Flashcards in Defamation - Defamatory Imputation Deck (31)
Which section of the 2013 Defamation Act determines whether a statement is defamatory?
Defamation Act 2013 s1(1) and;
Defamation Act 2013 s1(2)
What does DA s1(1) and (2) provide, regarding the identification of a defamatory imputation?
1(1) A statement is not defamatory unless its publication has caused or is likely to cause serious harm to the reputation of the claimant.
1(2) For the purposes of this section, harm to the reputation of a body that trades for profit is not “serious harm” unless it has caused or is likely to cause the body serious financial loss.
What does a claimant have to prove to establish that a statement was defamatory?
The claimant must establish that there was a likelihood that the statement adversely affected his reputation - as shown by Thornton v Telegraph Media Group - there is no need to prove the statement actually did so in fact.
Which cases further developed the laws position on what constitutes a defamatory statement?
1. Sim v Stretch
2. Lewis v Daily Telegraph
What important consideration, in regards to defamatory statements, was introduced in the Sim v Stretch and Lewis v Daily Telegraph Cases?
The impact of a statement upon 'right-thinking people'.
What was said in the case of Sim v Stretch?
Imputations are defamatory if they are such as would 'lower the claimant in the estimation of right-thinking members of society, causing them to be shunned or avoided'.
What was said in the case of Lewis v Daily Telegraph?
This case established 'right-thinking members of society' as those that are 'fair minded, ... not avid for scandal, nor overly suspicious nor unduly naïve, nor bound to select one defamatory meaning when non defamatory meanings are possible'.
Is it always necessary to prove evidence of serious harm (as required by s1(1) of the DA 2013)?
No, it can sometimes be inferred - as illustrated in the case of Lachaux v Independent Print Ltd.
What are the details and findings of the Lachaux Case?
Domestic abuse allegations were made against the claimant who claimed that this was part of a defamatory campaign by his ex wife. Defamation could be established as the claims were so serious that it would be appropriate to draw an inference of serious repetitional harm.
Which case distinguishes cases in which a persons reputation is lowered in the eyes of a particular group or class of people from those in which it is lowered generally?
Tolly v JS Fry & Sons Ltd
What was said in the case of Tolly v JS Fry & Sons Ltd?
It was said that - ‘Words are not defamatory, however much they may damage a man in the eyes of a section of the community unless they also amount to disparagement of his reputation in the eyes of right thinking men generally'.
Which case illustrates the importance of the requirement that a statement lowers a person's reputation in the mind of right-thinking persons?
Byrne v Deane
What are the details and findings of the Byrne v Deane Case?
A notice was placed in a golf club implying that the claimant informed police about illegal gambling machines. There was no defamation because right thinking people would not think less of a person who reports crime.
What needs to be considered when determining whether a person's reputation would be lowered among right-thinking persons?
This requires looking at the words in a particular context.
Which case illustrates the importance of considering the words used in a particular context?
Church v MGN Ltd
What are the details and findings of the case of Church v MGN?
A fabricated article on singer Charlotte Church stated that she had drunkenly proposed to her boyfriend. Reporting a proposal under the influence of alcohol (as opposed to whilst sober) was capable of being defamatory.
What is the laws stance on defamation by abusive statements?
Abusive statements can be defamatory if it would lower the person’s reputation in right minded people.
Which case illustrates that abusive statements may be defamatory?
Berkoff v Burchill
What are the details and findings of the Berkoff v Burchill Case?
Burchill published work about the claimant being ‘hideously ugly’ and comparing them to Frankenstein. The statements could be defamatory because they could hold the defendant up to contempt, scorn and ridicule.
What is the laws stance on defamation by headlines and statements?
Headlines and photos may not be defamatory if the main text clarifies this by offering detail that, if read, would mean that a person’s reputation would not be lowered by right thinking people.
Which case illustrates that photos and headlines may, but need not, be defamatory?
Charleston v News Group Ltd
What are the details and findings of the case of Charleston v News Group Ltd ?
Faked photographs relating to two Australian soap stars were published with text revealing that the photos were fake. The photos were not defamatory because a right minded person would read the text revealing the photos as fake.
Can defamation be made via innuendo?
Yes - Defamation can relate to implied or vailed attacks on someone’s reputation. Statements can be defamation where there is background knowledge or information that makes people think worse of the defendant.
What are the two types of innuendo which may give rise to defamation?
1. False (popular) innuendo
2. True (legal) innuendo
What are false innuendos?
This involves an inferred or indirect meaning from a statement that could be understood by anyone reading the words - as illustrated by Bestobell Paints Ltd v Bigg.
What are true innuendos?
This involves a statement that is not defamatory on its face, but rendered so because certain readers will know of extrinsic circumstances relating to the claimant - as illustrated by Baturina v Times Newspapers Ltd.
Which case illustrated defamation via a false innuendo?
Monson v Tussauds
What are the details and findings of the Monson v Tussauds Case?
The claimant was cleared of a murder. The defendant created a wax model of the claimant with a gun displayed close to depictions of notorious murder scenes. The models were defamatory because of the implied meaning.
Which case illustrated defamation via a true innuendo?
McAlpine v Bercow