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1911 Encyclopedia Britannica
(Lat. accusatio, accusare, to challenge to a causa, a suit or trial at law), a legal term signifying the charging of another with wrong-doing, criminal or otherwise. An accusation which is made in a court of justice during legal proceedings is privileged (see Privilege), though, should the accused have been maliciously prosecuted, he will have a right to bring an action for malicious prosecution. An accusation made outside a court of justice would, if the accusation were false, render the accuser liable to an action for defamation of character, while, if the accusation be committed to writing, the writer of it is liable to indictment, whether the accusation be made only to the party accused or to a third person. A threat or conspiracy to accuse another of a crime or of misconduct which does not amount to a crime for the purpose of extortion is in itself indictable.
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Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Accusation'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/bri/a/accusation.html. 1910.