The statement itself was defamatory. This means that the statement would be likely to degrade the person concerned in the estimation of what a Court would call "right thinking people". A mere insult is insufficient
That these statements had been communicated to a third person. If someone had simply insulted someone to their face this would not entitle them to sue
That it would be possible to identify the individual from the statements
Libel: in which the publication of an untrue allegation causes damage to reputation
Slander: in which the damaging allegation is by way of an untrue oral statement
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