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Self represented defamation case

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AJM48 View Drop Down
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  Quote AJM48 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Self represented defamation case
    Posted: 21/March/2012 at 13:49
Hi All,

A few months ago, some individuals who run a particularly aggressive web site for a sporting club, has posted a number of statements that I am a well known sexual predator and have conducted myself fraudulently at various times. This was posted on a closed forum with several hundred members, but then reposted on an open forum that has been picked up by Google. If you google my name, these allegations are near the top of page one.

To make matters worse, an ex partner and her family have now reposted these articles on Facebook where it is visible to members of my family.

The published statements apart from being untrue are of course highly defamatory, I can easily prove the author and the police considered criminal action against them. But as I am not a 16 year old girl being bullied, have ultimately been dropped by the police. The investigating officer wanted to proceed but the DPP had little interest citing cost/benefit reasons even though they agreed I had a case. The detective investigating has agreed to appear as a witness should I get these clowns into court.

In talking to defamation lawyers, they typically want a very large sum up front of up to $20,000, so I have decided to self represent.

Can any members of this forum point me towards any self help or reference guides. I plan on launching action in the NSW District Court based on the Defamation Act 2005.

iconoclast View Drop Down
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  Quote iconoclast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21/March/2012 at 14:26
Hi AJM, sorry to read about your awful situation. I think the NSW act is pretty close to the WA Defamation Act. If so - proceed with great caution.

First step is issuing a "Notice of Concerns" whereby you need to describe and detail in writing to the publisher/s the allegedly defamatory publications. What was said or written, to whom and when?

I believe you need to outline the defamatory implications - what are the implied meanings of what was said/written and why that is defamatory. Here in WA you give the publisher/s 28 days to respond in writing and make an offer of amends. Tedious I know there are some examples of pleadings on the web but it may take a while to find then - from memory on austlii re a WA case run by a brilliant lawyer here called Martin Bennett.

Please try to stay calm and avoid any emotional language - difficult as that may be in the circumstances. I'll see what I can find to refer you to read all about. Until then best of luck.
not legal advice

AsiaOilDude View Drop Down
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  Quote AsiaOilDude Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21/March/2012 at 14:46
This is disgusting. Particularly in Australia where being called a pedo is pretty much the only insult left.
Not legal advice. Personal opinion only. Seek legal advice from qualified personnel only.

AJM48 View Drop Down
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  Quote AJM48 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21/March/2012 at 15:14
Already did this first part, no response. They also called me a Pedo a few years ago, but I did not have the proof to identify the author to a legal standard of proof, this time I have that. I think the case you are referencing is Rindos V's Hardwick and I already downloaded the Austlii case information. It has a lot of parallels.

Edited by AJM48 - 21/March/2012 at 16:22

AsiaOilDude View Drop Down
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  Quote AsiaOilDude Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21/March/2012 at 15:27
I'm certainly not implying you are to blame.... but what is the root cause behind these insults do you think?
Not legal advice. Personal opinion only. Seek legal advice from qualified personnel only.

BD Eye View Drop Down
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  Quote BD Eye Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21/March/2012 at 15:31
We did a similar investigation for a private criminal prosecution being run over in Victoria. The chap was very successful, especially in light of all the hurdles thrown at him by legal eagles.

My advice, make sure you have all the evidence, and presented properly as the others sides lawyers will attempt to challenge everything, so you'll need to know your laws on admissibility and evidence down pat. If you can get yourself a copy of Uniform Evidence Law written by Odgers you will find it very beneficial.

Cheers
BD Eye

MartinO View Drop Down
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  Quote MartinO Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21/March/2012 at 15:42
For a start you can complain to the owners of any site on which the material is posted, to get it taken down, true or not they are not interested, what their concern is the legal costs if they get dragged into any action, and of course the sooner the material is taken down the less people that will see it.

If it is cached on Google you can get them to take it down also.

I've never had to have anything taken down, so I am unable to guide you in the best way to do it.
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.

AJM48 View Drop Down
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  Quote AJM48 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21/March/2012 at 16:31
Thanks all,

In this case the owner of the site is also the offender. Google, to take things down asks you to jump through a near impossible set of hoops, I gave in after reading their criteria. Root cause Asia dude would take too long to post here and Martin would smack me down for taking up the space.

It had to do with the privatisation of an NRL club where he is trying to destabilise the club for commercial interests, I am simply supporting a few friends associated with the club and he doesn't like me debunking his lies. He has already been in court in the past but got away with defamation on a technicality even though he admitted to it, this time that option is not available

AJM48 View Drop Down
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  Quote AJM48 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21/March/2012 at 16:35
Thanks BD Eye, the cops have already examined the evidence and have stated it is sound, they just will not prosecute based on Section 33 (I think this is the right section of the criminal law) which makes using a public carriage to menace a crime. Case is strong but it takes a lot to get the cops to commit resources to such cases.

WellsMorgan View Drop Down
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  Quote WellsMorgan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21/March/2012 at 17:07
Before you commence any litigation I always tell my clients, find out if they have any money!

Lawyers don't care about the "recovery" just the case.

You need to ascertain firstly who the defendant would be and whether they have anything

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing...

AJM48 View Drop Down
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  Quote AJM48 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21/March/2012 at 18:19
Thanks Wells, and totally agree.

I have to say there has been some sound advice given here and I have some new contacts that I have confidence in to achieve a good outcome. Will keep you all posted

NotGuilty View Drop Down
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  Quote NotGuilty Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21/March/2012 at 20:29
Originally posted by AJM48

Can any members of this forum point me towards any self help or reference guides. I plan on launching action in the NSW District Court based on the Defamation Act 2005.


There are no self help or reference guides. Defamation is a complex tort with many defences. Moreover, the Defamation Act is not a code, therefore, where the act is silent on a matter the common law will apply. Thus, the law of defamation is a mixture of statute and the common law.

Taking on the case unrepresented is a grave mistake. Saving money and lessening your chances is false economy. If you loose, you reputation will suffer not to mention the other sides costs.

If your reputation means anything to you, $20,000 is nothing.

If you intend to take on the case yourself, consider this. You will need to understand civil procedure, so get a text book on that, the law of evidence, get a text book on that, that law of defamation, get a text book on that, and how to draft pleadings, get a text book on that.

You have a case, so get it right the first time.

AJM48 View Drop Down
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  Quote AJM48 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21/March/2012 at 22:09
Thanks Not Guilty, I simply do not have $20K to pay up front, but nor can I allow my reputation to be damaged, a lot of personal issues here, but that is where I am at. I will have to cut my cloth to suit my purse so need as much help as I can get to handle this situation.

Defamation is the province of the rich, but sometimes, us lesser mortals need to have the guts to stand up and if the law treats us poorly, at least we have not laid down and rolled over.

MartinO View Drop Down
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  Quote MartinO Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21/March/2012 at 22:56
AJM, I think you have missed Not Guilty's point, If you lose the chances are that you will have to pick up the legal costs of the other side. Chances are that they may employ a top Barrister at many thousands a day, being a layman and up against a top barrister there is a fair chance of losing the case. Your reputation will be shot, (papers love to report these cases) to say nothing of your bank balance.

It would make far more sense to employ a top person yourself, win the case and have the other side faced with picking up your 20 grand outlay.   
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.

MartinO View Drop Down
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  Quote MartinO Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21/March/2012 at 23:43
We had another member here who claimed a police officer was stalking him, he sought assistance in this forum and was urged to take his evidence to a solicitor, as he wished to prosecute the police officer. He declined to do this. You can read his initial post on the matter here there were several successive threads about aspects of this matter, he was urged many times not to try doing this himself.

Eventually he decided to withdraw his action on the day it was set for trial, you can read the newspaper report here

From this you will see the court treated him harshly, please take notice of our urging and not repeat his mistake. Remember an action for defamation (which is a civil matter) if far more complex than the criminal matter our former member tried to fight.
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.

AJM48 View Drop Down
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  Quote AJM48 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14/May/2012 at 14:24
Hello all,

This case is progressing, biggest issue was tracking addresses of the other party, so a supplemental question for you knowledgeable people.

I am lodging initiating application early in June, the 2005 Defamation Act requires to plaintiff to give the other party 28 days notice to make amends before proceeding. In my case, the two main defendants are really going overboard to hide their home address. I tracked them to their workplaces in Alice Springs, one of who works at the Strategic Joint Defence Base at Pine Gap. I had a private investigator and process server deliver the letters to the civil work address of one person, but the one at Pine Gap refuses to accept by registered mail or by hand at the place of work the letter to make amends, while these two are married and the process server has spoken to the wife, but she refuses to give a home address.

When the case is finally lodged with the court in June, this is going to make serving a summons difficult. Supreme Court summons should be delivered to the person mentioned, but without an address and with a refusal to meet at the workplace, this is a real issue.

Has anybody had similar experiences and able to make a comment.

NotGuilty View Drop Down
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  Quote NotGuilty Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16/May/2012 at 21:18
Are you sure the plaintiff is required to offer an amends?

When it comes to serving the initiating claim, there are a number of options under the court rules, including substituted service.

QwertyAUS View Drop Down
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  Quote QwertyAUS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16/May/2012 at 22:01
If you know where he works I can't imagine it is so hard to personally serve it on him. Not sure what the rules are under your jurisdiction but I know that under UCPR Act Qld if a person refuses service, you can put it on the ground and tell them what it is. Their bad luck if they refuse to pick it up. You can progress towards default judgement.

iconoclast View Drop Down
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  Quote iconoclast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17/May/2012 at 09:02
agree with qwerty, it is sufficient to serve the defendant by simply leaving the "notice of concerns" which AJM calls his letter to make amends near by to them if they will not take it into their hand. Post will also do for a notice of concerns so simply do not register it to the bloke's work, just post it marked private and confidential to him @ the gap. That is enough. Cheers
not legal advice

AJM48 View Drop Down
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  Quote AJM48 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18/May/2012 at 08:12
Thanks for these latest responses. The letter to make amends/notice of concern is not like a subpoena and this guy has refused to take this, there is no facility to lay this at his feet as he will not be accessible to do so. The issue with the summons is that in The Supreme Court, it must be served personally unless the court gives leave to serve by other means. I was wondering if others had had the same issue and how they got around this, if at all.

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