Mirabella payout decision today
FORMER Indi MP Sophie Mirabella will find out today the amount she will receive in damages following her successful claim against the Benalla Ensign.
Ms Mirabella’s lawyer, Georgina Schoff QC, recommended $300,000 and $400,000 be awarded in aggravated and compensatory damages after County Court judge Michael Macnamara agreed that the Benalla Ensign and its former editor Libby Price had defamed Ms Mirabella for publishing an incorrect claim that Ms Mirabella had pushed political opponent Cathy McGowan at the opening of a new wing at Cooinda Aged Care in Benalla during the federal election campaign in 2016.
David Gilbertson QC, representing Benalla Newspapers and Libby Price, said although the article was “a serious defamation”, it was at the “lower end” and suggested damages should be “well under $100,000”.
He argued the plaintiff’s comments to Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt last year that they needed to “get (their) evidence right” were an example of “disreputable conduct of sufficient seriousness to warrant Ms Mirabella being awarded moderate damage”.
County Court judge Michael Macnamara will announce his decision at 10am today.