Sunday, 24 October 2010

Trinidad and Tobago Defamation

Q: What can I do if someone writes something about me on Facebook that is untrue?

A: You can bring a civil suit for defamation.

There are two types of defamation; libel and slander. Libel is a defamatory statement in a permanent form, usually written, e.g. in a newspaper, book, letters, paintings, etc. Slander is a defamatory statement in a transient (non-permanent) form, usually by means of spoken words or gesture (very difficult to prove).

In the case of Facebook postings, it is obviously libel.

The laws governing defamation in Trinidad and Tobago can be found in the Libel and Defamation Act - Chapter 11:16.

Slander- Section 2: No action for defamation shall be maintainable in any Court of justice in Trinidad and Tobago in respect of words spoken, except [in specific clear-cut cases].

Libel - Section 8: If any person maliciously publishes defamatory libel, knowing it to be false, he is liable on conviction to imprisonment for two years and to pay such fine as the Court directs.

Section 9: If any person maliciously publishes any defamatory libel, upon conviction he is liable to pay a fine and to imprisonment for one year.

109 comments:

  1. Slander is a defamatory statement in a transient (non-permanent) form, usually by means of spoken words or gesture (very difficult to prove). In this case, it is obviously slander.

    Um... What are you referring to as slander when you mention 'in this case...'?

    Is it the non-permanent form of the statement? Or the posting of some info on FB?

    You are unclear. However, if you refer to publishing on Facebook as the question asked then that is a clearer case of libel rather than slander.

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  2. You're correct! It was a typo. Thanks for spotting it!

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  3. This has been extremely helpful.
    Can you recommend a reputable Trinidad attorney who I can go to with regard to filing a lawsuit for Libel with regard to Facebook postings?
    Thanks

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  4. If someone has accused me for stealing claiming that they saw me with the items that they lost and is not true what is that and what would be my case

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  5. if someone has conned persons and has been doing this for years, and you want to let others be aware of his actions, by posting his pictures and name. but for a fact, this person is truly a con artist. is this still considered breaking the law?

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  6. Please give me advice on what I should do concerning an incident where my name, picture and place of work was posted on a website where false accusations and statements were made about me. I emailed the site informing them that what they were saying is not true but they refused to remove the article. Now every time I or anyone google my name and place of work, what comes up is an untrue and humiliating article along with my picture.

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    1. What I've done for defamation cases is send out a letter for my clients, which usually solves the problem. People are afraid of being sued.

      Delete
  7. i need an attorney for someone who has posted some vulgar statements an remarks on facebook about me thats not true

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  8. So my sperm donor decided to sit and lambast me with my fiancé and God knows who else... This isn't the first time this happened and I really need it to stop... Will I have a case?

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  9. My neighbour said to me, "Yuh fuck meh father, Shamatee see you leaving from by we!"
    There were several persons present including my mother and father. She even told this to a police officer
    Under Section 5 of the Libel and Defamatory Act Chapter 11:16 do I have a good case??? How should I go about pursuing this because it is not true, her father left the country when I was about 12 years and I never even spoke to the man in my life.

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    1. I'm not sure you've suffered any detriment, so I don't believe that you have a case.

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  10. So then what can I do to stop these people from "spreading my name?"

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  11. Is verbal accusations a defamation of character? can you do anything to the persons who are trying to spoil your character and reputation?

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    Replies
    1. The main thing that anyone needs to show for any type of defamation is damage to reputation, so much so that there is loss. Loss of job, loss of customers, loss of family, loss of friendships, etc... and it must be completely untrue and said intentionally to damage. An opinion is not defamation. For example: "she's a terrible cook" is opinion, not defamation, even if the person runs a catering business, it's still their opinion once they've tried the food.

      Delete
  12. please respond to this question posted by this user. this info will help me too

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  13. In may of 2011 I was arrested and charged for possession of 13grams of Marijuana that I knew nothing about. ...it was apparently left there by someone else....I was there at the wrong place at the wrong time....explaining it to the police was in fact useless....I was suspended from my job....my salary and home life was affected....It was published in one of the daily newspaper. ...I was shamed for something I did not do......I won the matter ...in court.....but my character had been destroyed. ...I never appeared in court for anything in my life not even a parking ticket...no evidence was ever produced in court....so years of my life was disrupted for no apparent reason. ...do I have a case for damages to my character.

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  14. With respect to the possession of 13grams Marijuana. ...a case against the police/state....seeing that I was charged for possession. .but no evidence was ever brought before the court to say I was in possession of anything.

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  15. I said a few stuff about another person B out of anger because the person started saying stuff about me.I was confiding in a friend C at the time of the conversation not knowing that C voice recorded me without my consent. C gave B the tape and now B wants to take me to court. Can you advice on this matter?

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    1. That's not defamation. Not even close.

      Delete
  16. No action for defamation shall be maintainable in any Court of justice in Trinidad and Tobago in respect of words spoken, except [in specific clear-cut cases].
    Can you explain this in terms of a voice recorded phone conversation

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    1. Defamation requires damage... did you suffer any type of loss?

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  17. Can you advice on a situation. I had a phone conversation with A about B. Now B started bad talking me with friends and family members. I told A that B should mind her business and start studying how she was with three fellas already.I also said that B is very dangerous and like confusion and told A to keep away cause he might get into Trouble. I said a few other bad stuff about B. Some of the stuff are true and some are hear by the way. A recorded the phone conversation without my knowledge and gave it to B. Now B is threatening to take me to court because she claims I am Slanering her character. Can you advice? Note only A I told things about B (the reason being she started bad talking me first and out of anger I told A). She is threatening to go to court with it. What can I do?

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    Replies
    1. Please stop asking the same question in multiple ways... it is not defamation.

      Delete
  18. If I were to bad talk someone with another person A. Lets say A voice record me and play it for B, can B bring me up in court for defamation or slander?

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  19. No action for defamation shall be maintainable in any Court of justice in Trinidad and Tobago in respect of words spoken, except [in specific clear-cut cases]. Can you explain this act for me.
    Is it accurate to say that if I were to tell someone stuff about another person, I won't be charge

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  20. Thanks alot Trinbago Rights for your assistance

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  21. If I were to bring someone up in court for slander i.e. the person told another person that "I had 4 man already and I slept with each of them". How can I prove in court that statement is not accurate.

    Also can you explain Section 2: No action for defamation shall be maintainable in any Court of justice in Trinidad and Tobago in respect of words spoken, except [in specific clear-cut cases].

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    Replies
    1. You're asking me how to prove that you haven't slept with 4 men? Unless you're a virgin, do you really think that question makes sense?

      Defamation has be clear-cut (specific words not requiring interpretation, which causes damage to reputation, loss of earnings, damage to relationships, blatantly untrue and full of malice).

      Delete
  22. Words spoken and published which impute unchastity or
    adultery to any woman or girl shall not require special damage to
    render them actionable; but in any action for words spoken and
    made actionable by this section, a plaintiff shall not recover more
    costs than damages, unless the Court certifies that there was
    reasonable ground for bringing the action.

    Can you explain this for me

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    Replies
    1. How can I explain something if I don't know the source to identify the context?

      Delete
  23. Hi once more, Just want to say thanks a lot for your free advice!
    My case is this: another woman name Jankie told one of my guy friend, Jason that I am not a good girl and I was involved with three fellas. She also claim that I slept with all of them already. My guy friend Jason came back and told me exactly what she said, Jason and I are still friends but I am afraid if she keeps telling people these lies!

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  24. I plan to take Jankie to court for making these statements!

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    1. The court doesn't have time for this Calabash Alley bacchanal.

      Don't waste your time...

      Delete
  25. What is the maximum time period do I have to bring forward a case of Defamation (slander) to court from the date of occurrence. A statement was made against me which impute unchastity against a woman in February 2014.

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    Replies
    1. Defamation is considered to be a tort, so the time frame is 4 years in accordance with Section 3 of the Limitation of Certain Actions Act 1997, as amended.

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  26. Hi,
    I am currently going through a defamation claim. I was sent a letter to cover costs worth 10,000. I do not agree with that but I have decided to settle the matter in the High Court. After I settle the matter in court would I also have to pay the other party's Legal Fees?. In a Defamation claim if I (the Defendant) lose the case and is ordered to pay the plaintiff a sum, DO I also have to pay their legal Fees as well?

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    Replies
    1. Only the judge determines that... why are you defending a defamation case without a Lawyer? That's not very sagacious.

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  27. I am taking a Lawyer, I have written a letter of apology already to show in Court. Do you think the letter of apology would lessen the costs or would eliminate the costs?

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    Replies
    1. Yes. According to s.4 of the Libel & Defamation Act 1845, as amended, the apology will be considered a mitigating factor.

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  28. If someone were to make defamatory statements about another and it is only to one other person, do you think that is sufficient to bring that up in court? Is it true to say that base on the amount of persons whom hear the defamatory statements then it can be said that the damages would depend on the amount? say for e.g. only one hears it compare to one hundred.


    What is the minimum amount of personnel whom hears a defamatory statements would I have a good case to bring in court?

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  29. Hi, if someone created a fake message saying i said certain things to them, and took a screen shot of the fake message as their "proof" can i have an attorney send them a cease and desist letter? what can i do?

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    1. I don't even know what the message is about...

      Delete
  30. How can I get some sound legal advice?

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  31. What do I do when my assistant manager says to me that she has been told by three senior supervisors I have been showing aggression on my job and it is not and was never reflected on my performance appriasal, neither was i spoken too or warned about this or a paper trail of evidence, as a matter of fact my last
    performance appraisal indicated that I was fit for promotion. She keeps attacking me personally and suggesting if I am not happy at my job I should leave. And ends it by saying I take things personally so something is definitely wrong with me I need counseling. I have been working in the public service for 16Yrs and a spotless record. Should I get a lawyer to issue a letter to her as a warning, I need her off my case please.

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    1. What are you "warning" her about? If you're denied promotion, then you might have something, until then, you have nothing actionable.

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  32. In 2012, I found out my husband was cheating on me with a girl...I was pregnant at that time. The girl and her family started calling me, harassing me at my workplace, couldn't go to the mall in peace etc. I put up her name, address and phone number of fb....indicating she was a slut and her had breast reduction surgery etc.......after which in Feb 2013, they threatened me twice, once at a party, next on the phone (police report made) and then they assaulted my cousin to send a message for me......NOW I get a summons to go to court? Do they have a case? What should I do?

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    1. It was a written summons with my name , address to appear in court ....nothing on what the matter was....simply the complainant name....is this a case of defamation...? If yes, would a letter of apology help? What could be the possible consequences?

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    2. Truth is the defence defamation. If it's true and you can prove it, go to court and defend yourself.

      Delete
  33. a woman owe me some money and all i am getting is false promises . it has been 3 months or more now. is it wise to post her pic on facebook , warning others of her? and what she did as this may bring her to pay off her debt.i have her signature on the invoice and chat history as proof. thanks

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    1. No, posting a person's picture without their permission is illegal.

      I don't understand why you think posting a picture will help you to get your money... there's a legal system for a reason.

      Delete
  34. I work for a company and the manager moved me to another outlet and told the other manager that i does steal which is not true. So now I work there and everything that goes missing they blame me. Recently i found out that the manager of my outlet has been stealing from the company but the other manager and them cover it up and he still works there because they are good friends. I am really fed up of the way i am treated at work but i dont know what to do because everyone in the company probably look at me as though i am a thief. can you help me because i am afraid that if i leave that i may not get another job because a customer met me on the streets and told me that he heard that i thief that is why they moved me. So it is already out there and i dont know who is looking at me as a thief. What can i do?

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    Replies
    1. Wow! This is sad.

      Contact the union
      https://www.facebook.com/ttworkersassociation

      Delete
  35. Someone is posting untrue remarks about me on FB but they're being smart and just posting with my initials. I have messages from whatsapp where they are saying nasty things about me. Wat action can I take? They are causing my character to come into question because things were also said in front of people. Thanks.

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    1. Based on what you said, this is not actionable.

      Delete
  36. hi good day,i have been verbally abused for 2 years by my neighbours.on Saturday the 13th of june,they started again.
    I was called a hoe,a slut and was told that they have a video tape showing that I am unfaithful to my husband,they also said that I put my four year old in danger because of said affair.
    I was even told that my n word husband is selling drugs to build our house,he works 12 hour days for us to make ends meet.
    do I have a case for defamation of character?
    a report was already made my local police post.

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    Replies
    1. That's harassment, not defamation. Take them to Magistrate's court.

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  37. Hi Can you tell me the mimimum time period I have to report a summary offence!

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  38. HI I sold my car to Bob. Bob sold the vehicle to Marvin. The thing is we did not transfer the vehicle when I sold to Bob. I sold the vehicle December 10th 2014. Can I transfer the vehicle from myself to Marvin? The time period to transfer a motor vehicle is 14 days after you sell it. It has been over 6 months now since I sold it. Can you advice if I transfer from myself to Marvin would be wrong?

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    Replies
    1. I'm not sure. That's a question for the Authority.

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  39. Hi Yes I meant Maximum time period for a summary conviction offence!

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  40. Can I hand out the Offences Against A Person Act to people I suspect are stalking me? Would my action be considered harassment? It is difficult to make a report as I do not know these persons and all that is available to me would be their description and perhaps license plate number if driving.

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    Replies
    1. No, I can't see that as being harassment.

      Delete
  41. Good Day, I recently moved into a new apartment ,my landlord contacted me after 3 weeks of living there and stated that a Police Constable B***N contacted him and informed him that I conduct illegal activities at the apartment. (marijuana & guns) , he also stated that the person took out a picture of my husband and sent it to him via whats app, he even threaten to give me an eviction notice ... I visited the station after speaking to the landlord and was informed that there is no Police Constable B***N working there and there are no reports against me. I believe its another tenant who got someone to contact the landlord and make these false allegations. What legal action can I take for these false allegations, defamation of my character and taking pictures without permission?

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    Replies
    1. There's no defamation.
      Have you seen the pictures?

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    2. No but the landlord confirmed seeing the pictures..

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  42. Good day, my bf recently posted some information about a gentleman who scammed him out of some money. The said gentleman then doctored some fb messages to make it appear that my bf is exacting revenge because he believes the said gentleman and I have been having relations. He contacted the police and he reposted asking for info on the gentleman to bring past precedent to the officer at his request, he then posted the same screen shot with the caption " kindly asking anyone who f%÷$&÷$ his girl (referring to me) please inbox me I'd like to swap nude with u". I have never spoken nor met this man in my life. What are my legal options at this point with regards to defa,action of character?

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  43. Good day, I would like to know what if any where the company I am presently employed with has started to recorded conversations. Is this illegal?

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  44. Is it illegal in Trinidad to record phone calls without consent from both people.

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    Replies
    1. Actually federal law states that it is perfectly legal to record a telephone conversation as long as one party agrees to be recorded. So as long as you are part of the conversation you can record it.

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    2. "Federal" law? This is Trinidad, not America.

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    3. So..... Is it illegal in Trinidad to record a conversation without consent of the other party?

      Delete
  45. A woman has created a photo collage with her and her dead baby and a man claiming that he was the father of the child and has the picture set as her profile picture on wats app social media. The picture is being seen by many persons and clients and the man reputation and family is being threatened by it. She refuses to take it down. He has a very crucial profession which can be damaged by it. Can he sue for defamatory of character.

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    Replies
    1. It seems like there is a prima facie case.

      Delete
  46. I have a neighbor that making report on us that not true they start of by sending a lawyer letter stating that we encroaching on there property then they went by the corporation and make two complain that not true I am so fed up what can I do to stop it

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  47. Hii have a photo restoration done on a photo of my grandfather at a well establish photo business..2 weeks after my grandfather photo was on a ad without my permission what kind of damages can i get for that...

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  48. goodday i was terminated from my job without a hearing and being accused of a conspiracy into a missing sheep that had not be proven to be missing while the investigation is still ongoing and in order for the company to keep the contract with a client they fired me without no clear reason what can i do

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  49. if a manager writes an email about my attitude in a meeting and forwards it to other managers thereby painting me in a negative light do I have a libel case

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  50. Is it illegal to secretly videotape a sexual encounter without the other partners permission?

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  51. Is it illegal to secretly videotape a sexual encounter without the other partners permission? And if it is what action can be taken against the individual that secretly did the videotaping? ????

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    Replies
    1. Different jurisdiction, but this should help.
      http://www.courtroomstrategy.com/2013/12/ny-court-rules-it-is-illegal-to-secretly-tape-consensual-sex/

      Delete
  52. if some send recordings via facebook of me defending myyour against her saying that i am taking man and i am a fagot to her friends including one of my friends and threatened to make a youtube video and post live on facebook and send it to my job and i got that said friend to show me and even hear the audio clip will i have a case

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  53. Hello good day. I would like to know if by me posting comments about a cheating boyfriend I have been with for 4 years on fb and sending his new gf pic to him and his mother to let them know I know who she is.....can she or him bring me up in court? I did not mention her name or pic on fb. I just sent it to him (who was my boyfriend ) and his mother.

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    Replies
    1. As long as you're telling the truth, you can say what you want. Defamation is when you're speculating or lying on a person.

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  54. hi I was working for a company doing transporting of furniture I have a registered business they jus terminated me without explanation I ask why an no one in management could tell me anything after I am hearing from other works an people on the street that I was fired for stealing an in no way or in any form that is tru an my company job is transporting for hire an since then work has gone down hill and that's about four months now wat advice u can give me wat should I do

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  55. Hi..if my supervisor is spreading untrue rumours and speculating that my co worker and i plan to stay at home on the same days, which is totally coincidental and not planned or related and records show that there have been instances where we would have stayed home other days, with the other being at work and which may cause me to be transferred from one branch to the next and cause problems in my marriage..is that a case of defamation?

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  56. hi im a parent of a uwi graduate, and earlier this year- im sure you are aware of the nude photos that were leaked of the 100+ girls- my daughter's photos were also leaked onto that site (triniporn.org). those photos were sent to her (current) boyfriend. My daughter and i share a pretty close relationship and she confided in me when this happened. After sending those compromising photos shortly after her profile was hacked. My problem however, is that her photos are still being circulated on that site and it was uploaded only 8 days ago. Now i know they held some individuals in connection with the leakage of those pictures. Also to find the individuals who are sharing the photos is impossible since they mask themselves behind fake emails and usernames. But id really like some information on what i can do to get them off of that site and also, what are my rights with regards to unauthorized, compromising photos of my daughter being shared. And how do i stop the sharing of her photos?

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    Replies
    1. I'm really sorry for what you all are going through. The entire situation is disgusting. However, the only way to shut down a site is to contact the site owner/administrator. How you're going to find out who that is... I have no idea. Alternatively, you can probably hire a hacker to shut it down.

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    2. but what are my rights or what can i legally do if others are using the incident to defame my child or blackmail her? (her cousins whom i think created that profile and posted her pictures)

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    3. Section 7 of the Criminal Offences Act talks about extortion... that can be used. You'll need proof, not "I think".

      Delete
  57. I have a friend whose business has been named on Facebook stating that the stuff she sells is too expensive. hat same person is indicating that he has the same stuff to sell at a cheaper rate. However, my friend is the sole person authorised to sell this stuff from the authorised dealer (who lives abroad).The person on FB is bringing in the stuff by illegal means BASED on he not having the authority and the product that is being brought in he has no authority to do so. People are now questioning the price of my friend product.The person is using libellious information to defamr my friend business. What can she do ie my friend.

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    Replies
    1. It is not defamation if her prices are actually more expensive... that's the truth. However, in terms of the Antitrust Law (US) / Competition law... I'm uncertain of how it operates in T&T.

      Delete
  58. Is it ellegal to videotape or take pics of a person to be used as a from of evidence

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  59. A police officer is slandering my name with an organization that I had an interview with however because of the false allegations the interview was turn down. The allegations are that I am a criminal. I have no matter before the courts and my cfc reads no record. But this officer continues to bring my name into dispute wat can I do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Make a complaint to the Police Complaints Authority.

      Delete

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