Jordan Shanks apologises to John Barilaro as defamation case settles out of court

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The case was set down for trial in March next year. However, a settlement was reached shortly after the parties attended a mediation last week.

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Under the terms of the settlement, Mr Shanks will apologise, pay $100,000 of legal costs, edit the two videos, and undertake that he will not publish claims about Mr Barilaro’s private life.

The court costs relate to Mr Shanks’ failed bid to have the trial heard by a jury, and a preliminary argument which excluded parts of Mr Shanks’ defence due to parliamentary privilege.

Mr Shanks will also stop selling merchandise which features Mr Barilaro, including t-shirts and a cartoon depiction of Mr Barilaro as a scrotum.

Although the case against Mr Shanks has settled, the defamation case against Google will continue. Google has indicated it will argue the defences of qualified privilege, honest opinion, and public interest.

Mr Shanks’ lawyer Mark Davis said his client “will not be paying a cent in damages”. He said Mr Shanks is prepared to give evidence at trial to support Google’s case.

In their defence, lawyers for Google deny that the videos defamed Mr Barilaro in the way he suggests and argue that they refer to “information, opinions and arguments concerning government and political matters affecting the people of Australia”.

“[Google] had a duty or interest, legal, social or moral, to publish the information in the matters complained of, and the recipients had a reciprocal duty or interest to receive such information,” Google argues in court documents.

The internet conglomerate argues it has taken “reasonable steps” in the case, including blocking a video titled “I called John Barilaro … he answered” following a complaint by Mr Barilaro, because the contents of the video appeared to be an unsubstantiated rumour.

Justice Steven Rares congratulated Mr Shanks and Mr Barilaro on reaching a resolution in their dispute.

The matter will return to court later this month to prepare for the trial involving Google.

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