Fairfax Media Publications Pty Ltd v Chau [2020] FCAFC 48 (19 March 2020) (Besanko, Bromwich and Wheelahan JJ)


Catchwords:


DEFAMATION — appeal from orders of the primary judge that verdict and judgment be entered in favour of the respondent against the appellants in the amount of $280,000 — where the primary judge found that the matter complained of carried three of four imputations alleged by the respondent — where the appellants raised the defence of qualified privilege pursuant to s 30 of the Defamation Act 1995 (NSW) — where the primary judge rejected the contention that the appellants’ conduct in publishing the article was reasonable in the circumstances

DEFAMATION — whether the primary judge erred in holding that the appellants had failed to establish that their conduct in publishing the article was reasonable in the circumstances — whether the primary judge erred in considering each inquiry and each item of information individually without considering how they fit together as a whole — whether the primary judge erred in finding that it was doubtful that a confidential source of the second appellant existed and, if it did, that it was doubtful that it provided the information the second appellant asserted it did — whether the primary judge erred in finding that a complaint and media release by the United States Department of Justice did not provide a reasonable basis for the views held by the second appellant and the allegations contained in the matter complained of — whether the primary judge, in expressing views about whether there was a basis for the second appellant’s opinions about the respondent, erred in taking into account the fact that matters involved in those opinions were not put to the respondent in cross-examination — whether the primary judge erred in failing to take into account that the second appellant took reasonable steps to obtain and report the respondent’s side of the story

APPEALS — where the appeal to this Court is under s 24 of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 (Cth) and is by way of rehearing — consideration of the function of an appellate court in an appeal by way of rehearing

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE — whether the primary judge erred in awarding interest pursuant to s 51A(1)(b) of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 (Cth) at the rate prescribed by the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005 (NSW)