The former MSP sued the paper for defamation on the basis of four articles appearing in the paper on
“…greater latitude in relation to criticisms of those holding public office is allowed. Accordingly it is only where private character is attacked or where there is a suggestion of base or indirect motives that criticisms of those holding public office might give rise to a relevant claim for defamation.” [
But went on to determine that her judicial understanding of the defamatory quality, if any, of broad ‘scabbery’ required the term to be firmly located in the discursive context of the case and that the …
“… focus of the article is the question of the leadership of a political party and the ability or inability of some of its members to work with each other. Accordingly I do not consider that this was an attack on the private character of the pursuer but rather on her political decisions and political loyalties. I have considered whether the article, taken as a whole, would tend to lower the pursuer in the estimation of right thinking members of society generally, or be likely to affect her adversely in the estimation of reasonable people generally.”
“Again, I do not consider that it would have that effect. Right thinking members of society are well able to read an article of this sort and see it as no more than a robust criticism of the pursuer as a former colleague and ally of Mr Sheridan. The reference to the pursuer as a "scab" simply has no context without the detail given of the political plot alleged by Mr Sheridan and the references to collaboration with "the enemy" namely Newsgroup Newspapers Limited.”
As such, Wise determined pretty robustly that Curran’s allegations of defamation were not well founded, dismissing her case. I'm no friend of using courts as another means of doing our politics, nor do I much care for a resort to the heavy instruments of defamation to vindicate senses of personal injury. If were up to me, an independent Scotland would ratchet up its protection of free speech to American-inspired levels, and to hell with contumelious actions, with their drawn po-faces. As the Curran case shows, wise men and women should never hop on the barge named 'defamation, libel and slander'. Although you may cross your extremities for an honest wind, more often than not, this particular craft will ferry its tender cargo crashingly into the shoals of defeat, or in other cases, outright disaster and sinkage.