Geenty v Channel Four Television Corporation and Jessel: CA 13 Jan 1998

The claimant police officer appealed against dismissal of his claim in defamation.
Held: The words were capable of implicating the plaintiff in the neglect, they were also capable of implicating him in the accusation of maltreatment. The claim should not be struck out. Where the judge at first instance has held that words are not capable of bearing a defamatory meaning, with the result that the issue will never go to a jury, the reluctance of the Court of Appeal to intervene will be less marked.


Lord Justice Hirst, Lord Justice Millett, Lord Justice Brooke


Times 11-Feb-1998, [1998] EWCA Civ 10, [1998] EMLR 524




Rules of the Supreme Court Order 82 3A


England and Wales


CitedMorgan v Odhams Press Ltd HL 1971
The plaintiff claimed in defamation. The defence was that the words did not refer to the plaintiff and could not be understood to refer to him.
Held: The question as to what meaning words are capable of bearing has been described as a question . .
CitedGillick v British Broadcasting Corporation and Another CA 19-Oct-1995
Words which were broadcast were capable of meaning that the Plaintiff’s behaviour had contributed to deaths. She was a campaigner against the giving of contraceptive advice to young girls.
Held: The statement was defamatory. The full test was: . .
CitedSlim v Daily Telegraph Ltd CA 1968
Courts to Settle upon a single meaning if disputed
The ‘single meaning’ rule adopted in the law of defamation is in one sense highly artificial, given the range of meanings the impugned words sometimes bear. The law of defamation ‘has passed beyond redemption by the courts’. Where in a libel action . .
CitedHinduja and Another v Asia TV Limited CA 25-Nov-1997
The procedure for determining whether words were defamatory was intended to be summary; appeals are to be discouraged. The new rule was intended to lay down a swift and inexpensive procedure in chambers to eliminate meanings which the words are . .

Cited by:

CitedLoveless v Earl; Capital and Counties (Financial Services) Limited CA 4-Nov-1998
When a defendant claimed qualified privilege and the Plaintiff alleged that the words complained of were issued with malice, the defendant will not prevented from reliance on qualified privilege if it can show that the words have an honestly . .
CitedGillick v Brook Advisory Centres and Another CA 23-Jul-2001
The claimant appealed after closing her action for an alleged defamation by the respondents in a leaflet published by them. She challenged an interim decision by the judge as to the meaning of the words complained of.
Held: The leaflet made . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 29 May 2022; Ref: scu.143488