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Tina, I’d like some information on defamation law, I have…

Customer Question
Hi Tina, I’d like...

Hi Tina, I’d like some information on defamation law, I have been accused of defamation due to an online review I did of my real estate.

Lawyer's Assistant: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.

QLD

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken so far?

So so far, simply stopped the contract with him, as it was over the 90 day period and I was so disappointed I didn’t like any of his service towards the end and so nothing, except wrote a google reivew

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

He has since engaged his lawyer and accused me of defamation to him personally, professionally and to his business. I also paid over 3200 to him up front and got nothing back. In other words no results to selling my house I just want to know if the defamation law is actually something I have broken, I don’t think I have as my review was honest and the opinion of me. I haven’t asked for any money back, simply I don’t think he was any good

Submitted: 2 months ago.Category: Australia Law
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Answered in 1 minute by:
3/24/2018
Solicitor: Olivia Kent, Attorney replied 2 months ago
Olivia Kent
Olivia Kent, Attorney
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 3,594
Experience: Partner at Kent Law Group, LLC
Verified

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. My name is ***** ***** I'm an attorney. Please note this site is for general information for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Communicating with an expert on this site does not establish an attorney-client relationship. You might be offered a phone call, but you are under no obligation to accept; the phone call requests don’t come from me - they’re offered by the site - but if you do want a phone call I’d be happy to do that as well.
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Give me just a moment to review what you've written.

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Solicitor: Olivia Kent, Attorney replied 2 months ago

My apologies... you're not in the US - it looks like your question was routed to the wrong database and if I answered your question I'd be giving you the US standard! Let me contact Customer Service to have your question moved to the correct database.

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Hi Olivia, ok however I am looking for legal advice as to whether I need to worry or not re the letter I have received. Yes I’m in Australia
Solicitor: Olivia Kent, Attorney replied 2 months ago

I'd be happy to help you but I don't know what the law on defamation is in Australia... I'll have Customer Service move your question so that it's seen by our Australian attorneys.

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Ok great, that’d be helpful, thankyou.
Customer reply replied 2 months ago
How will I know when I have been moved across?
Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Hello? Are you moving me across the Australian section thanks?
Solicitor: Olivia Kent, Attorney replied 2 months ago

I've notified customer service and asked them to move it. I can only notify them... I can't move it myself.

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Ok thankyou so I will hear from them?
Solicitor: Olivia Kent, Attorney replied 2 months ago

They should just be able to relocate the question.

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Thankyou, happy to rate you if you like?
Solicitor: Josie-Mod,
 replied 2 months ago
Josie-Mod
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 12
Verified
Hello,
I am Josie, a moderator for this topic.
Your question is open to all Australia Law Experts.
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Solicitor: John Melis, Lawyer replied 2 months ago
John Melis
John Melis, Lawyer
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 3,082
Experience: Principal Lawyer at Legal AU Pty Ltd
Verified

Hi, my name is***** solicitor in Melbourne. Thank you for using Just Answer, and I will answer your question today, and ask various questions to narrow the issues in your post raised.

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Solicitor: John Melis, Lawyer replied 2 months ago

Defamation is a common allegation raised when a person’s credibility and reputation is under attack. Defamation is when one person communicates to a third person, usually by words, any matter which adversely affects the reputation of the person that was defamed. The essence of raising a claim for defamation is the protection of one’s reputation. There are two aspects of defamation, libel, which means written statements, and slander, which is oral statements. When a claim is raised for defamation, there is no distinction between libel and slander as they are one action. There are three elements of a defamation action: (1) the subject matter was defamatory; (2) the defamatory material or statement identifies the plaintiff; (3) the defamatory material or statement was published to another person than the plaintiff. The very nature of defamation is personal and because of this fact, a dead person cannot be defamed. However, if a deceased person is defamed and it carries a negative imputation on a living person, a defamation claim may be raised by the person that is alive.

A corporation is able to sue for defamation, but it may only raise a claim if the company has fewer than 10 employees or functions as a not-for-profit organisation and is not a public body.

The law that regulates defamation in Victoria is the Defamation Act 2005, which the same Act title applies for New South Wales and QLD

Defamation is a complex area of law and generally, the heart of a defamation claim is usually brought on the basis of the protection of one’s privacy. A defamatory statement need not impute any moral blame to the plaintiff, it is sufficient if the plaintiff has been dishonoured by the statement. In the following cases the claim of defamation was held: Ansley v Penn (HC(NZ) 28 August*****held that where person was called a psychiatric patient, when they were not, was defamation; or in Youssoupoff v Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Ltd (1934) where the defendant claimed that she was raped, when she was not, was defamation; or in Krahe v TCN Channel Nine Pty Ltd (1986) where a person claimed that another party’s wife committed adultery, when it was not true, was defamation. Defamation has a broad area and does catch matters such as caricatures, cartoons, photographs, anything that will substantially ridicule or discredit a person.

Whatever statement that is claimed as libellous it must be considered in view of public policy, which is the prevailing community standards at the time. Whether statements made by a party are to be found as defamatory depends on their context and to the audience who were the recipient of the statements. The claim will also depend on the time and place of the statement, such as statements made after a dinner party, may not be defamatory; however, if the same statement is published on the radio or newspaper it may be defamatory. Further examples of potential claims of defamation is calling a person a hypocrite, drunkard, communist, drug user, jew-hater, terrorist and so on, the list of potential claims is not restricted. The allegation of defamation will be specific to the facts of the matter.

Where a statement is made defamatory imputations must be identified, and the context of the statement will be held as defamatory where reasonable people, right minded of fair average intelligence, can identify the accusation as conveying defamatory meaning. In Radio 2UE Sydney Pty Ltd v Chesterton (2009) the court held the general test for determining whether accusations are defamatory will depend on whether the esteem in which that defamed person is held by the community is diminished in some respect. As example, discrediting a person in their profession such as a doctor, architect, solicitor, businessman, elected representative, or if the community shuns or ridicules them. The circumstance in which defamation may apply is wide.

Some examples of defamation include: John Fairfax Publications Pty Ltd v Gacic (2007) where the court held that a statement made that an owner of a restaurant sells unpalatable food and provides bad services was libellous; or inShepheard v Whitaker (1875) where the court held that saying that the trader was bankrupt or insolvent when they were not was defamatory, as the accusation claims lack of business acumen by the trader; or in Bjelke Peterson v Warburton [1987] where various Ministers of the Queensland government sued the opposition leader as he stated that the Ministers had their hands in the till, which the court held the statement by the opposition leader created the innuendo that the Ministers were corrupt, which was false, and the claim of defamation was held.

Where a defamatory statement is made the plaintiff must be able to be identified, which may be directly or by innuendo. In Bateman v Shepherd [1997] the defendant was held liable for defamation even where the plaintiff was not named, because there were sufficient facts to enable a number of people to realise the plaintiff was the party being referred to in the statement.

A claim of defamation requires that the matter is communicated to persons other than the plaintiff, and it is irrelevant that the person to whom the statement was published believed it to be false. It does not matter that the defendant did not intend to defame the plaintiff, provided that the publication was intentional, or a natural consequence of their action. Everyone who takes party in the dissemination of defamatory matter is liable. However, the secondary distributor, may be able to claim the defence of the innocent disseminator. Where an internet service provider facilitates the posting they are generally free of liability. Others who are protected include booksellers, news agents, libraries, and a delivery person.

In determining whether a statement whether verbal, written, or pictorial is defamatory there are numerous factors that need to be taken into account. The important concept to remember is that the object of raising a claim of defamation is the protection of reputation, and reputation exists in the minds of others.

In your important matter, if the facts that you have stated online are true, then the claim of defamation by the agent will fail in the court

the law will protect you in this important matter.

If you need any further information please let know.

You can come back to this post any time to ask questions and there will be no further charges to you.

Don’t forget to rate me 5 stars as this supports me helping the community, and thank you for using Just Answer.

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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

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