Libel and Slander Act


Published: 0000

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Libel and Slander (CAP. 248 1

CHAPTER 248

T H E LIBEL AND SLANDER ACT

Arrangement of Sections
Section

Short title.
Offer of apology admissible in evidence in mitigation

of damages.
In an action against a newspaper for libel, the defend-

ant may plead that it was inserted without malice
and without neglect, and may pay money into
Court as amends.

Publishing or threatening to publish a libel, or propos-
ing to abstain from publishing anything, with intent
to extort money, punishable by imprisonment and
hard labour.

False defamatory libel punishable by imprisonment and
fine.

Defamatory libel punishable by imprisonment and fine.
Proceedings upon the trial of an indictment or informa-

tion for a .defamatory libel.
Evidence to rebut prima facie case of publication by an

agent.
Costs in prosecutions by private prosecutors.
Slander of women.
False defamatory statements.

LAWS OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

Libel and Slander (CAP. 248 3

LIBEL AND SLANDER

(2nd June, 1876.)

1. This Act may be cited as the Libel and Slander Act. Short title.

2. In any action for defamation it shall be lawful for offer of apolou
admissible in

the defendant (after notice in writing of his intention to do e,;dence in
so, duly given to the plaintiff at the time of filing or deliver- mitigation of

damages. ing the plea in such action) to give in evidence, in mitiga-
tion of damages, that he made, or offered, an apology to
the plaintiff for such defamation before the commencement
of the action, or as soon afterwards as he had an opportunity
of doing so, in case the action shall have been commenced
before there was an opportunity of making or offering such
apology.

3. In any action for a libel contained in any public In an action
against a

newspaper, or other periodical publication, it shall be newspaper for
competent for the defendant to plead that such libel was ~ ~ ; ~ ~ , h ; t may
inserted in such newspaper, or other periodical publication, plead that it was
without actual malice and without gross negligence, and that, ~J~~~~~~~~~~
before the commencement of the action, or at the earliest ,ithout neglect,
opportunity afterwards, he inserted in such newspaper, or and may Pay

money into
other periodical publication, a full apology for the said libel, court as amends.
or, if the newspaper, or periodical publication, in which the
said libel appeared, should be ordinarily published at inter-
vals exceedin4 one week, had offered to publish the said -
apology in any newspaper, or periodical publication, to be
selected by the plaintiff in such action; and every such defend-
ant shall, upon filing such plea, be at liberty to pay into
Court a sum of money by way of amends for the injury sus-
tained by the publication of such libel, and such payment
into Court shall be of the same effect. and be available in
the same manner and to the same extent. and be subiect
to the same rules and regulations as shall be, for the time
being, in force in the High Court with reference to payment
of money into Court in civil suits.

LAWS OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

4 CAP. 248) Libel and Slander

Publishing or
threatening to

4. If any person shall publish, or threaten to publish,
publish a libel, any libel upon any other person, or shall directly or indirectly
Or proposing to threaten to print or publish, or shall directly or indirectly abstain from
publishing propose to abstain from printing or publishing, or shall
anything,-with directly or indirectly offkr to prevent the printing or intent to extort
money, publishing of any matter or thing touching any other person,
punishable by with intent to extort any money or security for money, or imprisonment
and hard labour. any valuable thing from such or any other person, or with

intent to induce any person to confer or procure for any
person any appointment or office of profit or trust, every
such offender shall be liable to be imprisoned for any term
not exceeding three years, with or without hard labour:

Provided that nothing herein contained shall in any
manner alter or affect any law now in force in respect of
the sending or delivery of threatening letters or writings.

False defamatory
libel punishable

5. If any person shall maliciously publish any
by imprisonment defamatory libel, knowing the same to be false, every such
and fine. person shall be liable to be imprisoned for any term not

exceeding two years, and to pay such fine as the Court shall
award.

Defamatory libel
punishable by

6. If any person shall maliciously publish any
imprisonment defamatory libel, every such person shall be liable to fine
and fine. or imprisonment, or both, as the Court may award; such

imprisonment not to exceed one year.

Proceedings upon 7. On the trial of any indictment or information for the trial of an
indictment or a defamatory libel, the defendant, having pleaded such plea
information for a as hereinafter mentioned, the truth of the matters charged
defamatory libel.

may be inquired into, but shall not amount to a defence,
unless it was for the public benefit that the said matters
charged should be published; and, to entitle the defendant
to give evidence of the truth of such matters charged as a
defence to such indictment or information, it shall be
necessary for the defendant, in pleading to the said indict-
ment or information, to allege the truth of the said matters
charged in the manner now required in pleading a justifica-
tion to an action of defamation, and further to allege that
it was for the public benefit that the said matters charged
should be published, and the particular fact or facts by reason
whereof it was for the public benefit that the said matters
charged should be published, to which plea the prosecutor

LAWS OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

Libel and Slander (CAP. 248 5

shall be at liberty to reply generally, denying the whole
thereof; and if, after such plea, the defendant shall be con-
victed on such indictment, it shall be competent to the Court,
in pronouncing sentence, to consider whether the guilt of
the defendant is aggravated or mitigated by the said plea,
and by the evidence given to prove or to disprove the same:

Provided that the truth of the matters charged in the
alleged libel complained of by such indictment or informa-
tion shall in no case be enquired into without such plea of
justification:

Provided also that, in addition to such plea, it shall be
competent to the defendant to plead a plea of not guilty:

Provided also that nothing in this Act contained shall
take away or prejudice any defence, under the plea of not
guilty, which it is now competent to the defendant to make,
under such plea, to any action or indictment or information
for defamatory words or libel.

8. Whensoever, upon the trial of any indictment or Evidence to
rebut prima facie information for the publication of a libel, under a plea of of

not guilty, evidence shall have been given, which shall publication by an
establish a presumptive case of publication against the defend- agent'
ant by the act of any other person by his authority, it shall
be competent to such defendant to prove that such publica-
tion was made without his authority, consent, or knowledge,
and that the said publication did not arise from want of due
care or caution on his part.

9. In the case of any indictment or prosecution, by ions by
a private prosecutor, for the publication of any defamatory private
libel, if judgment shall be given for the defendant, he shall ProSeCUtOrS-
be entitled to recover from the prosecutor the costs sustained
by the said defendant by reason of such indictment or
information; and, upon a special plea of justification to such
indictment or information, if the issue be found for the pro-
secutor, he shall be entitled to recover from the defendant
the costs sustained by the prosecutor by reason of such plea;
such costs to be recovered by the defendant or prosecutor,
respectively, to be taxed by the proper officer of the Court
before which the said indictment or information is tried.

10. Words spoken and published after the passing of Slander of
women.

this Act, which impute unchastity or adultery to any woman

LAWS OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

6 CAP. 248) Libel and Slander

False defamatory
statements.

or girl, shall not require special damage to render them
actionable:

Provided that, in any action for words spoken and made
actionable by this Act, a plaintiff shall not recover more costs
than damages, unless the Judge shall certify that there was
reasonable ground for bringing the action.

1 . (1) Any person who-
( a ) maliciously or recklessly publishes any

defamatory statement other than a defamatory libel in
relation to any other person shall be guilty of an offence
and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not
exceeding five thousand dollars or to a term of imprison-
ment not exceeding one year.

(b) publishes any defamatory statement in relation
to the personal character or conduct of any other person
shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on sum-
mary conviction to a fine not exceeding two thousand
dollars or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding nine
months.

(2) For the purposes of this section a defamatory state-
ment is a statement concerning any person which exposes
him to hatred, ridicule, or contempt, or which causes him
to be shunned, or avoided, or which has a tendancy to injure
him in his office, profession or trade.

(3) O n the trial of a case under this section the truth
of the matters charged may be enquired into, but shall not
amount to a defence, unless in the opinion of the court, it
was for the public benefit that the said matters charged should
be published.

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