1. Derek Smith
    Offline

    Derek Smith New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2014
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Burgess Hill, UK

    Fear of libel

    Discussion in 'Self-Publishing' started by Derek Smith, Feb 14, 2014.

    I've written a couple of books which are on Kindle, one on my first 10 years as a police officer in the City of London police from 1975. It deals with the corruption that was endemic at the time. It's doing very well (4.5 stars), at least much better than I thought, and I've written a follow-up after lots of requests. This one relates to my 25 years starting 1980 - a bit of an overlap - so a lot of what I've covered is only 15 or so years old.

    This is about poor management in the service, plus general police work, the latter being what many people liked about the first one.

    I've covered up the identities of those whom I believed were inept or, in a couple of cases, vindictive (despite the temptation of payback) but I am worried about being sued for damage to reputations - defamation. Is there any guidance on here or on-line?

    Are senior police officers public officials?

    Are there any recommendations for lawyers for UK law?

    Thanks for reading this far,

    Derek, AKA Harvey Yates
     
  2. jazzabel
    Offline

    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    4,273
    Likes Received:
    1,666
    Hi Derek, it sounds like a fascinating read. I'm not and expert, and in this case I definitely advise that you seek help of a UK literary attorney, you can google them and pick one based on the size of the firm, their experience etc. As long as they are registered with the Bar, you can get the extensive info on them from their website, much like info on doctors from the GMC.

    But from what I know, you can't be sued for libel if what you are saying is true. I know that in the SAS they all sign non-disclosure agreements now, since those few memoirs came out, and they can go to prison for writing about the Regiment. If you signed no such document, and if you were given no specific instructions regarding writing about it, and as long as you preserve confidentiality by not naming names, I think you should be ok. But check it with an attorney for definite answer. There is no online resource, a lawyer needs to examine each case individually, and for that they'd need to read your manuscript, I think. Best of luck!
     
  3. shadowwalker
    Offline

    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2011
    Messages:
    3,299
    Likes Received:
    851
    IANAL - but in the US, you can be sued for anything. The truth is the best defense, but that doesn't stop the suit from being filed. You should contact an attorney/solicitor who specializes in libel - s/he is the only one who can give you a solid, legal answer based on your book and your country's laws.
     
  4. Derek Smith
    Offline

    Derek Smith New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2014
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Burgess Hill, UK
    Thanks for the replies, guys. It's a lawyer then for me.

    I signed the Official Secrets Act - or rather merely acknowledged that I knew its contents - a couple of times during my career so have had to leave one or two bits out. Further, I've dealt with some people whose identity is impossible to hide

    I've only used names for those people I admired. There are a few nasty ones who have died in the meantime but I'm not mean enough to name those. I've got nothing against their relatives so would not want to hurt them.

    I'm obliged for your help.

    Derek
     
  5. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    i can only echo the sage advice given above... hie thee to a barrister [or is it a solicitor you need at this stage?] who specializes in literary/libel law...
     

Share This Page