The defence of
qualified privilege also known as the Reynolds privilege as propounded in the
case of Reynolds v Times Newspaper Ltd is a defence of responsible journalism.
For this defence to succeed, the following two pre-requisite has to be
satisfied: a) the publication concerned a matter of public interest; and b)
responsible and fair steps had been taken to gather, verify and publish the
information. Here, my client is a successful businessman and any previous
conviction on criminal breach of trust would affect the public interest,
however, with responsible and fair steps, the defendant could have verify the
accuracy of the alleged conviction from the court. Thus, it is highly unlikely
that they would succeed in raising this defence.
The last possible defence that they would raise would be
the defence of reportage. Reference had to be made to the case of Raub
Australian Gold Mining Sdn Bhd v Mkini Dotcom Sdn Bhd, where Malaysiakini
successfully raise the defence.