[Nottingham] Jack Schofield and libel... longish....

James Gibbon james.gibbon at virgin.net
Sat Jan 10 17:42:17 GMT 2004

Matt Hurst wrote:
> 8. Have I Got News For You notwithstanding, using the word 'allegedly' 
> makes not a jot of difference to libel.

Thanks for an interesting mail, Mark.  I'm aware that I'm veering
off-topic into a general point, but I did find your last remark
(above) quite surprising.  Surely 'allegedly' simply and only means
'it is alleged that.. ' and therefore must make a huge difference -
in that it doesn't actually imply support for, or repeat the
allegation itself?

In other words: assuming that (for example) it had been alleged that
a Mr Smith had had sex with a sheep, then can the statement
"Allegedly, Mr Smith is a sheep-shagger" be libellous?  I would have
thought not, since it only states that there have been _allegations_
to the effect that relations with a sheep have taken place.


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