Clause 5. — (Justification.)

Part of Orders of the Day — Defamation (Amendment) Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th June 1952.

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Photo of Mr David Weitzman Mr David Weitzman , Stoke Newington and Hackney North 12:00 am, 27th June 1952

I did not say that an allegation that a man has obtained goods by false pretences was a small point. What I tried to do by way of illustration was to take a case where a man was a rogue and has stolen goods and had been convicted a number of times, and words were published alleging he was guilty of a number of offences of stealing or obtaining goods by false pretences. There is a narrow line between the two offences and, because of that, I say it would be wrong for a plaintiff to succeed although his reputation had suffered in no way because of the mistake.

It has been said in argument that this is a procedural matter. I venture to suggest that it is not. I suggest that the Rules Committee would have great difficulty in providing a remedy by rules with regard to this matter. I regard the reform put forward in the Clause as long overdue and I hope the Amendment will be rejected.