30 October 2007
Westcott v Westcott: defamation case
In a groundbreaking decision the Courts have recently decided that a person can now report an alleged crime to the police without fear of the alleged perpetrator of a crime bringing a claim for defamation against the informant.
We successfully acted for the informant, Dr Westcott in her defence of a claim brought against her by her Magistrate father-in-law, Mr Richard Westcott.
Dr Westcott alleged (to the police) that her father-in-law had struck her and her son, whilst she was visiting Mr Westcott's home. The police investigated but decided not to take the matter further, other than to inform the relevant Social Services department (with whom Mr Westcott was in contact via his work as a Magistrate). Mr Westcott then decided to bring a defamation claim against Dr Westcott, on the basis that the allegation was untrue (which Dr Westcott denied).
The Court has now struck out Mr Westcott's claim on the basis that absolute privilege and immunity from suit applies to the allegation made by Dr Westcott to the police.