TRThere are criminal penalties and civil remedies for defamation and the laws apply to all forms of communication, including social media.

Under s529(3) of the Crimes Act 1900, it is an offence to publish, without lawful excuse, a matter defamatory to another person knowing the matter to be false, and with intent to cause serious harm, or being reckless as to whether such harm has been caused.

The offence of defamation carries a maximum penalty of 3 years imprisonment.

In accordance with the Defamation Act 2005 defamation is a tort for which damages can be recovered. As indicated in the case of Mickle v Farley in which the NSW District Court awarded damages in the sum of $105,000 for defamatory comments posted on a social medial site, you must think before you post.

Contrary to popular belief freedom of speech and freedom of expression does not give you immunity to make unfounded or baseless accusations or allegations.

For example;

  • you cannot vindicate someone’s reputation
  • ridicule
  • or accuse someone of committing a crime.

The things you post on social media must either be true, or a comment based on fact.

If you need advice in relation to a defamation matter, the experienced solicitors at Everingham Solomons can assist you because Helping You is Our Business.

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