Wright v Caan: QBD 27 Jul 2011

The claimant sought damages in defamation and malicious falsehood and in respect of a conversation with a journalist and the defendant’s website. The defendant had made offers of support to her business venture in a television program. After she withdrew, the defendant made the comments of which the claimant now complained to a journalist reporting her story, and on his website.
Held: The fact that the defendant’s version of events differed from her own to the extent that both could not be true, the assertion by the defendant did not amount to an accusation against her of having lied, and could not carry the meaning pleaded whether naturally or by innuendo: ‘when a journalist is given one account of events by witness A, and then receives another account from witness B, she could conclude that A is lying. I suppose that she could reach that conclusion, and indeed it is Mr Munden’s case that she did, but there are many other conclusions which she could reach – for example, that both witnesses had given what they believed was an honest account, although one or other of them must have been mistaken to a degree, or even that it was the defendant who was lying.’
An essential element of a claim for malicious falsehood is that the claimant asserts damage suffered. That was not pleaded here.
Applications for leave to amend should not be allowed where even with the amendment there was no prospect of success.
As to the website claims, the defamation elements were incorrectly pleaded, amendments were refused and the claim struck out.
The claimant also alleged defamation on the defendant’s web-site.

Richard Parkes QC J
[2011] EWHC 1978 (QB)
Defamation Act 1952 3(1)
England and Wales
CitedSpring v Guardian Assurance Plc and Others CA 1993
The test for malice is the same whether it arises in the context of libel or of injurious falsehood. Glidewell LJ said that ‘Maliciously’ in this context means either knowing that the words were false or being reckless as to whether they were false . .
CitedWilts United Dairies Ltd v Thomas Robinson Sons and Co QBD 1957
Stable J, noted that the case concerned a sweetened condensed milk very similar to the product that his Honour remembered consuming in large quantities at preparatory school, and said: ‘As I understand the law it is this, that if you publish a . .
CitedGillick v Brook Advisory Centres QBD 2002
The claimant asserted that the defendant had defamed her in a leaflet. The defendant asked the court to determine that the pamphlet did not carry a defamatory meaning.
Held: Eady J formulated the principles applicable when determining meaning: . .
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 . .
CitedDow Jones and Co Inc v Jameel CA 3-Feb-2005
Presumption of Damage in Defamation is rebuttable
The defendant complained that the presumption in English law that the victim of a libel had suffered damage was incompatible with his right to a fair trial. They said the statements complained of were repetitions of statements made by US . .
CitedCobbold v London Borough of Greenwich CA 9-Aug-1999
The tenant had sought an order against the council landlord for failure to repair her dwelling. The defendant appealed refusal of leave to amend the pleadings in anticipation of the trial, now due to start on the following day.
Held: Leave was . .
CitedSimons Proprietary Ltd v Riddle 1941
(New Zealand) Blair J said: ‘On the authorities – see Cassidy v. Daily Mirror Newspapers 1929] 2KB 331 and Tolley v. JS Fry and Sons Ltd. [1930] 1 KB 467 – innocent matter may be given a defamatory meaning by readers with knowledge of facts not . .
CitedFulham (orse Fullam) v Newcastle Chronicle and Journal Ltd and Another CA 1977
A local newspaper circulating in Teesside, where the claimant had been appointed deputy headmaster of a school, published an article in 1973 saying of the claimant that he was a former Roman Catholic priest who had left his parish in the Salford . .
CitedGrappelli v Derek Block (Holdings) Ltd CA 20-Jan-1981
Stephane Grappelli, an renowned musician, employed the defendants to promote him. They purported to arrange various concerts, but did so without his authority. When they were cancelled, they told the venue owners that they were cancelled because the . .
CitedBaturina v Times Newspapers Ltd QBD 31-Mar-2010
The claimant sought damages in defamation in respect of an article published by the defendant newspaper. She was the wife of the Mayor of Moscow, and was required to disclose on a public list assets held by her. The defendant said that she owned a . .
CitedBaturina v Times Newspapers Ltd CA 23-Mar-2011
The claimant appealed against directions given in her defamation action against the defendant. It had been said that she owned a house, and the defendant said that this was not defamatory. The claimant said that as the wife of the Mayor of Moscow . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Torts – Other

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.442246