Radio broadcaster Alan Jones and his Sydney radio station 2GB’s licensee Harbour Radio and 4BC have been ordered to pay $3.7 million in damages for defamatory statements made against the Wagner brothers.
False allegations about the Grantham family
In 2014 to 2015, Mr Jones made allegations that the Wagner brothers were responsible for the deaths in Grantham in 2011 when the walls of the quarry they owned collapsed. Despite a government inquiry that cleared the family and the quarry of any role in the deaths, Jones broadcast statements about the incident over 30 times.
These statements resulted in the four brothers, John, Denis, Neill and Joe Wagner, making a defamation claim against Mr Jones and the two radio stations.
Queensland Supreme Court awards Damages
During the course of the trial, the defendants failed to establish any defence. Jones admitted in court that his comments about the Wagners were “savage” but insisted that he believed them to be true despite providing no expert evidence to back them up. This argument failed.
The Queensland Supreme Court found that Mr Jones, Harbour Radio and 4BC defamed the Wagner family by broadcasting false statements that damaged the reputation of the Wagner family.
Justice Flanagan stated that, “The defamatory broadcasts have caused each of the plaintiffs to suffer profound personal hurt and harm to their reputations, which includes their business reputations.”
Accordingly, his Honour awarded that the defendants pay $3.7 million in damages to the Wagner family. This amount has now set the record for the largest defamation payout in Australia.
Are you in need of a defamation lawyer?
O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors can assist you in suing for defamation. Our growing Sydney defamation practice has assisted many clients in successfully obtaining compensation for defamatory statements made against them.
In limited circumstances, we can run defamation cases on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis if we are satisfied that your case has a high probability of success.
Call us on (02) 9261 4281 to book a free initial consultation where our defamation lawyer can advise you on your prospects of success.