Can malice defeat the defence of qualified privilege in a defamation action?

Alberta, Canada


The following excerpt is from Milne v. Darlington, 2012 ABQB 518 (CanLII):

In Angle v. Lapierre, 2008 ABCA 120, the court confirmed the five principles that should be applied to the facts to determine whether malice defeats qualified privilege in the case of a defamation action: the defence of qualified privilege is not absolute; if actual or express malice is the dominant motive for publishing the statement, the privilege is defeated; if the occasion is shown to be privileged, not all statements made on the occasion will be protected by the privilege; a statement which is not reasonably appropriate in the context of the circumstances existing on the occasion will, if defamatory, not be protected by the privilege. A statement will not be reasonably appropriate if it is the product of indirect motive or ulterior purpose or if it conflicts with the sense of duty or the mutual interest that the occasion created; and, if the defendant is acting in accordance with a sense of duty or in a bona fide desire to protect his own legitimate interests, knowledge that publication of the statement will have the effect of injuring the defendant [sic][1] is insufficient, standing alone, to destroy the privilege.

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