• Judge finds Wagner family was defamed during 27 broadcasts
• Defamation claims against The Australian’s Nick Cater dismissed
• Record Australian defamation payout for Alan Jones & Macquarie Media
A judge in the Supreme Court has found that broadcaster Alan Jones defamed members of the Wagner family as many as 27 times during broadcasts in 2014 and 2015.
The findings come after a seven-week trial in front of Justice Peter Flanagan, who delivered his 253-page judgment today.
Alan Jones and his employer 2GB’s Macquarie Media/Harbour Radio have been ordered to pay the Wagner family $3.3m, while Jones and another Macquarie Media station, Brisbane’s 4BC, have to pay $440,000.
Payment breakdown: Jones and 2GB ordered to pay Wagner brothers Denis, John, Neill and Joe $750,000 each plus $78,102 interest. Jones and 4BC ordered to pay the brothers $100,000 each plus $10,643 interest.
Each of the brothers will receive $940,000.
The Wagner brothers’ claim against journalist Nick Cater was dismissed by Justice Flanagan.
Macquarie Media has subsequently issued a short statement following the release of the findings:
2GB is disappointed by the decision today of the Supreme Court of Queensland. The decision follows a hard-fought legal battle between 2GB and the Queensland-based Wagner brothers, following a series of broadcasts on the Alan Jones Breakfast Show concerning the Grantham floods and the Toowoomba airport.
2GB, 4BC and Mr Jones will be considering carefully their appeal options. As injunctions now restrain them, nothing further can be said at this time.
Alan Jones said in relation to the decision:
“I need to read the entire judgment very carefully.
“I do feel that I have somehow let down the people of the Lockyer Valley who sought my assistance. As the judge found in this case, I sought to ventilate concerns expressed to me by those people.
“I am restrained in what I can say because I am now subject to injunctions and will be making no further comment.”