Criminal Libel Definition, s. 298
In addition to the potential of constituting as the tort of defamation per the civil law, defamatory libel may also constitute as a criminal offence contrary to the Criminal Code of Canada, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46 which states:
298 (1) A defamatory libel is matter published, without lawful justification or excuse, that is likely to injure the reputation of any person by exposing him to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or that is designed to insult the person of or concerning whom it is published.
Mode of expression
(2) A defamatory libel may be expressed directly or by insinuation or irony
(a) in words legibly marked on any substance; or
(b) by any object signifying a defamatory libel otherwise than by words.
What constitutes as publishing of a defamatory libel is broadly defined and appears to constitute any conduct that involves a public display or efforts that causes viewing or reading of the libelous statement.
299 A person publishes a libel when he
(a) exhibits it in public;
(b) causes it to be read or seen; or
(c) shows or delivers it, or causes it to be shown or delivered, with intent that it should be read or seen by any person other than the person whom it defames.
Punishment for publishing libelous statements vary from a maximum of five (5) years for a known defamatory libel to a maximum of two (2) years for a defamatory that is less than a known defamatory libel.
Punishment of libel known to be false
300 Every one who publishes a defamatory libel that he knows is false is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.
Punishment for defamatory libel
301 Every one who publishes a defamatory libel is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.
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