Criminal Defamation

Under South Australian criminal law there is also an offence of Criminal defamation. Section 237(1) of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA) provides that:

A person who, without lawful excuse, publishes defamatory matter concerning another living person—

(a) knowing the matter to be false or being recklessly indifferent as to whether the matter is true or false; and

(b) intending to cause serious harm, or being recklessly indifferent as to whether the publication of the defamatory matter will cause serious harm, to a person (whether the person defamed or not,

is guilty of an offence.

Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for 3 years.

If a person charged with criminal defamation can prove that they had a defence if they were subject to a civil claim for damages for defamation then they have a lawful excuse to this offence [s 237(2)].

Criminal Defamation  :  Last Revised: Fri Apr 7th 2017
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