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Many people think that for a libel to occur, the statement made has to be both false and made in public, but in fact that is not so, as a recent libel case confirms.
The libellous comments were made by a care worker at a hospital about a colleague in an internal email sent to the HR manager and another senior manager. The High Court agreed that the accusations were false and had caused serious harm to the man who was the subject of the emails.
It awarded him more than £25,000 in damages, a sum partly made up of 'aggravated damages' to show the Court's irritation that the defendant had insisted on pushing the matter to a trial while relying on defences he knew were not true.