Dear Sirs,


I am aware of Laurence Godfrey vs. Demon Internet Ltd [1999] as I am aware of how it has subsequently been used by those able to bully and intimidate in order to restrict people's freedom of speech. What we have here is an alleged defamatory posting. It is not for your clients or yourselves or me for that matter to decide if it is defamatory under the law or not, but for a court to decide that. Of course it is cheaper and easier for your clients to bypass the need for any due process of law and use intimidation and threats against people that have no direct involvement but do have an ability to silence people from sites they run than to actually pursue the person who made the original post. I therefore find myself unable to comply with your threatening "requests" at this time. Secure a successful prosecution against XXXXXXX himself for defamation as the person who actually MADE the post and I will be more than willing to comply. Provide evidence that you are in the process of such an action against XXXXXX and I will remove the post until the COURT decides if the posting is defamatory or not. If such lack of kowtowing to your demand on my part leads to action taken against me then so be it but I think we all know what is going on here.


I am aware that under the precedent set by Godfrey vs. Demon Internet Ltd [1999] I may have some potential liability just as I am also aware than any potential damages would relate to the degree of alleged damage done to your clients reputation. So far the thread concerned has received 273 'views' of it. This number of course includes your clients themselves, yourselves, myself and may well also included multiple views from single individuals. So maybe a couple of hundred people have seen this post. Of course if you were to pursue legal action against me, merely as the person who runs the non profit bi-communal site in question and not the person who made the post, it would undoubtedly become a newsworthy event as Godfrey vs. Demon Internet Ltd did with millions of people globally becoming aware of the 'spat' between your clients and XXXXXXX.


The precedent set by the Laurence Godfrey vs. Demon Internet Ltd was in my personal view a bad decision and maybe it is time for a new case and a new precedent. It also has several key differences to this case. Firstly in the Godfrey vs. Demon Internet Ltd case Mr. Godfrey had no way of identifying the poster and thus pursuing action against him directly. In this case and despite your use of inverted commas round XXXXXXX's name and the implication this is not a real name, your clients KNOW exactly who XXXXXXX is and how to contact him. In fact if the various websites and posting I have seen since receiving your letter are to be believed your clients have already tried to use threats of court action against him to silence him, rather than court action itself. This makes things very different than in the Laurence Godfrey vs. Demon Internet Ltd case at least to my layman's eyes. Also it is not even clear to my layman's eyes that what has been posted is defamatory. It seems like opinion to me and is separate from the factual sections of the post.


"In many legal systems, adverse public statements about legal citizens presented as fact must be proven false to be defamatory or slanderous/libel. Proving adverse, public character statements to be true is often the best defense against a prosecution for libel and/or defamation. Statements of opinion that cannot be proven true or false will likely need to apply some other kind of defense. The use of the defense of justification has dangers, however; if the defendant libels the plaintiff and then runs the defense of truth and fails, he may be said to have aggravated the harm.

Another important aspect of defamation is the difference between fact and opinion. Statements made as "facts" are frequently actionable defamation. Statements of opinion or pure opinion are not actionable. In order to win damages in a libel case, the plaintiff must first show that the statements were "statements of fact or mixed statements of opinion and fact" and second that these statements were false. Conversely, a typical defense to defamation is that the statements are opinion. One of the major tests to distinguish whether a statement is fact or opinion is whether the statement can be proved true or false in a court of law. If the statement can be proved true or false, then, on that basis, the case will be heard by a jury to determine whether it is true or false. If the statement cannot be proved true or false, the court may dismiss the libel case without it ever going to a jury to find facts in the case."


Exactly how you would show in court that the statement "I believe that without unscrupulous lawyers in Cyprus, property developers would not be able to prey on unsuspecting buyers." is not both clearly opinion and also true, is not clear to me, but then you are the lawyers.


Yet another difference between the Laurence Godfrey vs. Demon Internet Ltd case and this is that the potential accused here (me) is not a commercial company that makes profits from it's "publishing" activities but is in fact a private individual running a totally non profit site for the benefit of Cypriots and those interested in Cyprus. This may or may not matter in law but it would matter in terms of any potential media coverage a prosecution by your clients of me as the "publisher" of the alleged defamatory post would inevitably lead to.


I look forward to not receiving intimidating "requests" made by yourselves or your client in the future.


I strongly urge you to consider resisting the temptation of taking easy money from your clients for sending out such pointless emails based on apparently empty threats and instead advise them in their best interests to either settle this spat between themselves and XXXXXXX or prosecute HIM for defamation rather than start a pointless and self defeating campaign of actions against people like myself.


In the mean time all of my rights are reserved in regards to your clients and yourselves, whatever that actually means.


Yours faithfully


Erol Ziya




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