Jones begins wait on defamation decision

Warren Barnsley
Neill, Joe, Dennis and John Wagner (L-R) seek $4.8 million in damages from Alan Jones and others

Alan Jones has begun a three-month wait to find out if he owes a massive defamation payout to Queensland's prominent Wagner family.

The Brisbane Supreme Court trial has ended with the influential Sydney radio host's legal team on the backfoot having dropped his honest-opinion defence.

Jones, journalist Nick Cater, Harbour Radio and 4BC are being sued for $4.8 million by the Wagner brothers, who claim they were accused of 12 deaths in the 2011 Grantham floods when one of the walls of the Lockyer Valley quarry they owned collapsed.

Justice Peter Flanagan is set to hand down his judgment in September.

On the final day of submissions on Thursday, Jones' lawyer Robert Anderson QC argued against a Rebel Wilson-like defamation payout, with the actress initially awarded $4.5 million after being defamed by Bauer Media.

Mr Anderson said a similar payout to Wilson's original, reduced by $3.9 million on appeal on Thursday, was unjustified because Jones did not have the reach of Bauer Media.

But he revealed he will not be asking Justice Flanagan to make rulings on honest opinion after the judge warned the defence would fail if his allegedly defamatory statements were found to be substantially untrue.

Mr Anderson also admitted some claims made about the Wagner family were indefensible.

Jones and Cater's evidence is set for scrutiny after Justice Flanagan criticised their reassertion of claims about the Wagners' alleged responsibility.

He said the claims were not being based on expert opinions.