A person who, without lawful excuse, publishes defamatory matter concerning another living person—
(a) knowing the matter to be false or being recklessly indifferent as to whether the matter is true or false; and
(b) intending to cause serious harm, or being recklessly indifferent as to whether the publication of the defamatory matter will cause serious harm, to a person (whether the person defamed or not),
is guilty of an offence.
Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for 3 years.
If a person charged with criminal defamation can prove that they would have had a defence to a civil claim for damages for defamation then they have a lawful excuse for this offence [s 257(2)].