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the state of mind that accompanies the intentional doing of a wrongful act without justification and in wanton or willful disregard of the plain likelihood that harm will result.
With respect to slander and libel, malice is the mental state that accompanies a false statement when the maker knows it to be false or when the maker recklessly disregards the truth or falsity of it. Tort liability may also attend the malicious disclosure of true but private facts.
In malicious prosecution, there is intent to institute a prosecution for a purpose other than bringing an offender to justice. Source: Barron's Dictionary of Legal Terms, Steven H. Gifis, 5th Edition; © 2016