In every action or proceeding, civil or criminal, for libel or slander, the defendant may, with his or her plea of not guilty or his answer, file a written notice that he or she will prove the truth of the publication charged as libelous, or of the words charged as slanderous, and in such case may, upon the trial, give the truth in evidence, without any special plea of justification or affirmative defense in his or her answer; and the truth, unless published or uttered from malicious motives, shall be sufficient defense to the person charged.

History of Section.
(C.P.A. 1905, § 286; G.L. 1909, ch. 288, § 2; G.L. 1923, ch. 338, § 2; G.L. 1938, ch. 520, § 2; G.L. 1956, § 9-6-9; P.L. 1965, ch. 55, § 16.)

Terms Used In Rhode Island General Laws 9-6-9. Truth as defense to libel or slander

  • answer: The formal written statement by a defendant responding to a civil complaint and setting forth the grounds for defense.
  • defendant: In a civil suit, the person complained against; in a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.
  • evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
  • person: extends to and includes co-partnerships and bodies corporate and politic. See Rhode Island General Laws 43-3-6
  • plea: In a criminal case, the defendant's statement pleading "guilty" or "not guilty" in answer to the charges, a declaration made in open court.
  • trial: A hearing that takes place when the defendant pleads "not guilty" and witnesses are required to come to court to give evidence.