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The defence of justification rests on truth. If a person can establish that the impugned comments are largely true, he or she will not be liable in libel or slander. To justify their defamatory comments, a defendant merely needs to establish the truth of “substantially all” of their statements.

Section 22 of the Libel and Slander Act sets out the defense of justification:

“In an action for libel or slander for words containing two or more distinct charges against the plaintiff, a defence of justification shall not fail by reason, only that the truth of every charge is not proved if the words not proved to be true do not materially injure the plaintiff’s reputation having regard to the truth of the remaining charges.”