Is a defendant who pleads justification as a defence considered to have republished a libel and to have aggravated damages?

British Columbia, Canada


The following excerpt is from Galloway v A.B, 2021 BCSC 2344 (CanLII):

A defendant who pleads justification as a defence is considered to have republished the libel and to have aggravated damages: Hill v. Church of Scientology, 1995 CanLII 59 (SCC), [1995] 2 S.C.R. 1130, at paras. 191-192.

A defendant who has reported another person’s defamatory allegation about a plaintiff cannot succeed in a plea of justification merely by proving that the allegation was made. The defendant must prove the truth of the underlying allegation. No one is justified in stating false facts about another merely because someone else has done so. Those who give currency to a defamatory report are responsible for its truth: Vanderkooy v. Vanderkooy et al., 2013 ONSC 4796, at para. 157.

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