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.

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