The District Court of New South Wales has just ordered a former high school student to pay a teacher at his former high school an amount of $85,000 by way of damages for making false allegations about the teacher.
After the comments were “tweeted” on social media platform, Twitter, the teacher took sick leave and only returned to work on a limited basis last year.
The former student’s defence that his comments were true was struck out as having “no substance”.
Whilst this is the first decision to deal with comments made on Twitter, earlier defamation claims have arisen regarding comments made on Facebook.
To prove a claim in defamation, it needs to be shown that:
- the “communication” was made
- the communication identified the claimant
- the communication is defamatory (by harming the claimant’s reputation)
- there is no lawful excuse for making the communication (for example, the communication was true).
The morale of the story? Be careful what you say …..