Kinch v Associated Newspapers Ltd

Reference: [2002] 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: James Price QC - Leading Counsel (Claimant)  Jacob Dean (Claimant) 

Instructing Solicitors: Actons (Leicester) for the Claimant; Stock Fraser Cukier for the Defendant

Facts

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.

Issue

Whether reliance on the press cuttings was permissible.

Held

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.

Comment

An allegation that a Claimant has a bad reputation is not necessarily defamatory so cannot be justifiied merely by pleadinga Claimant’s bad press.