Legal Groundup

Legal Studies from the ground up

Application Excercise 3k

Question 1

The defamatory statements in Google Inc v Trkuljawere google searches returning images of the plaintiff. The plaintiff claimed that Google had published an unfair defamatory inference that he was a serious criminal and that he associated with notorious figures in Melbourne’s criminal underworld.

The defamatory statement in Cornes v The Ten Groupwas that the plaintiff had “slept with” a person who was not her husband.

The defamatory statements in Mickle v Farley were Facebook and Twitter comments defaming Mickle as a teacher and a colleague at the school where she taught.

Question 2

In Google Inc v Trkulja , the defamatory statements were published online, as Google search results.

In Cornes v The Ten Group, the defamatory statements were published over a live broadcast of the football show ‘Before the Game’, a programme broadcast to Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth.

In Mickle v Farley, the defamatory statements were published on Facebook and Twitter.

Question 3

InGoogle Inc v Trkuljathe plaintiff claimed that as a consequence of Google’s search engine associating his name and image with the names and images of other people who had engaged in criminal activity and who had been part of Melbourne’s gangland war, his reputation was disparaged because there was an implication that he was a serious criminal.

In Cornes v The Ten Group, stating that the plaintiff had “slept with” a person who was not her husband raised an inference that the plaintiff was an unfaithful spouse and had committed adultery. This defamed the plaintiff’s character by disparaging her, and subjecting her to hatred, ridicule or contempt.

In Mickle v Farley, untrue statements were published on Facebook and Twitter defaming Mrs Mickle damaging her reputation as a music teacher. The comments had a devastating effect on Mickle, who went on sick leaveand was unable to continue teaching full time.

Question 4

InGoogle Inc v Trkulja, Google argued that its search engine had notpublished the results for the purposes of the Defamation Act 2005. It also argued that the search results were not defamatory – they did notproduce an inference that damaged Trkulja’s reputation.

In Cornes v The Ten Group, the TenGroup’s defence was that Molloy’s statement was a joke, and that no reasonable person couldhave inferred that Nicole Cornes had actually had a sexual relationship with Dew.

In Mickle v Farley, Farley firstly claimed the defence of truth. He then asserted the defence of privilege.

Question 5

Students are likely to agree with the outcomes. Responses should offer some explanation of why they agree or why they disagree. For example, students might agree with the outcome in Google Inc v Trkulja, suggesting that search results could convey defamatory imputations to an ordinary reasonable person.