Yearworth v Pierce

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
Judgment Date01 January 1681
Date01 January 1681
CourtCourt of the King's Bench

English Reports Citation: 82 E.R. 900

King's Bench Division

Yearworth
and
Pierce

yearworth versus pierce. Slander. Slander. Thou art a thief, and has stollen my dung: after a verdict for the plaintiff it was moved, that the words were not actionable, because dung is an indifferent word to signifie either dung in a heap, which is a chattel, or dung spread or scattered upon the ground, which is parcel of the freehold, and then no felony may be committed of it. But upon good debate judgment was given for the plaintiff, because the first words being plainly actionable, the effect of them shall not be taken away by subsequent words ambiguous ; for when subsequent words should qualifie the words precedent, they ought to carry in them a strong intendment, that they were spoken in such a sense as was not actionable; and then also Roll held they ought to be brought in by way of explanation by the word for, as to say Thou art a thief, for thou hast, &c. but if the words are, Thou art a thief, and hast stoln, &c. there the latter words are cumulative. But Bacon denied the difference, and cited Clerk and Gilbert's case, Hob. 331. where that difference is denied, and said, that 8 Car. in the òCommon Pleas, where the words were Thou art a thief, and hast robb'd thy kinsman of his land, the Court was divided in opinion; but after upon conference with all the justices at Serjeants Inn, it was adjudged for the plaintiff. And Roll denied both those cases...

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