Stoltenberg v Bolton; Loder v Bolton [2020] NSWCA 45 (20 March 2020) (Macfarlan JA at [1], Gleeson JA at [2], Brereton JA at [250])


Catchwords:


DEFAMATION – appeals – publication – Facebook – where defamatory posts made on public Facebook page styled “Narri Leaks” – evidence of publication – whether evidence outside particularised case – proof of extent of publication – whether respondent’s wife was acting on behalf of respondent in downloading the posts – whether answers to interrogatories evidence of proof of extent of publication – whether appropriate to draw Jones v Dunkel inference where plaintiff did not give evidence

DEFAMATION – appeals – imputations – whether error in finding three imputations were conveyed by fifth matter complained of

DEFAMATION – appeals – defences – common law qualified privilege – where posts made on public Facebook page – whether excessive publication – where posts downloaded by people outside Narrabri Shire – whether privileged occasion – whether error in rejecting defence of common law qualified privilege

DEFAMATION – appeals – defences – statutory qualified privilege – Defamation Act 2005 (NSW) s 30 – where finding that publication was unreasonable – whether presumption of honesty – significance of failure to contact plaintiff prior to publication

DEFAMATION – application for leave to appeal – publication – secondary participant in publication –whether endorsement of defamatory statements – Facebook comments – whether question of principle or of public importance involved – where small amount in issue – whether injustice if refusal of leave