Former Liberal frontbencher Sophie Mirabella has recently been awarded $175,000 in damages following a defamation case where a newspaper article incorrectly stated that she pushed political rivalry Cathy McGowan out of a photo opportunity.
The maximum payout for non-economic loss in Victoria is 389,500 for defamation cases. As such, the $400,000 Sophie Mirabella was seeking was not awarded.
The trial in Wangaratta lasted six days, where it took the jury less than an hour to come to a unanimous decision that Benalla Ensign had defamed Ms Mirabella.
Following the publication of the newspaper article, Ms Mirabella’s reputation had been harmed and as a result she lost her seat. Judge McNamara who heard the case found that the incident that Benella Ensign incorrectly reported became a ‘permanent part of her image’ and that Benalla Ensign acted with a ‘degree of recklessness’ as they did not take further steps to seek a response from Ms Mirabella prior to publication.
To read the full decision of the case, click here.