Queensland Consolidated Acts

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CRIMINAL CODE 1899 - SECT 365

Criminal defamation

365 Criminal defamation

(1) Any person who, without lawful excuse, publishes matter defamatory of another living person (the
"relevant person" )—
(a) knowing the matter to be false or without having regard to whether the matter is true or false; and
(b) intending to cause serious harm to the relevant person or any other person or without having regard to whether serious harm to the relevant person or any other person is caused;
commits a misdemeanour.
Penalty—
Maximum penalty—3 years imprisonment.
(2) In a proceeding for an offence defined in this section, the accused person has a lawful excuse for the publication of defamatory matter about the relevant person if, and only if, subsection (3) applies.
(3) This subsection applies if the accused person would, having regard only to the circumstances happening before or at the time of the publication, have had a relevant defence for the publication if the relevant person had brought civil proceedings for defamation against the accused person.
(4) The prosecution has the burden of negativing the existence of a lawful excuse if, and only if, evidence directed to establishing the excuse is first adduced by or on behalf of the accused person.
(5) Whether the matter complained of is capable of bearing a defamatory meaning is a question of law.
(6) Whether the matter complained of does bear a defamatory meaning is a question of fact.
(7) A person can not be prosecuted for an offence defined in this section without the consent of the director of public prosecutions.
(8) In this section—

"defamatory" has the meaning that it has in the law of tort (as modified by the Defamation Act 2005 ) relating to defamation.

"modified statutory defence of justification" means the defence stated in the Defamation Act 2005 , section 25 as if that section provided that it is a defence to the publication of defamatory matter if the defendant proves that—
(a) the defamatory imputations carried by the matter of which the relevant person complains are substantially true; and
(b) it was for the public benefit that the publication should be made.

"publish" has the meaning that it has in the law of tort (as modified by the Defamation Act 2005 ) relating to defamation.

"relevant defence" means—
(a) a defence available under the Defamation Act 2005 other than—
(i) the statutory defence of justification; or
(ii) the statutory defence of failure to accept reasonable offer; or
(b) the modified statutory defence of justification; or
(c) a defence available other than under the Defamation Act 2005 , including under the general law.

"statutory defence of failure to accept reasonable offer" means the defence stated in the Defamation Act 2005 , section 18 (1) .

"statutory defence of justification" means the defence stated in the Defamation Act 2005 , section 25 .



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