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Defamation and Enhanced Reputation – “Inside the Canberra Press Gallery: Life in the Wedding Cake of Old Parliament House” – Rob Chalmers

June 3rd, 2012 · No Comments · Australian Labor Party, Ethics, Journalism, Newspapers, Politics, The Law, The Media

The National Times published an interview with an American director of Morgan Stanley, Dudley Scholes, who referred to Cairns’ ‘girlfriend, Morosi’. Cairns claimed the remark gave rise to a defamatory imputation that he was ‘improperly involved with his assistant, Junie Morosi, in a romantic or sexual association contrary to the obligations of his marriage and to that of Miss Morosi’. Morosi told the jury: ‘I felt insulted, angry, upset and hurt. It was very demeaning to me as a woman [to be called a “girlfriend”].’ The jury found that the imputation did arise from the article in The National Times, but that it was not defamatory. Claiming the jury’s finding was perverse, Cairns and Morosi went to the Court of Appeal. Justice Hutley at one point remarked: ‘The fact that so intelligent and glamorous a woman as Miss Morosi [Mrs Ditchburn] developed a romantic interest in him may raise his standing in public eyes.’ Cairns and Morosi lost the appeals with costs awarded to Fairfax.

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