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Defamation - the dangers continue


In 2005 defamation laws were changed in Australia and it's important to note that Internet slander is on the increase and so are the court cases.  Just recently a Perth man had damages of $30,000.00, costs and a public apology to shell out (his own costs would have been close to $10,000 and go on top)... all for some defamatory comments posted on the internet.  I believe that that those wishing to post unguarded comments, not only here but on other sites really ought to read the information available before they find themselves seriously out of pocket. 

The test.  A defamatory comment can be true or false, there is very little if any defence.  The civil standard for this is very low, "on the balance of probabilities" and the plaintiff, the person defamed doesn't even have to prove that he has been diminished in the eyes of his peers.   All the plaintiff needs to do is make the claim, it's up to you to go to court potentially on the other side of the continent, and defend yourself at considerable cost.

In Dow Jones & Co. Inc. v Gutnick the pay out was astronomical by any standards.

When you boil it down to gravy, is it worth making a comment that could cost you your family home?  At the very least, to avoid going to trial you may be coerced into making an ingratiating apology and various assurances.  Please, don't take the risk.

More information can be found here: http://cyberlaw.org.au/tag/defamation/


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