CASE: A young adult has said something ugly and defamatory
about a professional person in a public place. There are
Slander is actionable through the principles of tort law.
The principles of tort are as follows. (1) negligence (2) the fiction of
the “reasonable man” (3) damages.
The question is asked as follows: “What would a reasonable man
do under similar circumstances?”
If a reasonable man did the action to you (the relevant action – ie: said
that you called him ‘filthy beast’ when you did not, and he said it in public
in a professional (your profession) situation in front of witnesses,
would said reasonable man foresee that you would suffer damages?
If a reasonable man, as judged by the court, would forsee
that you would suffer damages if he spoke thus in public,
then the defendant would be
liable… he would be ordered to pay you damages in money,
to the extent that the damages are assessed by the court.
Now in this situation, in my opinion, a Court would rule
that a reasonable man would forsee that you would suffer
damages. So the question would be quantitative. How much
are the damages the plaintiff (you) suffered – how much are they
Pretty simple principle, but there are lots or areas
Now the question of the young adult’s age comes in to it.
Generally speaking parents are liable for the damages
created by their child. But this will have to be
Slander when it is defamation becomes a criminal
offence. Malicious slander is also criminal.
Civil suit will follow if the defendant is found guilty of
a criminal action. The burden of proof in a civil
action is – “on the balance of probabilities”.
In criminal law, the burden of proof is “beyond a reasonable
doubt,” which is a higher standard and more difficult to prove.
I’ve always liked tort law. You can be creative. One of the first
things you have to do in tort, is find out whether the parents
have enough cash to make the action worthwhile, or to find
out what insurance the parents have – then the insurance
company is added as a defendant.
TORT LAW can be fun and you can be creative in pursuing an action.
Of course, this brief talk reveals just the tip of the iceberg.