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Judges and magistrates are not responsible Part I.
CAP. III. for defamatory expressions uttered by them, Sec. II. if material and relevant to a cause or matter
Liberty of in issue before them, which is within their judges and jurisdiction. (Add. Torts, 607.)
In actions for defamation, words are now Interpreta. construed according to their popular mean
pressions. ing; and that meaning, and not the meaning of the person uttering them, is the test of their being actionable. (Add. Torts, 607; Selw. N. P. 1256.)
If a man falsely and maliciously slanders Slander of the title to lands or chattels about to be sold, and people are thereby deterred from buying, or are led to give a less price, the owner will be entitled to compensation in damages. (Add. Torts, 608 ; Broom Com. 733-4 ;
; 3 Ste. Com. 467; Selw. N. P. 1258, 1269; Roscoe on Evid. 578.)
The jury may give damages not only in Damages. respect of any loss arising from the libel, but also for the mental suffering caused to the person libelled.
And any damages may be given which are not manifestly outrageous. (Add. Torts, 627; Mayne, 273.)
One libel cannot be set up against another, as a defence; nor can it be set off in reduction of damages, unless the libel by the
Part I. plaintiff may be regarded as the provoking
Torts, 628; Roscoe on Evid. 577; Mayne,
If the defendant offered an apology, it may be given in evidence in mitigation of damages. (Add. Torts, 628-9 ; Broom Com. 721; Roscoe on Evid. 577.)
The Judge usually gives a definition of libel, and then leaves it to the jury to say whether the facts necessary to constitute the offence so defined are proved. And the Judge may, if he thinks fit, give his own opinion, as a matter of advice to the jury. (Add. Torts, 629; Broom Com. 730-1 ; Roscoe on Evid. 562.)
Usual course in actions for libel.
OF EXEMPTION FROM PERSONAL ANNOYANCE
BESIDES corporal security, corporal liberty, Part I.
CAP. IV. and security to character and reputation, everyone has an inherent right to an exemption from vexatious annoyance generally. Under this head it may suffice to mention one form of vexatious annoyance, namely, that of the malicious suing out of legal process.
A person is liable to an action, if he puts the criminal law in motion, or causes a search warrant to issue, maliciously and without reasonable or probable ground for such a proceeding. Malice is ordinarily implied from the absence of any such ground; and even if there was reasonable or probable ground, yet, if the defendant did not know it, or did not believe that the plaintiff was guilty, malice may be inferred, in the technical sense of the word, in which it is to be understood in such a case. (Add. Torts,
PART I. 435-41; Broom Com. 715-7; Selw. N. P. CAP. IV.
1071-3, 1079-80; Roscoe on Evid. 580-1.)
A person who petitions for an adjudication in bankruptcy, maliciously and without reasonable or probable cause, and knowingly and wilfully or recklessly swears to depositions false in fact, is liable to an action for a malicious prosecution, if the proceedings were superseded or set aside before the commencement of the action. (Add. Torts, 443; Broom Com. 715; Selw. N. P. 1077.)
In order to recover damages for a malicious prosecution, the plaintiff must show that the proceeding was determined in his favour, though he may not have been actually acquitted, and that he suffered in person, in reputation, or in point of expense. (Add. Torts, 455; Selw. N. P. 1073; Br Com. 717; Mayne, 259.)