I need some help with a lawyer who has told me I'm liable for defamation charges. New Zealand. I have talked to the

Expert's Assistant chat
Customer: Hi, I need some help with a lawyer who has told me I'm liable for defamation charges
JA: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: New Zealand
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I have talked to the lawyer on the phone and told her I've removed the tweets that her client took exception to
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No
Answered by Chris The Lawyer in 1 min 2 years ago
imglogo
Chris The Lawyer
10+ years of experience
logo

42066 Satisfied customers

Expert in: Family Law, Legal, Estate Law, Real Estate Law, Criminal Law, Employment Law, Business Law, Consumer Protection Law, Bankruptcy Law, Traffic Law, Personal Injury Law.

logoimgimgVerified lawyers, 10+ years of experience
Chat with a Lawyer in minutes, 24/7
imglogo

Verified lawyers, 10+ years of experience

Save time and money. Get specialized help.

imglogo
Chris The Lawyer
10+ years of experience
logo

42066 Satisfied customers

Jessica

Jessica

Consultant

31,131 Satisfied customers

Pearl avatar
Lawyer's, Assistant
14 Lawyers are online right now.
img

Chris The Lawyer, Expert

Hi
I am a New Zealand lawyer based in Wellington and will help you with your question today. Please give me a minute to read the question

Customer
Hi Chris
img

Chris The Lawyer, Expert

If you are told you are facing defamation charges, that is not strictly correct. What you could be facing is a court action for defamation seeking damages and probably removal of the offending tweets. If you have already removed the tweets, then I don't expect they would still continue with a court proceeding. Defamation is a specialised area, and one of the more expensive types of court proceeding, because it is complex. So if the person you are alleged to have defamed doesn't have much money, then it is unlikely that they would be able to take action against you

Customer
File attached (GQ3LM1T)
Customer
Thanks for letting me know - please see attached screenshot. Apart from removing tweets what else can I do to avoid this going further?
img

Chris The Lawyer, Expert

If there was a suppression order, that does make this more serious. Breaching the suppression order can lead to a prosecution. The problem of course with Twitter is that sometimes people re tweet What you have posted, and this means you lose control of the statement. My suggestion is, if you have not done this already, to tell who you have taken down the post and perhaps if you wanted to apologise, you could do so.

Customer
I had seen this statement on Twitter from other people and therefore didnt realise that his name was suppressed
img

Chris The Lawyer, Expert

If this case is ongoing, and leads to a conviction, then you are safe from defamation, but not from a breach of the name suppression. If you reposted this from other Twitter feeds, not knowing that it was suppressed, it is unlikely you would be prosecuted

Customer
The case against him has been finalised and led to a conviction, according to the social media postings that I have seen
img

Chris The Lawyer, Expert

Sometimes name suppression continues even after a guilty verdict. That happens sometimes when he has the same name as the victim. So even if the cases over and he has been convicted, you have to comply with the suppression (now that you know it exists)

Customer
I didn't know that it existed before today - what happens there?
img

Chris The Lawyer, Expert

There isn't much you can do in the circumstances, and it is unlikely you would be prosecuted given the circumstances

Customer
That makes me feel better, I will call the lawyer now and offer a formal apology and get back to you if that's OK?
img

Chris The Lawyer, Expert

Sure, and explain you retweeted from someone else, and did not know about suppression

Customer
Hi, she hasn't answered my call, but can I just ask you what sort of threshold the police have to go ahead with prosecution and charging for name suppression breach?
img

Chris The Lawyer, Expert

The test is whether this was a deliberate breach of the order. In your case, you were unaware of the order and so since the real name of this person was already publicised, I think it is unlikely anything will happen. They are more interested in a deliberate breach than an accidental breach.

Customer
Thank you. And as for the statement that I am liable for defamation proceedings, do you think anything will come of that?
img

Chris The Lawyer, Expert

That would be easier to defend. If this person was a convicted rapist, he doesn’t have any good character to damage.
Customer
OK. I've seen some tweets from others state that he is convicted and others that state he settled out of court.
img

Chris The Lawyer, Expert

I doubt he would want to prove his innocence through a defamation case. It would be very risky for him
Customer

This is what I have drafted to his lawyer: Good afternoon ****, I have had time to obtain some legal advice and have removed any tweets about your client **** *****. I had seen statements by other Twitter users about your client being convicted on social media. Because a lot of other people have been discussing your client, this made me unaware that any name suppression existed until I received your email today. In addition, there are several websites which the statement was made on which named your client’s full name and said that he was convicted. I would like to take this opportunity to apologise unreservedly to your client and offer a formal retraction of anything that I have said about him or repeated about him from what other people have stated on social media. Kind regards,

Customer
Is there any more that I should add?
img

Chris The Lawyer, Expert

Thats good and should end this issue

Customer
Thanks
img

Chris The Lawyer, Expert

Thank you for the reply and for using this site. You may ask further questions or rate this answer when you are ready.

Ask a lawyer and get your legal questions answered.
See all Legal Questions
img
Related Legal Questions
How it works
logoAsk for help, 24/7
Ask for help, 24/7
Members enjoy round-the-clock access to 12,000+ verified Experts, including doctors, lawyers, tech support, mechanics, vets, home repair pros, more.
logoExpert will respond in minutes
Expert will respond in minutes
After you reach out, we match you with an Expert who specializes in your situation. Talk, text, chat, whichever you prefer.
logoSave time & money
Save time & money
No scheduling hassles, missing time from work, or expensive consults.
A JustAnswer membership can save you significant time and money each month.
img
logo 593 Verified lawyers, 10+ years of experience
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on Askalawyeroncall.com are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. Askalawyeroncall.com 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 as proposing specific action or addressing your 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 should be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on any information received from an Expert, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains. The responses above are from independent, freelance Experts, who are not employed by Askalawyeroncall.com . The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credentials of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service.
Explore law categories
Powered by JustAnswer