Dee v Telegraph Media Group Ltd: QBD 28 Apr 2010

The newspaper sought summary judgment in its defence of the defamation claim. The article labelled the claimant as the world’s worst professional tennis player. The paper said he had no prospect of succeeding once the second article in the same newspaper was taken into account.
Held: The request for summary judgment succeeded.
Charleston did not assist the defendant since that referred only to articles on the same page. The key question is whether the various items under consideration ‘were sufficiently closely connected as to be regarded as a single publication’ – and this is so whether or not the items in the same publication are continuation pages or different items of published material relating to the same subject matter. In this case the small front page item was designed only to attract attention to the full story inside. The articles were to be read together.
The defendant argued that the words were not defamatory in that they only ridiculed the claimant. They clearly contained meanings capable of being defamatory, but those were not the one complained of which was as to the claimant’s sporting skills. In truth the real complaint was of ridicule. It remained arguable that the words in issue were defamatory of the Claimant on the grounds they are capable of suggesting ‘want of skill’, incompetence and/or on the ground that he is ridiculed by the suggestion he is absurdly bad at tennis.

Sharp DBE J
[2010] EWHC 924 (QB), [2010] EMLR 20
England and Wales
CitedChalmers v Payne 1835
Bane and Antidote Doctrine – Take them as One
The court considered the bane and antidote doctrine in defamation. B Alderson said: ‘But the question here is, whether the matter be slanderous or not, which is a question of the Jury; who are to take the whole together and say whether the result of . .
CitedCharleston and Another v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Another HL 31-Mar-1995
The plaintiffs were actors playing Harold and Madge Bishop in the Australian soap series ‘Neighbours’. They sued on a tabloid newspaper article which showed their faces superimposed on the near-naked bodies of models apparently engaged in sexual . .
CitedThornton v Stephen 13-Jun-1837
. .
CitedHedley v Barlow and Another QBD 1865
Public Interest Discussion Can Excuse Defamation
The right of free discussion on a subject of public interest excuses the pubication of defamatory matter, provided it appears to have been published not in that unfair or improper spirit – that is in the spirit of intemperate and inconsiderate . .
CitedBolton v O’Brien 11-Jan-1885
On a motion for a new trial in a claim in defamation, a majority of the court held that passages in the same newspaper which were not complained of might be adduced in evidence to illustrate the meaning of the passages complained of. At the trial, . .
CitedMccann v Scottish Media Newspapers Ltd SCS 18-Feb-1999
Three articles which appeared in one edition of a newspaper had to be read together and treated as ‘constituting a whole’ for the purposes of determining meaning, where the first ended with a cross-reference to the second, and the second ended with . .
CitedParmiter v Coupland And Another 1840
In an action for libel, the Judge is not bound to state to the jury, as matter of law, whether the publication complained of be a libel or not ; but the proper course is for him to define what is a libel in point of law, and to leave it to the jury . .
CitedSim v Stretch HL 1936
Test For Defamatory Meaning
The plaintiff complained that the defendant had written in a telegram to accuse him of enticing away a servant. The House considered the process of deciding whether words were defamatory.
Held: The telegram was incapable of bearing a . .
CitedDrummond-Jackson v British Medical Association CA 1970
The court considered whether an article published in the British Medical Journal was capable of bearing a meaning defamatory of the plaintiff dentist. The article made an attack upon the plaintiff’s technique for anaesthesia.
Held: Words may . .
CitedHackenschmidt v Odhams Press 23-Oct-1950
. .
CitedEdsall v Russell 18-Nov-1842
An apothecary claimed in slander. First was ‘He killed my child; it was the saline injection that did it.’ The innuendo was that the plaintiff had been guilty of feloniously killing the child by improperly and with gross ignorance and with gross and . .
CitedBotterill v Whytehead 1879
Kelly CB said: ‘[t]o impute to an architect employed in the restoration of an ancient church that he has no experience in the work in which he has been employed is itself a libel upon the architect in the way of his profession or calling . . and . .
CitedRadio 2UE Sydney Pty Ltd v Chesterton 17-Apr-2008
Austlii (Supreme Court of New South Wales – Court of Appeal) DEFAMATION – nature of- actual disparagement of the plaintiff’s reputation – reputation includes general character and standing and trade, business or . .
CitedDauncey v Holloway CA 1901
The court was asked whether a slander conveyed an imputation on the plaintiff in his business as a solicitor and was therefore actionable in the absence of proof of special damage.
Held: AL Smith MR said: ‘The words do not, in my opinion, . .
CitedBerkoff v Burchill and and Times Newspapers Limited CA 31-Jul-1996
The plaintiff actor said that an article by the defendant labelling him ugly was defamatory. The defendant denied that the words were defamatory.
Held: It is for the jury to decide in what context the words complained of were used and whether . .
CitedHoeppner v Dunkirk Printing 1929
It was held to be defamatory to impute incompetence to a football coach: ‘While the articles complained of fail to charge the plaintiff with the commission of any crime, or to attack his moral character, the fair inference to be drawn from the . .

Cited by:
CitedHays Plc v Hartley QBD 17-May-2010
Mr Hartley operated a news agency, and provided to the publisher of the Sunday Mirror, MGN Ltd, allegations of racism that had been levelled at the claimant company by former employees. The allegations were reported in an article headed ”KKK . .
CitedThornton v Telegraph Media Group Ltd QBD 16-Jun-2010
The claimant said that a review of her book was defamatory and a malicious falsehood. The defendant now sought summary judgment or a ruling as to the meaning of the words complained of.
Held: The application for summary judgment succeeded. The . .
See AlsoDee v Telegraph Media Group Ltd QBD 28-Jul-2010
The defendant having successfully had the claimant’s defamation action struck out summarily, sought costs on an indemnity basis, saying that his conduct of the matter had substantially and unnecessarily increased the costs. . .
CitedMonroe v Hopkins QBD 10-Mar-2017
The claimant, a transgender chef and food blogger claimed in defamation against the defendant journalist in respect of two tweets. The court now set out to decide the meanings, whether they were defamatory by nature, and whether the serious harm . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.408681