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Appeals    September 30, 2016  
Father John Fleming v Advertiser-News Weekend Publishing Company Pty Ltd & Anor

Catholic priest loses appeal over the dismissal of his defamation action … The trial judge had “clear and cogent evidence” upon which to base “compelling” truth findings for the plaintiff’s sexual misconduct, including that he had sexual relations with a teenage girl ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    September 28, 2016   thumbnail
Internet defamation and the liability of intermediaries

A recent High Court of Ireland decision resulted in Facebook being ordered to identify a pseudonymous account holder … Take down and injunction applications were denied … Associate Professor at Trinity College Dublin’s School of Law, Dr Eoin O’Dell analyses the latest word on internet defamation, intermediaries and liability ... more

Injunctions    September 26, 2016  
Dr Munjed Al Muderis v Rodney Duncan & Ors

NSW Supreme Court grants interim injunctive relief over the publication of a website attacking an orthopaedic surgeon … The defendants are ordered to suspend a domain name almost identical to his professional website address ... more

Dossier    September 23, 2016   thumbnail
Here come de (former) judge

“Arrogant”, “high-handed”, “insulting”, “derisory” etc etc … Former Federal Court Judge Tony Whitlam lets fly with some adjectival opprobrium in his claim against the ABC over a story involving paedophile priest John Farrell … Plaintiff who was awarded $150,000 over Facebook “paedophile” defamation gets indemnity costs ... more

Injunctions    September 22, 2016  
Geoffrey Murphy v Michael Barfield

Dispute over monies owed by a Rockhampton building company ends in defamation action and an application for an interlocutory injunction … The QLD District Court refuses to restrain a man whose truck displays defamatory signs in the interests of free speech ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    September 19, 2016   thumbnail
Social media, defamation law, free speech and the need for reform

Social media has made everyone a publisher, but it puts free speech at risk, particularly in Australia, where discussion has been too narrowly focused on section 18C, says Sydney University media law academic Dr David Rolph ... Reform of our defamation laws is needed ... more

Comment    September 16, 2016  
Natalie O'Brien v Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Important judgment for the ABC … NSW Supreme Court Justice Lucy McCallum finds Media Watch segment is defensible as fair comment in the public interest and as honest opinion … Defamation action brought by a journalist it accused of “trickery” and irresponsibility fails ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    September 14, 2016   thumbnail
Recent developments in UK media law

Leading UK media lawyer John Battle “wowed” an audience of Australian lawyers at a Communications and Media Law Association seminar on recent developments in UK media law … Justin Pen was there to report the action, and reaction ... more

Privilege    September 13, 2016  
Stephen Templar v Dr Phillip Watt & Anor (No 3)

Defamation action brought by a health service provider against a government paediatric specialist over an email ends in a verdict for the defendants … Most of the imputations pleaded were “pitched too high” and qualified privilege is made out ... more

Interlocutory    September 12, 2016   thumbnail
Lloyd Rayney v The State of Western Australia (No 7)

A Perth barrister who was acquitted of murdering his wife wins his application for a judge-alone defamation trial … There was too much adverse publicity for Lloyd Rayney to receive a fair jury trial … Jonelle Di Lena reports ... more

Interlocutory    September 12, 2016  
David Hall v TCN Channel Nine Pty Ltd & Anor (No 2)

Another defamation action brought by a (largely) self-represented plaintiff is dismissed for lack of compliance … After several years in the courts, Channel Nine is off the hook over “banned builder” Current Affair story ... more

Dossier    September 9, 2016   thumbnail
Rebel without a cause

The journalist who was wrongly targeted by Australian comic actress Rebel Wilson in a vitriolic twitter attack is returning fire with a defamation action claiming aggravated damages … Three (unrelated) Wilsons involved in mistaken identity case ... more

Appeals    September 8, 2016  
Andrew Cornwell v Channel Seven Sydney Pty Ltd

Former NSW Liberal MP Andrew Cornwell loses appeal over a contextual truth imputation pleaded by Channel Seven … A jury could find him “dishonest” generally, as well as “in addition to” specific forms of misconduct ... more

Seminars, interviews & commentary    September 5, 2016   thumbnail
Practice Notes - Richard Potter

He’s legalled (and defended) some of the most contentious books published in Australia in the last 20 years … Richard Potter talks about his experiences and about journalism, social media, the single publication rule, the contextual truth defence, section 18C and more in this interview ... more

Appeals    September 2, 2016  
Bassem Abou-Lokmeh v Harbour Radio Pty Ltd

Appeal to strike out contextual truth and “reply to attack” defences fails on all grounds … NSW Court of Appeal determines that the “reply to attack” defence includes third parties … Naaman Zhou reports ... more

Media Matters    September 2, 2016   thumbnail
Special leave submissions: Journalists' sources (Reply)

The High Court of Australia will soon decide whether Chinese-Australian businesswoman Helen Liu can learn the identity of sources for an Age investigation which accused her of bribing the then Labor defence minister Joel Fitzgibbon … An important judgment for freedom of the press … Read The Age’s submissions in reply in full ... more

Interlocutory    September 1, 2016  
Serge Benhayon v Esther Rockett

A blogger who posted and tweeted items critical of an “esoteric cult leader” has held onto her contextual truth defence … Justice Lucy McCallum finds six imputations capable of arising, and the plaintiff concedes another ... more

Dossier    August 30, 2016   thumbnail
Oiling troubled waters

Another former Leightons big-wig sues Fairfax over the series exposing (alleged) bribery and corruption … Prison guard takes action over report of her alleged affair with “one-punch” killer … Alleged celebrity property seller takes on A Current Affair ... Racing NSW boss sues over report based on court judgment … Settlements for greyhound trainers, turf club identities and an Olympic gold medallist ... more

Costs    August 30, 2016  
Stephen Dank v Nine Network Australia Pty Ltd

NSW Defamation List Judge Lucy McCallum refuses to grant the Nine Network security for costs from Stephen Dank, despite his “comprehensive loss” against Nationwide News … Guardian Australia fails to get indemnity costs from a man whose action was permanently stayed ... more

Media Matters    August 29, 2016   thumbnail
Hughes on defamation

Gorton v ABC, Punch v Fairfax, Lloyd v David Syme, Austin v Daily Mirror, Seidler v Fairfax, Makim v Nationwide News, Carson v Fairfax, Ettingshausen, Rivkin, Mercedes Corby ... Richard Ackland reviews Tom Hughes QC’s great sprawling life at the defamation bar ... more

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