceed with that anyway.Ok, Claire many thanks again - I appreciate your help and advice - AGAIN :)
HiYou are most welcome - and remember the CAFCASS officer will take it with a large pinch of salt anywayClaire
Thanks.Just another quick one: when I was in with them yesterday, the officer arranged with me to bring the children in today. This morning she rang me and asked if "I found a message" that my ex would be bringing the children in instead.!??! I obviously had NO messages, no phone calls until this morning so she clearly did this at the last second and played the old "oh, did you not get my message"...my worry is of course that she is a genius at brainwashing and manipulating and she would use every second to manipulate the children and brainwash them to say things in her favour...I'm really upset about this, but I didn't argue with the officer on the phone earler. I just accepted and said ok, no problem. Should I worry? I've told the children many times when they are asked questions to just "speak the truth" and tell the officer whatever it is they feel or want. The officer didn't strike me as a well experienced one and the stunt this morning just adds to my worries...again, should ? Thanks
HiNo you shouldn't be worried - you are agonising over imagined anxieties and it will show.Have faith in your children who clearly love youClaire
Thanks ;) I'll be in touch again
You are welcome - good luck
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