Suppose there are three people, A, B, and C.

A and B has a personal dispute, all parties know each other, and on one day, B's private chat group was attacked and destroyed by an unknown person, whose B believe is C. Then, B privately messaged C, asked him if it is his act, and stated "I am sure that it is the act of A, if you accuse it is the act of A, I will not disclose your identity. If we find out it's A's act, I will make it public!" C forwarded this message to A.

The question is, will B be liable to any tort offences? Is the sentence "if you accuse it is the act of A, I will not disclose your identity" a tort offence against A for it is implying A is destroying B's property? Also, is transmitting a defamatory statement through message libel? I have checked some cases but still no discovery.

The main question is whether the statement, with the punctuation, is defamatory or not. Could any defences arise by B in case a litiation started?

Please comment if you need more information. Thanks.


The statement "I am sure it is the act of A", if proven to be baseless and untrue, can be considered as libel since it is likely to hinder the reputation of A in the eyes of C, a third party here, and is a clear statement of fact.

  • Is it a clear statement of fact? It does not seem so to me. "It is the act of A", I agree, would be. But does not "I am sure..." make it an opinion?
    – sharur
    Apr 19 '17 at 19:00
  • "I am sure ..." may indicate opinion in context, but the words themselves indicate a belief of fact. "I believe it is a fact that it is the act of A".
    – Nij
    Apr 19 '17 at 21:14
  • There's a little bit of a blur between what can and cannot be considered as a statement of opinion, but in this case the statement will be considered as a statement of fact, since the word being used is "sure" to express certainty. "I think A might have done it" would be considered a statement of opinion Apr 20 '17 at 2:55

The potentially defamatory statement is "I am sure that it is the act of A" - B is making a statement of fact (not opinion) about wrongdoing by A to a third party B.

It is not defamatory if it is true. Even if it is defamatory it is likely not actionable as the disclosure, in the circumstances, is unlikely to damage A's reputation with B since B already thinks A is a piece of s&@t.

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