While there is no statutory definition, defamation can usually be considered to be an untrue spoken or written expression, referring to a person, which when published, is deemed harmful or likely to harm the reputation of an individual.
Forms of defamation
There are two forms that a defamatory statement can be made;
Due to the nature of slander there is a requirement of proof of the actual words spoken and it is not enough to show the believed substance of the words. Unlike libel, slander requires the need to show loss, either monetary or equivalent. There are 2 exceptions to this rule, which are imputation of a crime and imputation of incompetence in a trade, office, profession or calling.
It also needs to be shown that the claimant is identified in either of these forms, either directly or by reference.
Meaning of the words used
The principal issue in defamation cases is the precise meaning of the words used.
Generally words that amount to just vulgar insults are not usually found to be defamatory whereas words used to hold the subject up to mockery and ridicule can be found to have a defamatory meaning.
Some statements are defamatory on their natural or ordinary meaning e.g. accusations of illegality or immorality. Others can have an innuendo meaning where the reader had knowledge of special facts causing them to read the statement in defamatory meaning. The test of meaning is an objective test in what an ordinary reader would understand the words to mean.
The meanings have to be related to the effect that the communication has upon its subject by way of the effect it has upon society or the community generally; therefore it will need to be shown that:
For commercial bodies, reputational damage is not serious unless it has caused or is likely to cause serious financial loss.
There are two main complete defences to defamation allegations.
The Defamation Act 2013 is the primary piece of legislation governing this area, supplemented by earlier legislation and decisions made by the Courts.
As well as a defamation claim, there may be other causes of action such as a claim for malicious falsehood.
A delusion is a false belief held by a person. It contradicts reality or what is commonly considered true. The strength of a delusion is based on how much the person believes it.
Specifically, a delusion of grandeur is a person’s belief that they are someone other than who they are, such as a supernatural figure or a celebrity. A delusion of grandeur may also be a belief that they have special abilities, possessions, or powers.
Delusions are generally the result of a mental health disorder. However, not all people with delusions meet the full diagnostic criteria for any mental health disorder.
Many types of mental health disorders classified as psychotic disorders can lead to delusions. These include: schizophrenia/bipolar disorder/dementia/delirium or major depressive disorder with psychotic features
Psychotic disorders can change a person’s sense of reality. They may be unable to tell what is real and what is not....
Misfeasance in Public Office or as its more commonly known Misconduct in Public Office.
The fact that administrative or executive action is invalid according to public law principles is an insufficient basis for claiming common law damages. The remedies in public law for invalid government action are orders that quash the underlying decision, or prohibit its further enforcement, or declare it to be null and void. Unlawful failure or refusal to perform a public duty is addressed by a mandatory order to perform the duty according to law. In other words, harm caused by invalid government action or inaction is not compensable at common law just because it was invalid. The tort of misfeasance in public office represents a “safety net” adjustment to that position, by allowing damages where the public defendant’s unlawfulness is grossly culpable at a moral level....
Misconduct in public office is an offence at common law triable only on indictment. It carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. It is an offence confined to those who are public office holders and is committed when the office holder acts (or fails to act) in a way that constitutes a breach of the duties of that office.
The Court of Appeal has made it clear that the offence should be strictly confined. It can raise complex and sometimes sensitive issues. Area Prosecutors should therefore consider seeking the advice of the Director’s Legal Advisor to resolve any uncertainty as to whether it would be appropriate to bring a prosecution for such an offence.
Where there is clear evidence of one or more statutory offences, they should usually form the basis of the case, with the 'public office' element being put forward as an aggravating factor for sentencing purposes....
Nonmaleficence is an important obligation in morality and medical ethics (doing no harm). ... To reach that goal it may be essential to accept the lesser harm, in order to ward off a greater harm, or lose a certain benefit to procure a greater one.” Doing harm and reciprocating harm is not allowed
(Ok Flakey you are going to have to explain this one to me)
Perjury is the intentional act of swearing a false oath or falsifying an affirmation to tell the truth, whether spoken or in writing, concerning matters material to an official proceeding. In some jurisdictions, contrary to popular misconception, no crime has occurred when a false statement is (intentionally or unintentionally) made while under oath or subject to penalty. Instead, criminal culpability attaches only at the instant the declarant falsely asserts the truth of statements (made or to be made) that are material to the outcome of the proceeding. For example, it is not perjury to lie about one's age except if age is a fact material to influencing the legal result, such as eligibility for old age retirement benefits or whether a person was of an age to have legal capacity.
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