||All England Reporter
|| All ER (D) 390 (Nov)
|| EWCA Civ 1694
||Court of Appeal, Civil Division
Simon Brown, Mummery and Mance LJJ
||James Price QC and Justin Rushbrooke (instructed by Peter Carter-Ruck) for the claimants.
||Geoffrey Robertson QC and Catrin Evans (instructed by Finers Stephens Innocent) for the defendant.
||26 November 2003
Libel - Meaning of defamatory words - Delimitation of meaning - Admissibility of statements said by claimants to demonstrate falsity.
The judge's function in delimiting the possible level of defamatory meaning of the published words which might be relevant with regard to evaluating the defence of qualified privilege was no more and no less than to pre-empt perversity on the part of the jury. In the instant case, the imputations made by the article were not so plain as to justify the judge withdrawing from the jury the possibility of finding at least that the author could reasonably have been intending to convey some lesser defamatory meaning than reasonable grounds for suspicion.
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