Ratio DecidendiRatio DecidendiRatio Decidendi


(1973) JELR 69614 (HC)    
High Court  ·  13 Sep 1973 ·  Ghana
Other Citations
[1973] 1 GLR 25

Ratio Decidendi

Core Terms Beta
objectionable words
district court
learned judge
learned acting chief justice
manu case
particular facts
jury trials
actual words
common law
defamatory action
case lawson j.’s criticism
thames board mills
observation of van lare ag
consideration of the whole facts
particular dialect
objectionable epithets
further urges
binding authority of a higher court
lower court
subject of the plaintiff
obiter dicta
exact words
court of appeal
general acceptance
substantial amends
presiding judge
hot words
judge’s duty
dr. danquah
principle of stare decisis
learned judges of the court of appeal
customary law
counsel of perfection
insulted person
mere words
delicate balance
vulgar abuse
reactions of persons
francois j.
own witness
previous judgments of superior courts


The plaintiff brought an action against the defendant in the District Court, Keta, for slander. The objectionable words used by the defendant and the subject of the plaintiff’s complaint were “thief,” “useless man,” “non-native of Anloga interfering in the affairs of the town.”

The plaintiff recovered judgment which this appeal assails. On the facts it cannot be seriously challenged that the objectionable epithets were employed by the defendant against the plaintiff. The issue however to which I have given anxious reflection is whether the epithets were mere vituperation or vulgar abuse, which should neither attract damages nor evoke action. I am impressed by the fact that the words were spoken at a meeting where the defendant’s accounts were being scrutinized and that hot words in the heat of emotion could be expected in the circumstances. Under the common law no action for slander lies for mere words evoked by heat or passion or for mere vulgar abuse. The contrary is the c…

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