Reference:  EWHC 1020 (QB)
Court: Queen's Bench Division
Judge: Eady J
Date of judgment: 29 Apr 2002
Summary: Defamation - Libel - meaning - justification - allegation of infamy - bad reputation
Appearances: Jacob Dean (Claimant)
Instructing Solicitors: Actons (Leicester) for the Claimant; Stock Fraser Cukier for the Defendant
The Claimant complained of the allegation, amongst others, that he was infamous which was published in the Defendant’s newspaper. The Defendant sought to justify that allegation by reference to a series of press cuttings to show that, justly or unjustly, the Claimant had acquired a bad reputation.
Whether reliance on the press cuttings was permissible.
If the allegation of infamy is, in context, defamatory, then reliance on press cuttings is impermissible because the mere fact of bad publicity will not make reasonable persons think worse of another. The facts which show, or give reasonable grounds for believing, the person has behaved discreditably, must be pleaded.
An allegation that a Claimant has a bad reputation is not necessarily defamatory so cannot be justifiied merely by pleadinga Claimant’s bad press.