Mar 4, 2014

Twibel Goes Down Under

On the heels of the first libel trial stemming from Twitter in the United States, there are reports that Australia had its own first "twibel" trial in November.

Unlike the American case, which ended with a verdict for defendant Courtney Love, the Australia case ended with a AU $105,000 (US $93,860) verdict for music teacher Christine Mickle over tweets and Facebook posts about her in 2012 by Andrew Farley.

According to the Central Western Daily, Farley was a student at Mickle's school, but was never in any of her classes. Mickle replaced Farley's father as the school's music teacher after the elder Farley left for health reasons.

Great Britain saw its first damage award stemming from twibel in a 2011 settlement.

Farley initially ignored a letter from Mickle's attorney, but removed the posts and apologized after a receiving a second letter. Farley responded to the case by claiming that his statements were true, but did appear at the trial after his dismissed was rejected by the court.

District Court judge Michael Elkaim noted that Farley had "abandoned his interest in the proceedings," leading the judge to award Mickle AU$20,000 in aggravated damages in addition to AU$85,000 in compensatory damages.


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