Dutton's $35k defamation win appealed

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Peter Dutton's defamation victory over a six-word tweet will be appealed.

O'Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors confirmed a notice to appeal was lodged on Monday on behalf of refugee advocate Shane Bazzi.

Mr Bazzi was ordered to pay $35,000 in damages and some of Mr Dutton's legal costs after using Twitter in February to label the defence minister "a rape apologist".

The since-deleted post contained a link to a 2019 news article quoting Mr Dutton saying some refugee women on Nauru who complained of rape were "trying it on" in order to come to Australia.

Mr Bazzi, through his lawyer, said he was expressing his honestly held opinion that was based on fact.

But the Federal Court determined the tweet went beyond the facts of the article, which concerned Mr Dutton's questioning of the bona fides of the women's claims.

"This is a different subject matter than diminishing the significance of rape, or not treating it seriously when it occurs, or any action which involves excusing rape," Justice Richard White said in written reasons.

A defence of fair comment on a matter of public interest also failed.

It was not a complete victory for the Queensland MP however, with his claim for indemnity costs rejected on December 8.

Justice White ordered Mr Bazzi pay Mr Dutton's costs on a scale equitable as if the lawsuit was filed in a Queensland magistrates court, querying why the member for Dickson had not done so.

"Just because it involves a national figure doesn't mean it's a matter of national importance," the judge said.

Mr Dutton, a father of three and former police officer, told the court in October he was "deeply offended" by the tweet because it was the opposite of who he was.

The appeal is expected to be heard in 2022.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting