Judge plans to dismiss John Barilaro’s YouTube videos on contempt charges
In the December video, which was played in court, Mr Shanks suggested Mr Barilaro’s lawyers potentially misled Google by submitting false statutory declarations out of ‘deliberate and flagrant dishonesty’ or ‘gross lack of diligence’. reasonable”.
Mr Shanks claimed in the video that if the lawyers wanted to retain ‘even an ounce of credibility’ they should withdraw the defamation case and ‘apologize to anyone they have misled “.
Judge Rares said he had previously jailed a man in a similar “serious contempt” case, where the man made comments on Twitter that criticized the other side’s lawyers in an ongoing court case.
Another video uploaded by Mr Shanks, which Google was alerted to and did not remove, called Mr Barilaro’s lawyer ‘f— stupid’ and suggested he had broken the rules conduct of Australian lawyers by writing “private and confidential” on a document.
Judge Rares said it was “amazing that Google behaves this way, I’m just completely stunned”.
“I’m quite shocked by the behavior,” he said. “[Google] know the law of contempt – or they should. “
Mr. Barilaro’s lawyer, Sue Chrysanthou, SC, previously said that one of the “absurd” videos made “indefensible defamatory attacks” against Mr. Barilaro’s legal team, and lawyers advising Google would have known that the statements it contained were false.
In her final submissions, Ms Chrysanthou said her client was entitled to a large “overall figure” of damages in the case, to defend his reputation and compensate him for the “enormous amounts of hatred” incited towards him and to anyone associated with him.
She said Google recognized for the first time this week “how despicable these videos are” through questions posed by her attorney in court.
Ms. Chrysanthou said Google’s conduct in the case, including dropping all of its defenses so close to trial and implying during questioning that Mr. Barilaro had lied to the ICAC, meant that its client was entitled to aggravated damages beyond the legal cap of $432,500.
She described damages paid in other cases, including one where a surgeon was paid $530,000 for a bogus Google review.
“This is a very, very extreme case – if not one of the most extreme – of reputational damage, given the comments Your Honor has in evidence and the attacks on my client and the messages that ‘he received,” Ms. Chrysanthou said. .
“His reputation has been ruined, and we demand compensation for that.”
Google lawyer James Hmelnitsky, SC, said it should not be forgotten that the harm caused to Mr. Barilaro began months before December 2020, when his client became the publisher of the videos by refusing to publish them. remove.
“[Mr Barilaro] is rightly aggrieved by the conduct of Mr. Shanks,” Mr. Hmelnitsky said.
He said an injunction should not be issued against his client because there was no suggestion that Google would defame Mr Barilaro in the future.
Judge Rares will deliver his judgment at a later date.
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