Damages for On-line Defamation – Recent Cases – July 2019 to September 2020

Recent awards of damages by courts for on-line defamation continue to serve as a warning to all using the internet that care must be taken to ensure that there is a factual basis for what is published. In Rush v Nationwide News Pty Limited (No 7) [2019] the Federal Court rejected the Respondent’s justification defence on the basis of lack of credibility of its principal witness and failure to corroborate the principal witness’ evidence, resulting in actor Geoffrey Rush being awarded almost $2.9 million in damages – including $850,000 for non-economic loss including aggravated damages – a damages award which was upheld on appeal by the Full Federal Court.

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