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Requirements For Defamation Notes

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Requirements for Defamation Is the statement defamatory?
o May be either express of veiled (innuendo)
? Express statement = "C works for the Mafia"
? Innuendo

True (legal) o One where attack is hidden without knowledge of special terms used
? Which C must show the receivers of the statement would be able to interpret correctly.
? E.g. A publishes that "C works for the Family Business"

When C's father has been found guilty of organised crime o On its own, would not be an attack o With the special knowledge = legal innuendo and potential defamation.

Cassidy v Daily Mirror Newspaper Ltd [1929]: o X announced his engagement to Z, which was published in a newspaper (D). Unbeknown to D, A was actually married to X, and as such her acquaintances' estimations of her lowered. o Scrutton LJ:
? If D publishes words reasonably capable of being read as relating directly / indirectly to A

And to those who know extraneous facts about A the words are capable of a defamatory meaning, o D must take the consequences of the defamatory inferences.

False (popular) o Where a reasonable person would infer the defamatory statement from what is published
? E.g. A publishes that "C works for the Family business"

Which C then proves is a well known slang term for the mafia o Thus, ordinary person would draw inference that C works for mafia without any special knowledge beyond that of well-known slang. o Lewis v Daily Telegraph [1964]: o D published two reports which alleged the police were inquiring into C's business. C alleged that people would draw the conclusion that C was being investigated for fraud.
? Lord Reid:

Sometimes the libellous sting is contained in the words themselves


o On other occasions the sting is not so much in the words themselves
? But in what the ordinary person will infer from them.

General principle =
o Would ordinary reasonable man understand words of to expose C to hatred/contempt/ridicule?
Lord Hodson:

There is one cause of action for the ordinary meaning of words o And another for "true" innuendo that depends on extraneous facts to give defamatory meanings to words
? But not another cause of action for "false innuendo".

o But must harm C's reputation
? Definition of harm to reputation

Scrutton LJ in Tournier v National Provincial Bank: o Where words in mind of a reasonable man calculated to expose C to hatred, ridicule or contempt.

Youssoupoff v. MGM Pictures Ltd: o Scrutton LJ
? C has right to have his reputation unaffected by false discrediting allegations

If false allegations made without lawful excuse causing damage o he has a right of action o Slesser LJ:
? Defamatory not only for hate and ridicule

But also if C thereby becomes shunned and avoided without any moral discredit on C.

Lord Atkin in Sim v Stretch: o Words that tend to lower the plaintiff in the estimation of right-thinking members of society generally o Giliker: Thus, fact your reputation is lowered in the eyes of your mates who might not be held to this same standard is irrelevant
? E.g. being falsely accused of reporting illegal betting machines to police, who then remove them

Might lower your reputation in the eyes of those in the golf club who like to use them o But not reasonable people who would consider this accusation to be a compliment.

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