Defamation Win of $140,000!

Carbone Lawyers have been back in the news having won another landmark decision, this time in its service of our client and Victorian MP, Kim Wells, in a high-profile defamation case.

Mr Wells was awarded $140,000 in the County Court over defamatory posts on social media, after the defendant – a political rival of Mr Wells’ – made a post on social media in 2018 that he was “bullied, attacked, threatened and intimidated by the standing Liberal Party candidate Kim Wells”.

Carbone Lawyers commenced acting on Mr Wells’ behalf following the election in November 2018.

Defamation occurs when one party publishes material about someone that changes the way people think about them. Publishing can include anything from speaking about someone to blogging about them and includes, as was the case in this matter, social media posts.

To prove defamation has occurred, the defamed person must prove that what was published would lower their reputation in the eyes of an ordinary, reasonable person.

Carbone Lawyers successfully argued that the defendant’s publication of a series of Facebook posts which made allegations of assault against Mr Wells were defamatory and warranted a substantial award of damages to “nail the lie”.

Whilst Mr Wells would go on to win his seat in the 2018 election on the primary vote; the win was his worst voting record since first being elected in 1992.

Often termed “the father of the Legislative Assembly” thanks to his length of time in the Assembly, Mr Wells contacted Carbone Lawyers with his concerns about the comments shortly after the election in 2018.

Carbone Lawyers has worked tirelessly to help Mr Wells clear his name since our appointment, dating right back to a “Concerns Notice” that was sent to the defendant in December 2018, which sought the removal of the publications from Facebook, an apology, damages and reimbursement of costs.

The lack of an apology or willingness to pay damages saw the claim move to the County Court, where Mr Wells was delivered a favourable verdict and judgment in July 2020.

Speaking to The Age Carbone Lawyers Managing Partner Tony Carbone said he was pleased for his client, who would have accepted a sincere apology back in 2018.

Mr Wells himself said he felt vindicated by the decision.

If you believe defamatory comments have been published about you, Carbone Lawyers is here to fight for your rights.

Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can help you.

You can read the full County Court judgment here: http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/vic/VCC//2020/988.html

This article is general information only. It is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact us.