"In Johnson Vs Rand Daily Mail 1928 AD 190Wessels JA at page 204, in dealing with the determination, on the trial of an action, of the meaning of words, said: 'We must not first consider how an astute lawyer or a supercritical reader, would read the passage, but how an ordinary newspaper reader would judge it. Would he in reading the words quoted attach a sinister meaning to them? By an 'ordinary newspaper reader' I presume the learned judge meant a reasonable reader of average intelligence and education."
Turning to the particulars of claim it is clear that the allegations are that the words are defamatory of plaintiff in their ordinary sense. Paragraph 8 of the particulars of claim alleges that the said articles stated or alternatively were maliciously intended to convey to the readers of the newspaper and were in fact so understood that; (I) the plaintiff was the supplier of the ceremonial uniforms for the double celebrations and smart partnership dialogue.
The articles in question only state that "The owner of the shop dealing with army uniforms, Kareem Ashraff was also contacted, but could not divulge any information."
The questions for determination are as follows:
(i) Do the articles convey the meaning or the innuendoes
attributed thereto by the plaintiff?
(ii) Can any ordinary reasonable reader reading the articles
understand them in the sense alleged by the plaintiff?