Chatroom defamation: Don’t defend and down $30,000: Leech v Green & Gold Energy Pty Ltd [2011] NSWSC 999

The plaintiff asserted he was defamed on a blog, the defendant did not appear at Court and judgment was entered in default. On assessment of the damages, which was still done unopposed, Fullerton J found that the first blog carried the following imputations:

  • the plaintiff is a stalker;
  • the plaintiff is a serial liar;
  • the plaintiff has no morals;
  • the plaintiff is not ethical.

The second blog was published on by the defendants. The judge found the following imputations from the second publication:

  • the plaintiff caused loss to the first defendant and associated entities;
  • the plaintiff committed criminal offences;
  • the plaintiff had committed criminal offences serious enough to render him subject to imprisonment;

There were further publications and imputations that:

  • the plaintiff had committed fraud;
  • the plaintiff had lied;

The judge found that the plaintiff’s conduct in criticising the defendant seemed to have been the catalyst for the defamatory remarks and there was no likelihood of further publications. Anyway, there was no evidence about the number of readers or visitors to the websites, but they were published on the Google and Yahoo websites.

At the end of the day: $25,000 damages and $5,000. Seems a bit light on for being called a fraudulent serial lying stalker that could be in jail.

And the defendants’ strategy of silence may have paid off: $30,000: they would have spent that if they briefed an SC to do their defence!