Skip to main content

Dowling v. Dods


This case, the trial of which was reported in the last number of the Journal, has had a very satisfactory ending. It will be remembered that Mr. Dods gave notice to the relieving officer that Miss Dowling was insane, stating the grounds of his opinion, and stating further that if she, in her then state of mind, acted as a dispenser, she would be a danger to the community. On this notice, or certificate, as it was called, Miss Dowling sued Mr. Dods for libel, and gained damages £100. Mr. Dods, however, appealed, and applied for judgment or for a new trial, on the ground that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence, and that there being no evidence of malice the judge of first instance ought not to have left the case to the jury. The text of the decision of the Court will be found in another column, and it could not have been more satisfactory to Mr. Dods than it was. The Court found, in the first place, that the occasion was privileged, and that there was no evidence of malice to withdraw the privilege, so that the plaintiff had no case. But even if the occasion had not been privileged their lordships were of opinion that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence. The jury had found that part of the letter was true and part untrue, and that the justification which the defendant pleaded was not true. But the Court of Appeal considered such a finding was so inconsistent with the evidence that had the defendant not already succeeded upon the ground of privilege they should have sent the case down to be re-tried on the ground that there was no evidence at all upon which the jury could fairly find that the justification was not true.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 2514-9946
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 2 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 4 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 19th February 2018 - 20th March 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Dowling v. Dods

Submit a response


No eLetters have been published for this article.


Reply to: Submit a response

Your details

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *