26 June 2015

Last week judgment was handed down in the high profile Supreme Court case of Flegg v Hallett [2015] QSC 167 with Justice Peter Lyons upholding the defamation claim made by former Queensland Government Minister Dr Bruce Flegg against his former media adviser Mr Graeme Hallett.

Cooper Grace Ward litigation partner Rocco Russo and senior associate Lisa Valentine represented Dr Flegg in the case which involved a trial over a number of weeks in late 2014.

The case involved Mr Hallett making press statements the day after the termination of his employment which the court found to be defamatory of Dr Flegg and made with malice.

Justice Lyons awarded Dr Flegg general damages of $275,000 and special damages of $500,000, in what Cooper Grace Ward understands to be the highest overall damages award in a defamation case in Queensland.

The case also involved a number of other interim judgments on important principles of law including parliamentary privilege ([2014] QSC 278) and the stay of a civil case where criminal charges have been made against the defendant ([2015] 1 Qd R 191).

Dr Flegg described the result as a very strong vindication of his position, stating to media after judgment was handed down that ‘you can hardly have a stronger vindication in a civil suit than this‘.

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