Court finds newspaper firm guilty of defamation

National

THE Waigani National Courty has ordered a newspaper company found guilty of defaming a lawyer in an article published seven years ago to settle the damages incurred by the plaintiff.
Justice Sir Bernard Sakora found sufficient evidence that the article written by a reporter with the Post Courier on August 2, 2010, defamed lawyer Nicholas Tame, the principal of the law firm Nicholas Tame Lawyers.
Sir Bernard ordered that the damages in favour of the plaintiff be assessed at a time convenient to both parties.
The court found that the defamatory article published by the newspaper on Pages 1 and 4 on August 2, 2010 was not protected, justified or excused by law pursuant to the Defamation Act.
The court found that the Post Courier was liable for the publication of the defamatory article and ordered that the plaintiff’s cost during the proceedings be awarded against the newspaper company.
The court heard that on Aug 2, 2010, the paper published an article which asserted that lawyer Nicholas Tame and then Dei MP Puri Ruing were restrained by a National Court order from using K1.5 million in their personal bank accounts.
The court found that the article was based on orders made as a result of an ex-parte application.
Sir Bernard said the reporter should have asked for comments from the other party to balance the story before publishing it.
The court also found that the reporter had failed to name the people he interviewed when writing the article.
Sir Bernard warned that journalists should always ensure to balance their stories before publishing them because defamation was a serious offence.

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