Minister for Defence Peter Dutton has won a defamation case against a refugee advocate who called him a “rape apologist” on Twitter earlier this year.
Today the Federal Court found that the statements Shane Bazzi made in the since-removed tweet did contain the imputation that Dutton excuses rape, and defamed Dutton. Justice White found that Bazzi was unable to establish the defences of honest opinion and fair comment.
Bazzi has been ordered to pay compensation of $35,000 – a very low sum for a defamation case.
Dutton’s attempt to gag Bazzi from making future publications was denied by Justice White
The six-word tweet called Dutton a “rape apologist” and linked to a 2019 Guardian article that quoted Dutton, then the Home Affairs Minister, as saying some refugee women in detention on Nauru were faking rape claims in order to come to Australia.
In a later tweet Bazzi also called him a “fascist”, “fucken scumbag” and the c-bomb.
Bazzi tweeted his disappointment to the outcome this afternoon.
“We are very disappointed with the outcome. We will be taking time to consider our options. Thank you for all of your support and solidarity. I ask that you could please respect my privacy at this time,” he wrote.
Dutton is yet to publicly comment.