( Ante, March 18, 1890, 27 S.L.R. p. 536, and 17 R. 680.)
Subject_Reparation — Slander — Innuendo — Issue — Question of Construction Left to Jury.
A person who objected to certain questions put in the House of Commons by a member of Parliament, wrote remonstrating with him for traducing him by false charges which the questions implied to be true. The writer illustrated his case by supposing that he should induce an opponent of his correspondent to put questions in the House of Commons implying that his correspondent had had delirium tremens and had been intoxicated in public, and declared that such a course would be as much justified as that to which the writer objected. He disclaimed all intention of giving pain “by the recital of these imaginary stories.”
The letter was published in a newspaper, and the member of Parliament sued the proprietor of the newspaper for damages, on the ground that the letter represented him to be a drunkard.
The defender objected to an issue being allowed and put to a jury, on the ground that the true and obvious meaning of the letter was not to impute anything to the pursuer, but only to put a suppositious case.
Held ( aff. the decision of the First Division) that the pursuer was entitled to an issue, as the letter was capable of being understood in a libellous sense, and that it was for the jury to determine whether there was libel or not.
This case is reported ante, March 18, 1890, 27 S.L.R. p. 536, and 17 R. 680.
The defenders Ritchie & Company appealed.
At delivering judgment—
Their Lordships dismissed the appeal with costs.
Counsel for the Appellants— Sir Henry James, Q.C.— Cooper. Agents— Neish & Howell, for Henderson & Clark, W.S.
Counsel for the Respondent— Sir Charles Russell, Q.C.— Shaw. Agents— Waddy & Waddy, for R. Ainslie Brown, S.S.C.