DEFAMATION OF SCHOOL TEACHERS BY LEARNERS Le Roux v Dey 2011 3 SA 274 (CC)
Keywords:infringement of dignity, infringement of reputation, damages for defamation
In Le Roux v Dey a vice-principal at a well-known secondary school in Pretoria instituted two separate claims for sentimental damages under the actio iniuriarum for insult (infringement of dignity) and defamation (infringement of reputation) against three school learners. The defendants published manipulated pictures of the plaintiff and the principal of the school depicting them both naked and sitting alongside each other with their hands indicative of sexual activity or stimulation. The school crests were superimposed over their genital areas. The plaintiff succeeded with both claims in the High Court (Dey v Le Roux 2008-10-28 case no 21377/06 (GNP)) but
the Supreme Court of Appeal (Le Roux v Dey 2010 4 SA 210 (SCA)) held that the separate claim for insult was ill-founded because in assessing damages for defamation, the court should also take the plaintiff’s humiliation into account. The Supreme Court of Appeal nevertheless confirmed the trial court’s award of R45 000. The defendants appealed to the Constitutional Court.
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