Laws of Delict and Defamation

Topics: Tort, Law, Negligence Pages: 5 (757 words) Published: February 4, 2015
Assignment 02

The police museum organises an exhibition where fax figures of well-known murderers in the history of crime are exhibited. A wax figure of X is accidentally placed among the statues of the murderers although he was not a murderer, but the victim of assault. Will X be able to institute proceedings for defamation against the museum? Discuss fully, but do not refer to possible defences that may be raised.

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
INTRODUCTION
3
LAWS OF DELICT AND DEFAMATION
3 - 4
PERSON X
4
CONCLUSION
5
SOURCES CONSULTED
6

INTRODUCTION
Defamation can be defined as the publication of words or behaviour concerning a person that tends to injure the good name of that person, with the intention of injuring that person and without grounds of justification.

LAWS OF DELICT AND DEFAMATION
Defamation operates under the umbrella term delict. Delict may be defined as any behaviour by a person which infringes the rights of another person. It may be viewed as an unlawful and blameworthy act which causes damage to another person’s persona. Elements of a delict before a court will grant damages are:

Act of conduct: The plaintiff must prove that the defendant made a false representation Wrongfulness: which he knew to be false
Damage: the plaintiff must have suffered, or be likely to suffer loss Causality: because of the false representation
Fault: the defendant must have intended to cause the plaintiff such loss There are different types of delicts, but for this assignment, we will be focusing on defamation. When all 5 elements are present, we are dealing with a delict. In the case of defamation, the type of conduct prohibited is the publication of defamatory material. The delict of defamation is the unlawful publication, animo iniuriandi, of a defamatory statement concerning the complainant. A statement is defamatory if it has the effect of injuring a plaintiff’s reputation. The reputation of the complainant is injured if the statement tends to lower the plaintiff in the estimation of right-thinking members of society. The elements of the delict can therefore be summarized as the unlawful or wrongful publication, animo iniuriandi, of a defamatory statement concerning the plaintiff. Once a plaintiff establishes that a defendant has published a defamatory statement concerning him or herself, it is presumed that the publication was both unlawful and intentional. Defamation can be defined as the publication of words or behaviour concerning a person that tends to injure the good name of that person, with the intention of injuring that person and without grounds of justification. Defamation is the part of law that aims to protect individuals’ rights to their reputation. The right to a reputation, or a good name, is enshrined in the constitution of South Africa. Defamation is committed when one person commits an intentional and wrongful publication or communication of words or behaviour to a third party which has the effect of injuring a person’s reputation. Defamation is one of the oldest offences in law and usually results in the payment of compensation to the injured party if proven. PERSON X

On the grounds of negligence, person X may institute proceedings for defamation against the museum. All elements are present in this case. Even though the wax figure of X was placed accidentally, the exhibition was displayed to the masses and irreversible perceptions of person X may already have been formed by the people. Act of conduct

Was it negligence or the failure to take action that caused the accident or damages, or was it a wilful, positive action. Person X was a victim of assault but was displayed amongst murderers in the museum.

Wrongfulness
The conduct under the microscope should be viewed as totally reprehensible by the community at...
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