Woman receives compensation for vicious
online defamation campaign
Betty* was the target of a vicious online defamation campaign from one specific person.
By the time Betty approached O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors, there at least 14 defamatory publications online. These ranged from social media posts, fake social media profiles and posts on online gossip forums.
Elements of Defamation
1 – Matters published to third parties
The posts were published to websites where people liked and commented on the posts. Social media posts were seen by the poster’s friends and were even sent to Betty’s friends directly.
2 – Matters identified the person being defamed
The posts used Betty’s full name and photos.
3 – Matters were defamatory
The imputations of the posts included:
- Betty is a fraud;
- she makes false complaints to police;
- she faked a miscarriage;
- she is narcissistic; and
- she is a psychopath.
These posts were defamatory because they were false and disparaged Betty’s reputation in the eyes of reasonable members of the community.
Campaign of online hate
Betty was the subject of malicious targeting. Not only did she suffer defamation but also harassment online, intimidation and letters and packages were sent to her place of work.
Compensation and an Apology
Betty engaged O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors’ defamation team who sent a Concerns Notice to the poster. A Concerns Notice is a required letter under the Defamation Act 2005 (NSW).
We then successfully engaged in negotiations with the poster’s solicitor.
We negotiated a settlement where:
- All posts were deleted;
- Betty received a personal signed apology; and
- Betty received a large lump sum compensation payout.
Tabloid article removed
The original poster had also spread misinformation to a tabloid who wrote an article about Betty.
However, the article used information obtained in court. As such, the tabloid had the defence of fair reporting of public proceedings to rely upon.
Despite this, O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitor successfully negotiated with the tabloid in order for the article’s removal from the internet.
*We change names for client confidentiality