Interesting but dangerous

Indian government minister MJ Akbar filed a defamation suit against one of at least 10 women accusing him of sexual harassment on Monday, calling her allegations false and malicious.

The lawsuit, a copy of which was reviewed by Reuters, names journalist Priya Ramani as the sole accused and says that she “intentionally put forward malicious, fabricated and salacious” allegations to harm his reputation.

Oscar Wilde made this potential mistake…..

15 comments on “Interesting but dangerous

  1. That much luvvied national treasure would have been locked up as a paedo any time these last 40 years, unless he had a show on the BBC. “‘Oscar’ll fix it””?

  2. Also only suing one for defamation does rather imply something about the other nine allegations, doesn’t it?

  3. OT but related I guess:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-45870948

    The legal eagles are wrestling with the little conundrum that if they make misogyny a ‘hate crime’ the mask might slip a bit if they don’t make misandry one too. However they probably realise what a can of worms that could open up. Going to be interesting how they try to square the circle – we’re all for equality, hating women is verboten, but hating men, well…….

  4. Jim- from your link “prejudice against wmn – should be treated as hate crimes. And now it’s emerged the same review will also consider the opposite – crimes motivated by misandry…”
    Bit of a slip there, they’re not opposites.

  5. It hasn’t turned out so well for Stormy Daniels either. Not only did she lose her defamation suit against the Donald but she’s been ordered to pay his legal costs. So all those numpties who crowdsourced her legal fees have ended up giving their money to Trump.

    Schadenfreude isn’t a strong enough word.

  6. “Also only suing one for defamation does rather imply something about the other nine allegations, doesn’t it?”

    That you don’t have the evidence to *prove* the others were false and malicious?

    The burden of proof goes the other way in libel/slander cases. If there’s no way to prove/disprove a claim (like if it’s just one person’s word against the other) then neither side has a case against the other. A says B did it. B says A is lying. One of these statements is a slander, but which one?

  7. NiV, it depends on the country. In the UK the person accussed of libel must be able to prove that they were being truthful. In the US it’s the other way around. That’s why we get all that ‘libel tourism’ in the UK.

    The Simon Singh case where the quack chiropractors tried to sue him comes to mind.

    I don’t know about India.

  8. @DJ
    The truth of the statement is one justification for libel in English Law. The main other one is ‘fair comment’, i.e. whether the statement was a view that a reasonable person could have held.

  9. “NiV, it depends on the country.”

    Fair point. Agreed.

    “In the UK the person accussed of libel must be able to prove that they were being truthful.”

    Or that it was “fair comment” – whether the statement was a view that a reasonable person could have held based on facts known at the time. Apart from in Northern Ireland, the old law was repealed by the Defamation Act 2013. But now there’s a defence of “honest opinion”.

    For India, see here: http://www.hindu.com/2004/09/21/stories/2004092103551000.htm

  10. Is this gentleman the famed allahu akhbar that all the most up to date terrorists seem to call upon, perhaps inspired by his mighty weaponry?

    Or am I confused?

  11. NiV, I know that, you know that, but how does it look to the average news paper reader?

    Assuming he’s trying to rescue his public image, rather than just win a case or collect some money, it doesn’t look good if you only sue one in ten.

    Might work earlier on, if there’s only two or three accusations; might scare any others from going public. But once there’s ten, what’s it supposed to achieve?

  12. “NiV, I know that, you know that, but how does it look to the average news paper reader?”

    It depends whose side they’re on. If it’s a public figure they like/support, they’ll be as generous as they can in their interpretation. If it’s one they don’t like, nothing will satisfy them.

    It’s like the Brett Kavanaugh thing. One side can’t understand how anyone could find the accusations credible, libel trials or not, and the other side can’t understand how anyone could doubt the accusations, absence of evidence or conviction at trial notwithstanding. And the newspaper readers who believed every word Christine Blasey-Ford said are exactly the same newspaper readers who wouldn’t believe Juanita Broaddrick. Newspaper readers are fickle.

    It may simply be an illustrative demonstration that #MeToo hysterics should not be automatically believed – and once that principle is established, the sheer number of accusation no longer means what it once did. He can say he did one just to make the point, he can say he could only afford one (launching ten court cases simultaneously requires a lot of lawyers!), he can say his lawyers advised him to concentrate on one case at a time, he can spin it all sorts of ways.

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