Another grudge, nursed by the appellant, pertains to the lower Court’s finding on the defence of qualified privilege mounted against the case by the appellant. Qualified privilege is a defence usually contrived as a defence to untrue publication. An occasion is privileged when the person who makes the documentation has moral or public duty to make it to the person to whom he does make it person who receives it has an interest in hearing it. The twin Conditions must co-exist to make an occasion privileged. Reciprocity of interest between the parties is a sine qua non for a successful plea of the defence, see Iloabachie vs. Iloabachie (supra); Emeagwara vs. Star Printing of Pub. Co. Ltd (2000) 10 NWLR (Pt. 676) 489; Mammam vs. Salaudeen (2005) 18 NWLR (Pt.958) 478; Akomolafe vs. Guardian Press Ltd. (2010) 3 NWLR (Pt. 1181) 338, Peterside vs. Fubora (2013) 6 NWLR (Pt. 1349) 159; Ologe vs. New Africa Holdings Ltd. (2013) 17 NWLR (Pt. 1384) 449; Mainstreet Bank Ltd. vs. Binna (2016) 12 NWLR (Pt.1526) 316, C.S.S. & D.F. Ltd. vs. Schlumberger (Nig.) Ltd (2018)15 NWLR (Pt. 1642)238; Sule vs. Orisajimi (2019)10 NWLR (Pt. 1681) 513. The only way to destroy a defence of the privilege is to plead and prove malice. It denotes the desire to harm; hatred for, making use of the occasion for some indirect purpose, see Emeagwara v Star Printing & Pub. Co. Ltd. (supra). —

O.F. Ogbuinya JCA. Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc v. Longterm Global Cap. Ltd. & Ors. (September 20 2021, ca/l/1093/2017)

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I believe that where a court is considering the defence of privilege whether qualified or not, there are some empirical factors that should be taken into consideration and these include the interest of any of the persons to whom the document was published, and the circumstances of the matter in question. If the person against whom the publication is made is a public officer, consideration should be given to the position he holds vis-à-vis the interest of the public or those to whom the alleged and or offensive publication was made to. Equally too, the court should consider the motive for the publication to examine whether it is actuated by purely altruistic principles or tendencies, or malicious and injurious motive. See James v. Baird (1916) S.C. 158 at 163.

— Pats-Acholonu, JSC. Iloabachie v Iloabachie (2005) – SC.137/2000

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