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Decisions of the Superior Courts of New South Wales, 1788-1899

Hall v Mansfield (No 2) [1830] NSWSupC 27; sub nom. Hall v Mansfield (No 4) (1830) NSW Sel Cas (Dowling) 856

libel, defences, new trial, press freedom, costs, legal, set off, trial by jury

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Dowling J., 2 April 1830

Source: Australian, 7 April 1830

ANOTHER LIBEL CASE.

SUPREME COURT --- FRIDAY.

HALL V. MANSFIELD.[1 ]

The new Court House being still under repairs, and the old one occupied for criminal business, the Civil Court adjourned to the Wesleyan Chapel, Macquarie-street, when after

Mr. Justice Dowling had taken his seat, a Special Jury was sworn --- composed as follows:

Mr. S. Terry (foreman) Mr. H. Marr

Mitchell T. G. Pitman

Chisholm Hosking

Simmons McClaren

Taylor Rickards

Maziere Pritchett.

This was an action of trespass on the case for two alleged false and scandalous libels, imputing to the plaintiff, who is Editor and proprietor of the Sydney Monitor, immoral and disgraceful conduct, and contained in the Sydney Gazette of the 31st of December, 1829, and 5th of March, 1830, respectively, of which paper defendant is the editor and publisher.  Defendant pleaded the general issue.  Damages were laid at £500.  Counsel for the plaintiff, Mr. Wentworth and Mr. Keith; for the defendant, Dr. Wardell.

Mr. Keith having stated the matter set out in the information,

Mr. Wentworth addressed the Jury.  They would perceive from what had fallen from Mr. Keith, that both parties to this action stood in the relation to one another and to the public, of editors of newspapers; and it certainly was subject of regret with him that persons so circumstanced should be under a necessity to bring actions similar to this, which he the learned Counsel would own came with a much better grace from persons not so situated.  But the fact of the matter was, that while every thing scurrilous in the plaintiff's paper had been laid hold of, and prosecution followed on the heels of prosecution, matter of the grossest nature in the Official Paper of the defendant, was allowed to pass by unheeded --- to the elevation of one as much as it was to the depression of the other.  His client, therefore, had no alternative but to come to that Court for protection against the abuse thus heaped upon him daily.  He had, at the same time, given to the defendant power to prove the truth of his allegations.  He had acted with a liberality in this respect, which, as a defendant, the plaintiff had not himself experienced.  A Mr. Shelly was accused of being instigated to attempt assasination of the Governor by the plaintiff's paper.  Could the defendant have proved this, he had an opportunity of doing so; but he did not.  The fair assumption was that he could not .  In the case of the previous day it was urged for the same defendant, that plaintiff being a ``public writer," was properly open to attacks of the kind imputed.  But he, (the learned Counsel), would ask, was a man's private character to be scandalised --- was he to be accused of criminal actions and to be shut out from redress, because of his being a public WRITER?!!  Did the law say so, that law indeed would be most monstrous!  Yet here the plaintiff was charged with instigating, with the aid of others, the unfortunate young man, Shelly, to attempt the base act of assassination!  What difference, he would ask, was there betwixt the man who could commit such an act and the inciter to it?  An act which, could it be proved, would expose him to the penal consequences of a criminal prosecution.  But defendant, it might be urged, had endeavoured to explain away the imputation.  Why did he then follow up the first charge in a subsequent publication, with the most unqualified abuse?  If he (Mr. W.) could prove, in evidence, that what the defendant published affected the plaintiff thus seriously in his moral character, the question for the Jury would be the amount of damages.  And he would ask them, as fathers of families, to put themselves in the plaintiff's place.  Had he one, how must the feelings of an aged parent be lacerated by the bare perusal of such insinuations?  What opinion might people who read or heard these insinuations form of the plaintiff?  He would put considerations such as these to the Jury.  He would tell them that if the defendant published such matters under official sanction, still he had a right to be made smart for them, and he trusted fervently the Jury would prove by their verdict that day, whether or no the defendant was to be the only privileged libeller in this land.

Evidence being then called to prove the publication and handwriting of defendant, and that the matter alleged to be libellous had reference to the plaintiff,---

Dr. Wardell proceeded to address the Jury with his usual force and causticity.  They had heard that day a very impassioned and elaborate harangue from his learned friend on the other side.  But what did it all amount to?  Why this --- that the defendant in his editorial capacity spoke slightingly of the plaintiff in his editorial capacity! --- an example which the plaintiff himself set and was setting the defendant before that time, at that time, and he might say continually.  The learned Counsel then proceeded to explain away the various passages charged in the information, and to shew that if they were taken to apply to the plaintiff, it was as the editor of the newspaper fully open to criticism, without malice, and without the power of plaintiff to prove that he had sustained the slightest special damage from any part or the whole of the publication.  If therefore the Jury felt called upon to award damages at all to the plaintiff, he trusted, in justice to the defendant that disposition would be done away with when they should hear the opinion of an intelligent witness or two.  The learned Counsel then called,

Captain George Bunn, who said he consider the offensive paragraphs in question to be nothing more or less than wholesome advice.

The calling this evidence gave Mr. Wentworth a right of reply, in which he combatted very ably the arguments used on the other side, and

Mr. Justice Dowling having put the case to the Jury, on the nature of the matter set out as libellous, and its relation to the plaintiff in his moral character, for there was sufficient evidence to shew that the matter had reference to him,-

The Jury retired, and after about an hour and a half's absence returned into Court with a verdict for the plaintiff, damages £50, which, as of course, carried costs.

 

Banco Court, 1 and 2 July 1830

Source: Sydney Gazette, 6 July 1830[2 ]

This was an application to the Court, on the part of the defendant, for a new trial in the above cause, on various grounds set forth in the notice.  The declaration in the cause, on various grounds set forth in the notice.  The declaration in the cause, which was an action for libel, tried last term, charged the defendant with having published two libels in the Sydney Gazettes of the 31st December 1829, and the 3rd Jan. 1830, imputing to the plaintiff that he had excited a person named Shelly, to commit acts of violence on the Governor, and diverse others of the King's subjects, to abuse the laws.  Owing to a variance between the published matter, and that set out in the declaration, the first alleged libel was abandoned, and the jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff, damages £50, on the second.

Mr. Justice Dowling having read his report of the trial.

Dr. Wardell stated that he appeared in support of the motion for a new trial.  He hardly thought, after the decision of the Court in a recent case, wherein the same parties were plaintiff and defendant, that any argument would be raised on the one now before the Court, on any opposition made to the motion now brought forward.

The two cases were in his opinion so precisely similar, that he did not see what possible distinction could be discovered, even by the most critical mind; and he therefore hoped, that the elaborate decision delivered, even by the most critical mind; and he therefore hoped, that the elaborate decision delivered a few days ago, on the occasion of a similar application, would also have terminated the discussion on this case.  He had, however, been disappointed in that expectation; his learned friend on the other side persisted in arguing the case, and he would therefore proceed as briefly as possibly to state the grounds on which he contended that a new trial ought to be granted.  The whole of the alleged libel was clearly in reference to the plaintiff's character as a public writer, indeed the press only was spoken of, and its agency alone commented on.  He spoke independently of the evidence adduced on the trial, all of which, he contended, went to point the matter complained of to the plaintiff and another, in their capacity of public writers, in connection with the press which they were stated to conduct.  Without, however, entering into any lengthened argument on that part of the case, the learned Counsel would put it to the Court, whether the publication charged as libellous, did not clearly fall within the privilege laid down in the case of Carr and Hood, that if our public writer, in commenting on the works of another public writer, did not step aside from the work and introduce fiction for the purpose of condemnation, or follow the plaintiff into domestic life for the purposes of slander, he exercised a fair and legitimate right?  In the publication before the Court, so far was the defendant from transgressing those principles, that the name of the plaintiff was never once mentioned, and the conductors of the press were designated, solely with reference tot heir own acts, and the consequences of those acts.  If it were fair in an opposition paper to say that the editor of a ministerial paper, that he was a tool, a mere slave who wrote only at he bidding of others, surely it was equally fair on the other side to say that the editor of opposition paper had written in such a style as to call down the vengeance of the laws.  Surely it was fair to say that, and, he would ask, what more had the defendant in this case said, than that Mr. Hall (admitting the sole applicability to him) had conducted the press licentiously?  Was that more a libel than to say of - the editor of a government paper that he servilely administered to the wills of persons in power?  Then, with reference to that part of the publication upon which so much stress had been laid, namely, that one of the conductors of the press was branded with convictions for libel, what did it amount to more than an illustration of the consequences of a particular course of acting?  Even if the applicability of that passage to the plaintiff alone had been proved, it would be questionable whether it amounted to a libel, unless it were shown to be false.  It was clear, therefore, even from the record itself, that the publication complained of was a fair and just criticism on the character of a public writer, independently of the testimony of Mr. Bunn who declared that he considered the strictures just, and that the press alluded to had been prostituted.  The defendant, therefore, had even gone farther than it was necessary, in law, for him to do, by adducing evidence which went to establish in every respect the case supposed by Lord Ellenborough in Carr v. Hood.  Nothing appeared on the evidence for the plaintiff to repel the evidence subsequently brought forward for the defendant, as to the publication being a mere commentary upon the character and tendency of public writings.  He should therefore leave the case with these observations, without further argument or commentary, quite satisfied that it was so similar to the one already disposed of, that it would be a mere waste of time to dwell upon it further.

Mr. Wentworth, in reply, said that in the observations he was about to make, he should be equally brief with those of his learned friend.  He was not present when the Court delivered its judgment in the last case, but he did not believe that their Honors had laid down, that one public writer might libel another with impunity, because such a doctrine, he contended, would be altogether unwarranted by the ruling case in matters of this kind.  He would state, however, that an application for a new trial, in a case of libel, was indeed a novelty.  Their Honors would recollect in the case of Carr and Hood, the question as to whether the publication which was the subject of the action, was or was not a fair commentary, was left to the Jury; and the very circumstance of Lord Ellenborough having so left it, was a proof that he did not feel himself bound to non-suit the plaintiff, on the ground that the publication was no libel in law.  In that case, if it were a privileged publication, there was nothing to go to the Jury, but on the Counsel for the plaintiff complaining of the Judge proceeding to rule that fact, the case was left to the Jury to say, whether the publication complained of was a fair commentary or not.  But what was the language of Lord Ellenborough on that occasion?  ``If the writer of the publication complained of had not travelled out of the work he criticised for the purpose of condemnation, the action would not lie; but if they could discover in it any thing personally slanderous against the plaintiff, unconnected with the works he had given to the public, in that case he had a good cause of action, and they would award him damages accordingly."  So that very case showed, in all similar cases, that there were two questions; first, whether the publication was in act a criticism, and, secondly, whether it was fair and candid, or whether the writer had stepped aside from the work to injure the character of the author.  But these were questions of fact which could only, and should only, be left to a Jury to determine.  In the present case what was the averment in the declaration?  Why, that the publication was malicious, and calculated to injure the sale of the plaintiff's newspaper, by attributing to him that he was a person who used the press to urge a person named Shelly to commit acts of violence, and to abuse the laws; so that, in the alleged libellous matter, there was a direct averment that the plaintiff had used the press over which he exercised a control, as the means of exciting the King's subjects to a breach of the laws.  If that averment in the declaration were really true, and that the tendency of the publication was to impute such acts to the plaintiff, there could not exist a doubt as to its libellous character, as it directly imputed a misdemeanor to the plaintiff, upon the principle that every step leading to a misdemeanor was in itself a misdemeanor.  The case before the Court, was finally left to the Jury, after hearing evidence on both sides; they had an opportunity of comparing the writings of the plaintiff and defendant, and they arrived at the conclusion that the publication complained of was not a fair criticism, but a direct attack on the moral character of the plaintiff, and that it had the tendency and moaning attributed it to it on the record.  Under these circumstances, therefore, he contended that the verdict could not be disturbed.

The Court deferred pronouncing judgment till the following day.

FRIDAY, JULY 2nd.

In the case of Hall v. Mansfield, the Court delivered its decision this morning to the following effect.

The Chief Justice. - This is a motion for a new trial, upon several grounds set out in the notice, filed by the party seeking to obtain it, in pursuance of the rules of this court.  The ground that has been chiefly relied upon by the learned counsel for the defendant in support of this motion, is that the matter alleged to be libellous is only a fair criticism upon the published works of the plaintiff - the parties are the respective conductors and publishers of two newspapers, of opposite political sentiments; the paper from which the passages, charged as libellous are selected, is the Sydney Gazette of the 5th of January, 1830, published by the defendant - the passages are as follows;- ``We have before said that Mr. Shelly's violence is much to be attributed to a prostituted press.  We again declare this to be our firm belief, and it is the belief of every unprejudiced man in the Colony, and it will be a happy circumstance for those writers if Mr. Shelly be the only victim of their baleful influence.  The present melancholy instance ought to be a warning to those who may be disposed to surrender their reason at the shrine of a Radical Press, whose conductors are now paying the penalty of their disregard of the laws, and one of whom is branded from head to foot with convictions before the tribunals of the land."

At the trial of the cause, it was proved by one of the plaintiff's witnesses, named Bradley, that these passages referred to the plaintiff as one of the conductors of the press; and the Jury found a verdict for the plaintiff, and assessed the damages at Fifty pounds.  We are now called upon to set aside the verdict, and grant a new trial, upon the several grounds set forth in the notice, but more especially upon the ground of the verdict being against the law as laid down by the learned Judge at the trial.

In the course of the arguments at the bar, it has been pressed upon us that the decision of the Court upon a similar application, between the same parties in a former cause, and under circumstances nearly resembling the present, must govern our judgment in this case.  But that would by no means follow as a necessary consequence, unless it could be shown that the same matter is charged as libellous in both cases, and is supported by the same evidence.  It makes all the difference in the world, that the two publication are perfectly distinct --- the one may confine itself within the limits of fair and just criticism and be innocent --- the other may travel into domestic life, and merge the public censor in a private slanderer, and therefore come within the law.  In the case referred to, I was of opinion upon looking at the declaration, and consideration the matter averred as conveying a libellous imputation upon the private character of the plaintiff, that it did not, in itself, convey any such imputation, but, on the contrary, was a criticism on his newspaper, altho' severe in its nature, and kept within the bounds of criticism.  And I was further of opinion, upon attentively regarding the evidence which had been adduced by the plaintiff, for the purpose of pointing the allusions to himself, that such evidence did not show in any manner, that the allusions were of a personal nature, or disconnected with the plaintiff as a public journalist; but did relate to him in his editorial character.  In this view, then, there was in my opinion, no evidence to support the verdict, as a legal verdict, and I consented to send the case to a new Jury for a more matured consideration.

That this Court has not only the power, but is in duty bound to grant a new trial whenever it finds sufficient ground for doing so, will hardly be doubted.  And I am utterly at a loss to conjecture what that principle of law can be, which claims for cases of libel, a peculiar exemption from this most salutary power of the Court.  I am not aware that the law of libel differs, in its administration from the general principles, which regulate the administration from the general principles, which regulate the administration of all other laws.  The Judges of the Court are the Judges of the law of libel --- juries, in cases of libel, like juries in all other cases, are Judges of the fact.  It is a maxim of constitutional law, as ancient as the history of juries, that ad quastionem legis respondent judices; and the jury are sworn to try the issue, in cases of libel, in the same manner as in all other issues, and to ``find a verdict according to the evidence" which shall be laid before them.  It is indeed true that at a period not very remote, it was the practice of the Judges to instruct the juries, in criminal prosecutions for libel, that it was their province to enquire into the fact of publication by the defendant, and if they were satisfied of that fact, it was for the Court to decide upon the legal effect of the matter published, and to say whether it were libellous or not.  But it is more equally true this was a departure from the more ancient, as well as the general practice of the Courts, and was remedied by the interposition of Parliament.  The Act, commonly Mr. Fox's Act, is a declaratory law; it does not alter the nature of libel, but restores it to what it originally was in criminal cases, namely a conclusion to be drawn from the whole law and facts of the case, taken together, at which the Jury may arrive, under the usual direction of the Court, and upon which they may pronounce their opinion in the form of a general verdict of guilty, or not guilty.  The law, however, still remains with the Court --- if the Jury will find a verdict contrary to evidence, or to the direction of the Judge upon the law of the case, or in any manner open to any of the recognized grounds for granting a new trial, the Court must, if it be satisfied that justice has not been done, grant a venire de novo, as in all other cases.  I know of nothing in the law of libel, or the practice of the Courts, that exempts verdict, in cases of libel, from the same consequences as other verdicts.  Having premised these general principles, I shall procsed [sic] to give my opinion upon the particular grounds on which the present application for a new trial is founded.

Upon referring to the words, set out upon the record as libellous, it is impossible to say that the imputations therein contained will not bear a personal construction; or that they do not, in any sense, pass the conductor of a private journal, that his writings have induced a particular individual, to commit an act of violence, of the character and degree, of the act attributed to the individual alluded to, and to apply to him the strong language of ``being branded from head to foot with convictions before the tribunals of the land," will certainly bear a personal application, and support a libellous charge, without the aid of any evidence whatever to illustrate the character or meaning of such expressions.  How, then, can we say, that there was no case upon the declaration, or in the evidence, to go to the Jury?  Had I been placed on the panel, I might, on looking at the whole subject of the publication itself; considering the hostile remarks of the adverse party, balancing the one against the other, and the practice which custom at least has tolerated, if it cannot sanction with respect to rival newspapers, I have arrived at a different conclusion from the Jury who tried the case.  But that is not a sufficient reason for disturbing their verdict, and awarding a new trial.  The case was one for the Jury; it was left properly to them, and they found a verdict for the plaintiff, with damages to the amount of fifty pounds.  The sum awarded is a strong presumption that the Jury considered the plaintiff had been injured in his private character, by the publication complained of.  And upon the principle of all the cases which have been decided in England, as well as in the case which was heard between the present parties on a former day, this Court cannot say that the sanctuary of domestic life has not been invaded, in the remarks published by the defendant, or that the plaintiff has not been injured in his private reputation.  I am of opinion, therefore, that we cannot disturb the verdict in this case, and that the Rule must be discharged.

Mr. Justice Stephen briefly expressed his concurrence in the opinion delivered by His Honour the Chief Justice.

Mr. Justice Dowling. - I am also of opinion, that in this case, there ought not to be a new trial granted.  The action was brought to recover a compensation in damages, for two alleged libels published in the Sydney Gazette, of the 31st December 1829, and of the 5th January 1830, respectively; of and concerning the plaintiff, as the editor, printer, and publisher of the Sydney Monitor.  The case was tried before myself and a special Jury, on the 2d April last.  In consequence of a variance between the matter of the first alleged libel as set out in the declaration, and the printed matter given in evidence, the attention of the Jury was confined to the second alleged libel.  The declaration charged, that the defendant maliciously intending to injure the plaintiff's good name, fame, and reputation, and to injure the sale of his newspaper called the Sydney Monitor, by holding him up to the subjects of the King as a person who used the press as a means to induce a man of the name of Shelly, and other persons, to commit acts of violence and to infringe the laws, published in the Sydney Gazette of the 5th January 1830, of and concerning the plaintiff, the matter following:--- ``We have before said, that Mr. Shelly's violence is much to be attributed to the agency of a prostituted press, (meaning the press conducted by the plaintiff and by Mr. Hayes the editor of the Australian).  We again declare this to be our firm belief, and it is the belief of every unprejudiced man in the Colony, and it will be a happy circumstance for those writers (meaning the plaintiff and Mr. Hayes) if Mr. Shelly be the only victim of their baleful influence.  The present melancholy instance ought to be a warning to those who may be disposed to surrender their reason at the shrine of a radical press, whose conductors (meaning the plaintiff and Mr. Hayes) are now paying the penalty of their disregard of the law, and one, of whom, (meaning the plaintiff) is branded from head to foot with convictions before the tribunals of the land.  Let the people learn to think for themselves - to distinguish between assertion and proof - between noise and sense - between the manly strains of independent patriotism, and the canting jargon of jacobinical disaffection," by mean whereof, &c.  The defendant pleaded not guilty.  After proof of the publication in the manner required by the local ordinance, one witness was called who proved that the alleged libel pointed to the plaintiff, and that it had the tendency imputed to it in the declaration.  On the part of the defendant, it was contended, that the alleged libel, was merely the opinion of the defendant as the conductor of a public newspaper - that it contained no direct charge against the plaintiff - and that it was no more than fair discussion upon a subject which the plaintiff himself had previously handled in his own newspaper, to two numbers of which reference was had, for the purpose of shewing the occasion of the publication.  Although no plea of justification was put upon the record, reference to the plaintiff's previous publications on the same subject was not objected tom, and the judge did not think it incumbent on him to resist the reception of those publications for the purpose of rebutting the presumption of malice.  A witness was then called on the part of the defendant to give his interpretation of the alleged libellous matter, and to show that it was capable of an innocent construction, and he said, that in his judgment it was no more than wholesome advice, fit to be given by the editor of a newspaper on passing events, and that it had a fair reference to the matter previously published by the plaintiff upon the same subject.  The Judge, in summing up the case for the Jury, said, there were three questions for their consideration.  1.  Was the matter charged to be libellous published by the defendant?  2.  Whatever might be the import of it, did it apply to the plaintiff? and, 3.  If it did apply to him, was it libellous; or, in other words, did it fairly import what was imputed to it by the declaration?  He called the attention of the Jury to the fact that both plaintiff and defendant were public writers, each conducting a newspaper in the Colony.  He directed their attention to what had been decided in the Courts of the mother country in the cases of Finnerty v. Tipper, 2. Camp. 72.  Stewart v. Lovell, 2. Stark 93.  Tarbart v. Tipper, 1. Camp. 352; and, lastly, in Carr v. Hood, 1. 355.  Reference, he said, had been made to papers published by the plaintiff upon the same subject, to which the alleged libel related, not by way of justification (for which that view they could not be received without a special plea), but in order to rebut the presumption of malice, which was the gist of this species of action, and to mitigate damages, by showing the occasion of the writing; and he concluded by telling them, that if the writer of the publication complained of, had not travelled out of the line of discussion upon a subject of public criticism, common to him and the plaintiff, for the purpose of slander, the action would not be; but if they could discover in it any thing personally slanderous of the plaintiff, unconnected with his own publications upon the same subject, in that case he had a good cause of action, and they would award him such reasonable and temperate damages as the alleged libel would fairly justify.  The Jury retired for a considerable time, and found for the plaintiff, damages £50.

The motion was made for a new trial, on the ground, that this case fell within the principle of the case decided by us a few days since, in another action, between the same parties for a libel.  That case, however, appears to me to be different in its circumstances from the present.  The publication there dealt in generals, without any allusion whatever to the plaintiff; and there was not a particle of proof to show that the alleged libel could possibly be understood to apply to him in any other character than as one of the public writers in the Colony.  Besides, the tone and temper of the publication there complained of, though severe, fell within the just bounds of fair and free discussion.  From the principle of that decision I will not depart.  It was founded on the broad ground, that the ``Liberty of the Press" justified fair, candid, and even harsh criticism, upon the works of public writers, unconnected with any personal allusion, and untainted with malicious motives towards the author.  It does not go to hold that under the cloak of his being a public writer, every thing and any thing may be said or written of him or of his works, without any regard to the fair province of discussion and argument.  Cases of this kind must depend upon the circumstances of each, and cannot be determined by one abstract inflexible rule.  The declaration here charged, that the intention of the defendant was to impute to the plaintiff that he had used the press as a means to induce a man of the name of Shelly and other persons to commit acts of violence and to infringe the laws.  This is certainly no light charge, and the Jury, by their verdict, have drawn the inference, that such was the tendency of the libel.  There is one part of this publication which clearly had a personal allusion to the plaintiff, namely, that wherein he is spoken of as being ``branded from head to foot with convictions before the tribunals of the land."  It is impossible for us to say in what sense the Jury understood this and the other passages of the libel.  The fact stated in the passage alluded to, might be true or might be false, but the Jury might not think that this was a fair, candid, or charitable mode of confuting the arguments of another public writer on a subject of public interest.  In the former case there was nothing to warrant the verdict of the Jury.  This case is different in its circumstances from that; and without very strong grounds being made out to show that an erroneous conclusion has been drawn from the evidence, I think we ought not to disturb the verdict of a tribunal which is competent to determine the whole facts put in issue.  I agree that cases of this class, ought not, on light grounds, to be entertained by the Court; but this action having been brought, and the merits of it fully and fairly submitted to the consideration of a Jury, I think we ought not to disturb the verdict.

Rule Refused.

 

Dowling J., 26 July 1830

Source: Dowling, Select Cases, Archives Office of New South Wales, 2/3466

[p.6]

[Where two actions were brought by Plaintiff against same Defendant in one of which & in the other he failed,[3 ] the costs of the Latter were allowed to be set off against the damages and costs in the former.]

July 26th 1830

Coram Dowling J. at Chambers

Hall v Mansfield

Two actions were brought by the Plaintiff for a libel.  In there was a verdict for the Defendant and in the other the Plaintiff recovered a verdict of £50 damages.

Wardell now moved for the Defendant in the first, to allow his costs to be set of against the Plaintiffs damages in the second action.

Keith opposed the motion but

Dowling J thought it reasonable and ordered accordingly.

See 3 B & C 535.5. D & R 399. 1 manle & Sel. 240. Tidd 340.

 

Notes

[1 ] This was the second of three libel actions taken by the plaintiff against the defendant on 1, 2 and 3 April 1830.  This case was reported at greater length by the Sydney Gazette, 6 and 8 April 1830.  The best statement of the law was in the first of the three cases, heard on 1 April 1830: see Hall v. Mansfield (No. 1), 1830.  The third case, on 3 April 1830, is Hall v. Mansfield (No. 3), 1830.

This less formal report is included here to show the contrast between the law reporting style of the various newspapers.  Contrast it with the Gazette's report in Hall v. Mansfield (No. 1), 1830.

[2 ] See also Australian, 9 July 1830.

[3 ] The latter refers to Hall v. Mansfield (No. 3), 1830.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University