One of the most common yet the most disturbing litigation that can be bought upon any individual is defamation charges. In case of defamation charges, both the plaintiff and the defendant have to go through a lot of questionnaires to satisfy the court on the fact that there are proper reasons to call the statement or the comments in question as derogatory and they have hampered the plaintiff’s social reputation greatly.
Mostly the defamation charges are taken as civil defamation in the Australian court however, in some cases the plaintiff can sue the defendant on criminal defamation charges which although rare is not unheard of. The rules relating to these kinds of severe defamation charges are pretty tight and only when you team yourself up with reputed civil lawyers working on defamation-based cases, you can apply for criminal defamation charges.
But before you hire any lawyer to send subpoenas to the ones who have made some derogatory remarks on your life, a brief understanding of the laws and the defendants’ defence is necessary.
What Is The Meaning Of Defamation?
Before understanding what encompasses this law the first step is to understand what actually defamation charges are. By definition, defamation is a publication of material that has got some kind of negative or derogatory impact on an individual’s reputation and mostly such statements or publications are not substantiated by any kind of true facts.
These publications can be anything from writing to publication on print media or on some kind of online media or some kind of sketches or pictographic drawings or giving hate speeches etc. Legally the person who makes such kind of defamatory comments is called the publisher. This law of defamation is valid for a variety of publication which includes blogs and social media content as well.
What Are Some Of The Elements Of These Claims?
- Normally a lawyer who specializes in defamation of character cases guides you through various elements of this kind of cases but the most common one can be any kind of verbal or visual statement that has been published or constructed in any kind of media.
- Apart from any kind of communication or publication there can be some defamatory statements which has been communicated by the defendant to a third party individual.
- And lastly there can be some untrue statements or imputations which might hamper the plaintiff’s reputation or identity of a person.
Here you need to keep in mind that some kind of untrue statement or any kind of imputation charges which does not actually pinpoint the aggrieved individual is not regarded as a matter of civil or criminal defamation. This rule is also valid for a group of people acting as an individual entity or any kind of corporate organization as they cannot suffer any defamation.
What Are Some Of The Defence Is Put Forward By The Publishers?
Next you need to understand what can be some of the defences which the publisher can put forward.
- If proper justification has been provided which will actually indicate that the public statement is substantially true.
- If there is some kind of contextual truth that indicates the imputations are somewhat true and it cannot harm the aggrieved person.
- If the publication of such statements are made during any parliamentary debates, all while any tribunal is running where the judgments are absolutely privileged and immune from any kind of civil or criminal defamatory charges.
- Also if the publication had some kind of legal social or moral obligations then it can be assumed as a qualified privilege.
- In case the publication of the statement was put forward as an opinion and not a fact.
- If the distributor off the derogatory comment did not have any control over the comment or its publication then he might be exempted of the charges.
- And lastly the court will always judge the triviality of the matter and the fact that it did not sustain any harm to the aggrieved individual before considering the charges.
Criminal Defamatory Charges
As mentioned already the defamatory charges can be both criminal and civil. Under the Australian criminal law for the provision of criminal defamation which falls under section 257 (1) of the criminal law consolidation act 1935 (SA), ‘a person who without any kind of valid excuse if makes some kind of derogatory remarks on another living person intentionally knowing the facts to be false or have intended to cause some kind of harm, then he can be charged guilty under the criminal section.
Under these acts if found guilty the maximum penalty can be given for three years of imprisonment.
Finding The Right Lawyers
Whether you are an aggrieved individual or the defendant, the need for a defamation lawyer who has a market reputation of handling defamation cases is extremely important. So, when it comes to criminal defamation, it becomes imperative to choose the right legal help who can extend the best support during these tribulations.