Alan Jones Ordered To Pay $3.7M After Being Found Guilty Of Serious Defamation

Alan Jones and 2GB have been ordered to pay a staggering $3.7million in total to a prominent Queensland family after a court this morning found that Jones was guilty of “serious defamation” stemming from comments made on air across 2014 and 2015.

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Earlier this morning, Justice Peter Flanagan at the Brisbane Magistrates Court handed down the gargantuan penalty, ordering Jones to pay $938,746 to each of four brothers from the Wagner family: JoeJohnDennis, and Neill.

The four Toowoomba-based Wagners launched legal action against Jones amid charges that Jones had inferred they were responsible for the deaths of 12 people during the devastating 2011 Grantham floods, after a wall at a quarry owned by the brothers collapsed during the crisis.

Initially, the brothers had sued Jones, 2GB, partner stations 4BC and Harbour Radio, and journalist Nick Cater, seeking a total of $4.8million in total damages. However during the course of the seven-week trial defamation charges against Cater were dismissed.

Such was the egregiousness of the defamation, Jones’ lawyers sensationally dropped a defence of “honest opinion” late in the trial proceedings, conceding that portions of Jones remarks simply could not be defended, admitting in the process that awarded damages were, in this case, an inevitability.

Justice Flanagan ruled that Jones’ offending was of the “gravest kind” and that he had not only failed to prove their wild accusations that the Wagners had acted illegally, but that his comments were clearly motivated by “a desire to injure.”

The defamatory broadcasts have caused each of the plaintiffs to suffer profound personal hurt and harm to their reputations, which includes their business reputations.

Inquests into the floods exonerated the Wagners of any wrongdoing or culpability in the damage caused by the floods, asserting that certain sectors of the media – cough – had unfairly turned them into scapegoats.

Jones has yet to issue comment on this morning’s ruling. The Wagners championed the result outside court, labelling it an indication that “people regardless of how much influence they may consider they have will be held accountable for their words and their actions,” before presumably driving home from the courthouse in Jones’ car.