Daily Telegraph columnist Miranda Devine was “unusually” silent about the defamation case against her, which is apparently code for the fact she simply didn’t show up to the preliminary hearing today.
The defamation case is being lodged by Quaden Bayles, the nine-year-old Aboriginal boy with achondroplasia dwarfism who made headlines earlier in the year for being bullied at school.
At the time, Devine had tweeted about the possibility of the viral video being a scam, and said she was “on the case” as to whether Bayles was acting in the footage. She also retweeted claims that his mum posted the “fake video of him sobbing” in order to rack up hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations.
In court, Bayles’ barrister Sue Chrysanthou said they’ve “received absolutely no response.”
“Unusually for her, [Devine] has been silent,” she said.
“[Devine has] taken the false statement and in effect – using her profile and popularity and number of followers – given the comment huge airtime,” she said of Devine’s tweets earlier this year.
“If you get bullied just stand up for yourself.” 9-year-old Murri boy, Quaden tackles bullying head-on and receives an outstanding community response. #EXCLUSIVE #QuadenBayles pic.twitter.com/UEJBPiP1Js
— NITV (@NITV) February 21, 2020
Not only are Bayles and his family suing Devine, but they’re also suing also her employer, which at the time was News Corp arm Nationwide News.
The company’s lawyer Robert Todd said he was not acting on behalf of Devine because they consider the tweets to be “private”, and therefore unable to accept documents on her behalf.
Questions were also raised about Devine’s current working arrangement in New York City, because she is technically now employed by News America, not Nationwide News.
Devine had no problem with tweeting her opinions back in February when the video of Bayles went viral. Nowadays, when it comes to Bayles or the defamation case, it’s the one thing he Twitter profile is unusually silent about.