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Senate passes Defamation Act

Published:Friday | July 12, 2013 | 5:32 PM

The Senate has passed the amended Defamation Act, despite a declaration from one senator that he was not enthusiastic about the bill.



The Senate continued its debate on the Defamation Act after the matter was adjourned last week.



Contributing to the debate, Government senator, Lambert Brown, said he did not agree with the rush to pass this law while other issues such as rules on occupational health and safety continue to languish.



Opposition Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, outlined that there were several gaps in the legislation.



Among the suggestions she made was that the Act contain a clause which requires parties to try to settle their dispute outside the court by allowing the offending party to settle with the complainant.



The Bill was eventually passed with 10 amendments.



The Defamation Act, if approved by the House of Representatives, will replace the decades-old libel and slander laws.



Jamaica currently operates with a Libel and Slander Act, which was passed in 1851, and the Defamation Act, which was passed in 1961.



A key feature of the bill is the abolition of the distinction between libel and slander and the establishment of a single cause of action to be known as defamation.



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