Fairfax Media Publications Pty Ltd v Gayle; The Age Company Pty Ltd v Gayle; The Federal Capital Press of Australia Pty Ltd v Gayle [2019] NSWCA 172 (16 July 2019) (Bell P at [1]; Gleeson JA at [4]; Leeming JA at [6])


Catchwords:


DEFAMATION – application to discharge jury – whether plaintiff’s closing address went beyond pleaded case – whether submissions went beyond what had been put to witness in cross-examination – whether rule in Browne v Dunn breached – whether factual error about source of instructions to defendant – whether individual or cumulative effect of matters in closing address warranted discharge of jury

DEFAMATION – damages – aggravated damages – whether appellable error in failing to order aggravated damages – relevance of plaintiff’s failure to adduce evidence of hurt from newspapers’ publication of jury’s verdict – relevance of identification of award of damages awarded in respect of each of three defendants’ publications

DEFAMATION – statutory qualified privilege – reasonableness – whether publisher’s conduct was reasonable – whether determined by judge or jury – meaning of “general law” – whether Herald & Weekly Times Ltd v Popovic (2003) 9 VR 1; [2003] VSCA 161 clearly wrong – whether reasonableness as element of Lange qualified privilege determined by judge or jury – Defamation Act 2005 (NSW), ss 22, 30 considered