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WCLawyer, Attorney
Category: South Africa Law
Satisfied Customers: 15603
Experience:  L.LB (UOVS)
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I recently found out that a conversation which took place in

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I recently found out that a conversation which took place in my own private home was recorded on a cell phone, and the person making the recording started the comments and provoked us to give our opinion. Although according to me nothing bad was said about the management of the company, I received a letter from there attorney telling me they are proceeding with action against me and my husband because of the slanderous comments. Will this be admissible in court?
Good day and thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try and assist you today.

I know that this is probably not the answer that you have hoped for, however, I hope that you can still get some value out of it. I try my best to provide you with a legally sound and accurate answer and however much it pains me, it is not always good news. Trust me when I say that I wish I could provide you with a more optimistic answer. If you have follow up questions before you rate, feel free to ask them at no extra cost. If you are satisfied with the service, kindly rate it positively

Was this a cellphone conversation that was recorded?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No it was a person to person conversation that took place in our home and just recorded on a cell phone

Was it recorded by someone who participated in the conversation?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes, I think she was sent by the CEO to gather evidence.

So it was not just someone who left a cellphone there and recorded a conversation between you and someone else?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No, she fully participated in the conversation while recording with her cell phone

What type of action are they contemplating against you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I received notice from there attorney stating they are proceeding with legal action claiming damages based on distress caused as well as defamation of character

A civil matter then.

The rule of thumb is that recorded evidence like that would be admissible if the person who recorded it, was also a part of the conversation. I do believe, given the information that you have provided, that the evidence would be admissible.

Now, the question is whether this is defamation or not. The general principles there is that, if the comments would have the effect of diminishing the character of the person in question in the community and you have made them to any person, other than the person who is defamed, that would be defamation of character

They are not going to make millions from you and I have read an article in the De Rebus a while back where it is suggested that a simple apology sometimes takes care of the damages. In the article, a case was discussed where an apology was tendered prior to the person defamed suing the defendant and the court awarded the defendant costs, based on the fact that an apology was tendered and was sufficient to take care of the damages.

I am not saying, however, that you should apologize now, because I don't have enough information to tell you that this is a good cause of action. Note that, if you apologize, that is an admission of guilt and if you apologize but say that you don't admit guilt, it is not an apology. I hope I am making sense.

If this was a trap and your were basically enticed by this person to say what you did, then that is not going to sit well with a Magistrate or Judge.

Note also that defenses for this will include that the comments is not defamatory or that it is defamatory, but that it is the truth and in the interest of the public that it be known. If this person specifically asked your opinion about something pertaining to this person and you gave your opinion, then that takes care of the second part.

I hope this helps you a little bit, but if you have follow up questions before you rate, feel free to ask them at no extra cost. If you are satisfied with the service, kindly rate it positively.
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