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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 69367
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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I am a sea cadet officer (and retired RN officer) and

Customer Question

I am a sea cadet officer (and retired RN officer) and recently attended a meeting with two other sea cadets officers, of equivalent rank where I made known my concerns regarding a non commissioned sea cadet instructor at another unit and his behaviour towards cadets under his care.
Approximately 3 months later, I received a letter from the area officer i.e. senior officer within the region, (a retired RN commander) informing me that I had been given a written warning for not following boating instructions. I was never made aware of any complaint prior to receiving the letter.
The warning stated that I had not acquired permission from the local harbour to launch a powerboat. This is completely incorrect. Permission was received via a landline telephone by a second instructor (who has signed a statement to that effect) and I got verbal permission via VHF radio which is corroborated by the harbour authority and the same instructor who made the telephone call.
I am self-employe
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.

What would you like to know about this please?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Good afternoon,I’d like to know if I have a case for deformation, how to instigate a letter before action and court action if required.Best regards,
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.

Sorry if I am missing the point but what is the defamation?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Defamation of character. Making a written libellous statement, ie one that is untrue and can be proved as such. Potential impact on my reputation.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The impact on my reputation from the point of view of placing kids in danger and also potential to impact earnings as a powerboat instructor.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.

I'm really sorry but I am afraid it is quite unlikely that a court is going to accept that saying a person launched a powerboat without permission amounts to a defamation.

A defamation is something that causes such damage to a persons' reputation that they would be shunned by society. Accusing somebody of a sexual attack would be a good example. This is nothing like I'm afraid. It is a simple misunderstanding if wrong that can be corrected by explaining.

If you are intent then you need to send them a letter before action but it isn't a good idea as you will lose and have to pay their costs which will be onerous.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The issue is that they have basically said that I have put cadets (children) into danger because I did not get permission to launch and being it is a large commercial harbour, i could see that point.
However, I did get permission on two counts. They have issued a written warning on the basis of incorrect evidence which they have been informed is incorrect and corroborated.
It is now common knowledge that I have received a written warning for launching without permission and this is incorrect.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.

I am really sorry but I still cannot agree that this amounts to a statement sufficient to be defamation.

If it is know that the statement was incorrect then what damage has your reputation suffered?

The trouble is that issuing and pursuing this if they contest it will cost in excess of £10k and if you lose you will have to pay his costs.