Lawyer tells judge some of Alan Jones claims are indefensible | radioinfo

Lawyer tells judge some of Alan Jones claims are indefensible

Thursday 14 June, 2018

Lawyers for Alan Jones and Macquarie Radio appear to have accepted that Jones will be found guilty of defamation in the Wagner family case.

Jones was using the defence of Opinion, but that defence for defamation requires a broadcaster to state the known true facts of an issue and to tell listeners how his honest opinion was formed from those facts.

Today in court, Macquarie Radio's lawyer Robert Anderson admitted that some of his claims about the prominent Queensland family could not be defended.

“We accept there must be awarded damages because ... there are some meanings that are not able to be defended,” said Anderson in his closing submission.

Jones is being sued for $4.8 million by the Wagner family, who claim they were accused of being responsible for 12 deaths in the 2011 Grantham floods when one of the walls of their Lockyer Valley quarry collapsed.

During proceeding yesterday Judge Flanagan warned that the Opinion defence would fail if Jones' allegedly defamatory statements were found to be substantially untrue. Expert witnesses and an official inquiry cleared the Wagner brothers of blame for the deaths, but was dismissed by Jones in his on air statements, which he based on comments from listeners and relatives of those who died. However, experts and the official inquiry report could prove that Jones' claims were 'substantially untrue.'

Macquarie Radio lawyers asked the judge to minimise damages, citing the recent case of rebel Wilson and this week's reduced damages amount after an appeal.

The hearing has concluded. A judgment is expected in September.


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