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2GB/Jason Morrison’s comments not defamatory, and Keysar Trad is “offensive”: Justice Peter McClellan

August 1st, 2009 at 12:21am

It’s great to see sense prevailing in a court, and the “truth defence” to defamation claims being accepted.

From livenews.com.au, owned by the same company as 2GB:

A defamation case taken out against Macquarie Radio by Islamic Friendship Association spokesman Keysar Trad has been dismissed, with the Supreme court judge finding he has racist views.

Two years ago it was ruled 2GB radio broadcaster Jason Morrison had defamed Mr Trad when he labelled him “gutless” and “disgraceful and dangerous” following a speech Mr Trad made over the 2005 Cronulla riots.

A Supreme Court jury found in Mr Trad’s favour.

But the jury’s decision has been effectively quashed by today’s judgement from Justice Peter McClellan.

Justice McClellan ruled that the case should be dismissed, after lawyers for 2GB argued that information claimed to be defamatory was in fact true.
[..]
“I’m satisfied that the plaintiff does hold views which can properly be described as racist.

“I’m also satisfied that he encourages others to hold those views. In particular he holds views derogatory of Jewish people.

“The views which he holds would not be acceptable to most right-thinking Australians,” Justice McClellan’s judgment said.
[..]
Mr Morrison said it is a relief the matter has finally been resolved.

“I was very pleasantly surprised. These things are tough,” he said.

“This has been hanging over me and this radio station for four years and it’s not a particularly nice assertion that’s been made, so I was very relieved at the judge’s decision.”

I was particularly interested by the audio from Jason Morrison’s press conference which was also posted on livenews.com.au, particularly this bit at the end:

Reporter: How ironic do you find it that a judge has now said in black and white that he’s [Keysar Trad] racist?

Jason Morrison: Oh, look, that for me wasn’t what it was about. I was responding to an attack on this radio station, on its broadcasters, on a quiet campaign that was out there trying to imply that we were responsible for things, and I responded to the attack. I mean some things you’ve gotta stand up for, some things you can’t just let be said, and you can’t just sort of assume that people will go and find out for themselves what the truth of the whole matter is. So you can push and push and push as much as you like and this time we just fired back.

Reporter: What sort of future do you think Mr. Trad has for him now in terms of his credibility, in terms of speaking with the media and as a representation of his…as a representative of his community?

Jason Morrison: Well I think that’s actually an issue for the press frankly. You make the judgement. You make the judgement if you think, based on that [the justice’s] judgement, that he should be continuing to be a spokesman for the community as he’s often portrayed. That’s your decision, not mine.

Reporter: From 2GB’s point of view, do you think 2GB will be using him as a spokesperson?

Jason Morrison: I don’t answer for 2GB but I answer for me, and I won’t be.

What I find most extraordinary about this though, is that the justice appears to have given Keysar Trad more of a serve than Jason ever did.

From here I hope that the appeal which Trad’s lawyers seem keen on doesn’t eventuate, and that this ridiculously unfair episode which Jason has had the misfortune of having to deal with, can be closed.

Samuel

Entry Filed under: TV/Radio/Media

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