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(1973) JELR 69614 (HC)

High Court  •  13 Sep 1973  •  Ghana




The plaintiff brought an action against the defendant in the District Court, Keta, for slander. The objectionable words used by the defendant and the subject of the plaintiff’s complaint were “thief,” “useless man,” “non-native of Anloga interfering in the affairs of the town.”

The plaintiff recovered judgment which this appeal assails. On the facts it cannot be seriously challenged that the objectionable epithets were employed by the defendant against the plaintiff. The issue however to which I have given anxious reflection is whether the epithets were mere vituperation or vulgar abuse, which should neither attract damages nor evoke action. I am impressed by the fact that the words were spoken at a meeting where the defendant’s accounts were being scrutinized and that hot words in the heat of emotion could be expected in the circumstances. Under the common law no action for slander lies for mere words evoked by heat or passion or for mere vulgar abuse. The contrary is the c…

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