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Barriers to succesfully suing a madman for defamation?

Re: Barriers to succesfully suing a madman for defamation?

Postby Scienke » Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:59 pm

tph wrote:
Scienke wrote:But if you defame someone and they end up losing their job as a result, would the defamed party be better off taking issue with the employer rather than the defamer?


If someone loses their job over a statement which is not true that is wrongful dismissal.


Not necessarily. The employer might simply not want the bad publicity that the untrue claims have brought about. Easily done especially if the employee hasn't been working there for two years or more.

dls wrote:
People reading news reports of a trial will remember the defamatory statement far better than they will remember the result, which may well be complex. And that assumes the claimant wins.

100%
A defamation claim only promotes the defamation.


And I suppose it can pave the way for any other secrets the claimant might want to keep out of the limelight.
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Re: Barriers to succesfully suing a madman for defamation?

Postby Smouldering Stoat » Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:21 pm

tph wrote:
Scienke wrote:But if you defame someone and they end up losing their job as a result, would the defamed party be better off taking issue with the employer rather than the defamer?


If someone loses their job over a statement which is not true that is wrongful dismissal.


Really?
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Re: Barriers to succesfully suing a madman for defamation?

Postby Hairyloon » Wed Apr 26, 2017 11:04 pm

Smouldering Stoat wrote:
tph wrote:
Scienke wrote:But if you defame someone and they end up losing their job as a result, would the defamed party be better off taking issue with the employer rather than the defamer?


If someone loses their job over a statement which is not true that is wrongful dismissal.


Really?

That was my immediate thought, but I was thinking of unfair dismissal. Hard to see how it could be a rightful dismissal.
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Re: Barriers to succesfully suing a madman for defamation?

Postby atticus » Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:59 am

We have very recently been discussing unfair dismissal in another of the OP's threads. I suggest that part of the discussion be continued there.

Loss of employment might well qualify as "serious harm" for the purposes of s1 Defamation Act 2013.
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Re: Barriers to succesfully suing a madman for defamation?

Postby dls » Thu Apr 27, 2017 7:29 am

Indeed it would be a significant loss, but that says nothing, sadly, as to the wisdom of pursuing an action. Defamation is for those with many tens (at least) of thousands of pounds to throw away.
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Re: Barriers to succesfully suing a madman for defamation?

Postby Scienke » Thu Apr 27, 2017 9:36 am

Scienke wrote:
Scienke wrote:
atticus wrote:Plenty. Especially in online defamation cases. Read the Defamation Act 2013. A lot of online defamation cases fail to meet the requirements of that statute and are struck out.


I find S3 of the act - Honest Comment - fascinating. If the madman genuinely believed the defamatory comments that he was making were true I could see the claim possibly being thrown out.


I've just read that the honest comment defence is for statements in the public interest. I believed that honest comment protects restaurant and film critics too so Im unsure if this is the case.


Scrap that. From my interpretation of the act, the honest comment simply has to be a genuinely held statement of opinion. I don't believe there needs to be a public interest aspect to it.

Still not sure whether a madmans defamatory ramblings even if genuinely held would be a defence. But it may be possible.

3 Honest opinion

(1)It is a defence to an action for defamation for the defendant to show that the following conditions are met.

(2)The first condition is that the statement complained of was a statement of opinion.

(3)The second condition is that the statement complained of indicated, whether in general or specific terms, the basis of the opinion.

(4)The third condition is that an honest person could have held the opinion on the basis of—

(a)any fact which existed at the time the statement complained of was published;

(b)anything asserted to be a fact in a privileged statement published before the statement complained of.

(5)The defence is defeated if the claimant shows that the defendant did not hold the opinion.

(6)Subsection (5) does not apply in a case where the statement complained of was published by the defendant but made by another person (“the author”); and in such a case the defence is defeated if the claimant shows that the defendant knew or ought to have known that the author did not hold the opinion.

(7)For the purposes of subsection (4)(b) a statement is a “privileged statement” if the person responsible for its publication would have one or more of the following defences if an action for defamation were brought in respect of it—

(a)a defence under section 4 (publication on matter of public interest);

(b)a defence under section 6 (peer-reviewed statement in scientific or academic journal);

(c)a defence under section 14 of the Defamation Act 1996 (reports of court proceedings protected by absolute privilege);

(d)a defence under section 15 of that Act (other reports protected by qualified privilege).

(8)The common law defence of fair comment is abolished and, accordingly, section 6 of the Defamation Act 1952 (fair comment) is repealed.


http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/201 ... /3/enacted
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