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Is This Defamation? - What can I do?

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tommo020788 View Drop Down
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  Quote tommo020788 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Is This Defamation? - What can I do?
    Posted: 30/January/2012 at 18:40
Dear Law community,
I would like your help, pursuing an issue of defamation.

2 years ago, I was accused of a number of sexual offenses, and I was eventually only convicted of a minor sexual offense.
The accusers accused me of doing much worse than what I actually did, but I was not convicted, or charged for the worse crimes they accused me of.

Today, I was contacted by my church bishop. He said he wants to talk to me about my "recent convictions".
I was shocked, because the only people I could think of that would talk to the bishop, are the people who accused me of worse crimes than I actually committed.
I could be "ex-communicated" (banned from the church), which would destroy my reputation with family, friends, and break my marriage.

Being separated from the church, would also separate me from my wife, because remaining in the church with a worthy husband, is extremely important to my wife.

As you can see, a great deal of damage could be done because someone has gone and told the bishop of our church, without my consent.


I will be recording my interview with the bishop.

If he tells me that someone told him that I did more than I was convicted of, would it be possible to pursue defamation charges against whoever talked to him about me?

I am very upset about this.
I should have the right to privacy, and in this case, my privacy has been completely violated, and huge problems could arise from this being known to the public, via the church.

Your help is much appreciated.
Yours Faithfully
Tom

AsiaOilDude View Drop Down
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  Quote AsiaOilDude Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30/January/2012 at 19:28
I don't think legal action would help. It sounds like you're in LDS or similar which are pretty intolerant. However, as a suggestion - I would take a copy of your criminal record in to your next conversation and tell the Bishop that this is exactly what you are convicted of, nothing more. Incidentally there is no real privacy with criminal convictions - anyone can attend a trial (unless sealed). Obtaining a criminal record (copy of) without your permission is not permitted tho.



Not legal advice. Personal opinion only. Seek legal advice from qualified personnel only.

tommo020788 View Drop Down
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  Quote tommo020788 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30/January/2012 at 19:44
Whats worse, is that I didn't even commit the offenses that I was convicted of...
I was pressured to plead guilty, because I couldn't afford a decent lawyer, and had to settle with a really crappy, sad excuse for a legal firm, that takes legal aid payments.
My first representative moved out of state, after a year of representing me for an innocent plea, and I was given a really lazy lawyer 2 weeks before my sentencing date.
My lawyers had limited information (the previous lawyer left absolutely nothing behind for them to work with).

My lawyers said "we don't think you have a great chance of winning this case if you plead innocent.
I think your best chance of staying out of prison, is to enter a plea of guilty", and hopefully your medical conditions will be enough to keep you out of prison".
They said I could go to jail for 15 years if I plead innocent, and am found guilty.

They ended up not even getting a hold of the appropriate reports in time. I had to do it all myself the night before my trial.

There was one piece of evidence that did not come forward before I signed the plea deal.
A senior investigator in the child protection unit, told me later, that if that evidence came forward before the trial, his suspicions would have gone in a completely different direction.

MartinO View Drop Down
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  Quote MartinO Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30/January/2012 at 20:51
It is darn foolish to plead guilty to something you claim you did not do. You did plead guilty, you do have a conviction, I do not believe you have any chance in successfully defending a defamation action.

Someone who is defamed has an action when what is said or written about them damages their reputation, amongst other things. The guilty plea has already damaged your reputation, and that was what you did of your own free will.

And just to correct a misstatement in your post above, at no time would you have been asked to plead guilty or to plead innocent. The court requires you to plead guilty or not guilty. If you plead not guilty, the other side needs to prove that you are guilty, you do not have to say anything, they need to prove you guilty. And they need to use evidence that proves this beyond reasonable doubt, if there is any doubt the jury are instructed to find you not guilty.

I suspect from what you have said, that you are guilty of something, if you wish to deny this in your own mind that is your decision, but it will not help your rehabilitation.

The bishop and your wife can make their own decision as to what the true situation is, hope you come to terms with what ever the matter is. You do not have to talk with your bishop if you would rather not.




Edited by MartinO - 30/January/2012 at 20:53
I am NOT a lawyer. Anything said is NOT legal advice.

Please post your legal questions in a forum rather than sending a PM. Thanks.

AsiaOilDude View Drop Down
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  Quote AsiaOilDude Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31/January/2012 at 02:05
(Missionary Kid Mode ON): You may never really achieve forgiveness on this earthly realm if this is what you're after ... if you have repented of your sins, accepted Christ as your savior and endeavored to sin no more there is not much more you need to do for eternal forgiveness.   I personally would consider changing churches however Biblically Christians are called to monitor and judge one another, particularly on matters of sexual immorality. (MK off).

As Martin said - there is absolutely no need for you to entertain inquiries as to what happened.... a polite "Yes, so kind of you to enquire" with no more statement or similar and no more admission is needed.
Not legal advice. Personal opinion only. Seek legal advice from qualified personnel only.

AsiaOilDude View Drop Down
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  Quote AsiaOilDude Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31/January/2012 at 02:45
http://www.hrcr.org/safrica/privacy/austr_law.html

and

http://www.findlaw.com.au/articles/2104/a-common-law-right-to-privacy-for-australia.aspx

and


http://www.caslon.com.au/privacyguide3.htm

and

http://www.privacy.gov.au/individuals

may help. However, essentially you do not have an explicit right to privacy in Australia (i.e. nothing in the constitution, common law or acts of parliament give you an overall right of privacy - only piecemeal protection such as the Privacy Act).

Read this as well;

http://www.privacy.gov.au/individuals/criminal


EDIT: To fix links.



Edited by MartinO - 31/January/2012 at 10:09
Not legal advice. Personal opinion only. Seek legal advice from qualified personnel only.

boony View Drop Down
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  Quote boony Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31/January/2012 at 12:33
Maybe the bishop only wants to ensure you have support and is not seeking to throw you out of the church.

AsiaOilDude View Drop Down
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  Quote AsiaOilDude Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31/January/2012 at 15:32
You know Boony - you're wiser than your monicker sounds. We all judged the Bishop as being in the wrong, when he maybe the good guy in this.
Not legal advice. Personal opinion only. Seek legal advice from qualified personnel only.

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