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Thomas
Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Law
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Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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I have a spent conviction ( in 2001 I was convicted for conspiracy

Customer Question

I have a spent conviction ( in 2001 I was convicted for conspiracy to defraud in elections and was sentenced for 6 month imprisonment)

A person has posted on an orgenisation website that "i am a convicted fraudster"

That person and others from that orgenisation have posted around 5000 leaflets to the houses around my neighbourhood, stating my name and that I was a convicted fraudster.

Am i entitled to redress
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 1 year ago.
Hi

Thanks for your patience.

People are free to say what they like to other people provided that what they say must not be defamatory. In order to be defamatory (ie. Libel or slander), it must:-
1. Be a false statement
2. Communicated publicly (ie. To another person other than the defamor and the defamed
3. Cause damage to the person who is defamed.

The difficulty here is locating a false statement. You have been convicted of an offence with an element of fraud, it seems. So, the question is whether or not “convicted fraudster” is a false statement. It’s really borderline to be honest. You’re best line of argument is that “fraudster” implies some kind of element of multiple frauds linked to inherent behaviour. If you were only convicted once then this could from one perspective be regarded as not true. However, I would not be confident that this would be the correct interpretation of the words.

Defamation actions are extremely expensive to actually proceed with via Court (tens of thousands of pounds in legal fees – no legal aid), with a unpredictable degree of success and it is only worth suing a person if they have money against which you could enforce judgement. It is usually too large a barrier to those persons of normal means.

On the basis that there is a lack of clarity about whether or not the statement is false, in that it is open to interpretation, litigating on this would be quite a risk.

However, there is nothing stopping you from getting a solicitor to write a letter before action to the organisation advising that you consider what they have done to be defamatory and demanding the cease their actions and, possibly, requesting a retraction. Whether it gets you anywhere is anyone’s guess though.

I really am very sorry that I could not have better news for you.

Please remember to RATE my answer OK SERVICE, GOOD SERVICE OR EXCELLENT SERVICE or above if you are satisfied that you have received the correct legal advice (even if it is not the answer you wanted to hear), otherwise I do not receive any credit for answering your question.

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Kind regards,


Tom
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

the question i have is wether under the rehabilitation act and my conviction being spent is it a false statment to say "he is a convicted fraudster (not was one)

Expert:  Thomas replied 1 year ago.
Hi,

It does not change the position I'm afraid.

The Act imposes a rehabilitation period which means that you are not required to disclose spent convictions in certain processess (such as applying for jobs or getting insurance policies), but another private individual or organisation is not required to have regared to the spent period simply to state that you were convicted.

The fact that you have served your rehabilitation period under the Act does, regrettably, does not change the fact that you were convicted of a crime.

I'm very sorry.

Please remember to rate my answer.

Tom
Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 6296
Experience: BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
Thomas and 3 other UK Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I have seen an extract from the 1974 Rehabilition Act


 


I here by attach it


ACT 1974


SECTION 8


Defamation actions


(1)This section applies to any action for libel or slander begun after the commencement of this Act by a rehabilitated person and founded upon the publication of any matter imputing that the plaintiff has committed or been charged with or prosecuted for or convicted of or sentenced for an offence which was the subject of a spent conviction.


(2)Nothing in section 4(1) above shall affect an action to which this section applies where the publication complained of took place before the conviction in question became spent, and the following provisions of this section shall not apply in any such case.


(3)Subject to subsections (5) and (6) below, nothing in section 4(1) above shall prevent the defendant in an action to which this section applies from relying on any defence of justification or fair comment or of absolute or qualified privilege which is available to him, or restrict the matters he may establish in support of any such defence.


(4)Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (3) above, where in any such action malice is alleged against a defendant who is relying on a defence of qualified privilege, nothing in section 4(1) above shall restrict the matters he may establish in rebuttal of the allegation.


(5)A defendant in any such action shall not by virtue of subsection (3) above be entitled to rely upon the defence of justification if the publication is proved to have been made with malice.


(6)Subject to subsection (7) below a defendant in any such action shall not, by virtue of subsection (3) above, be entitled to rely on any matter or adduce or require any evidence for the purpose of establishing (whether under section 3 of the Law of Libel Amendment Act 1888 or otherwise) the defence that the matter published constituted a fair and accurate report of judicial proceedings if it is proved that the publication contained a reference to evidence which was ruled to be inadmissible in the proceedings by virtue of section 4(1) above.


(7)Subsection (3) above shall apply without the qualifications imposed by subsection (6) above in relation to—


(a)any report of judical proceedings contained in any bona fide series of law reports which does not form part of any other publication and consists solely of reports of proceedings in courts of law, and


(b)any report or account of judicial proceedings published for bona fide educational, scientific or professional purposes, or given in the course of any lecture, class or discussion given or held for any of those purposes.


 


Does this change the position in any way

Expert:  Thomas replied 1 year ago.
Hi,

I cannot see that it does, the defence of the organisation would be one of fair commment on the basis that it was true. Fair comment is provided for in the above passage.

The reality is that unless you are willing to plough £10, 000.00 and above in to this then a contentious defamation action is not viable anyway. If this is the case then I would focus on what you can actually do - ie. get a solicitor to write a letter threatening legal action unless their behviour ceases and a retraction is issued.



Tom

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