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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

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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"

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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.

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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

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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.

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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"

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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:

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Sometimes the libellous sting is contained in the words themselves

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

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

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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

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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.

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

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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

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

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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

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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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