With just a few tweets about a music teacher, one Australian student cost himself $100,000 | National Post
A music teacher in has been awarded more than $100,000 in damages after a former student who “bore a grudge” wrote defamatory messages about her on Twitter and Facebook.
Andrew Farley, 20, wrote the comments about Christine Mickle, 58, who replaced his father as head of music and arts at Orange High School, New South Wales, Australia.
Farley was never taught by Miss Mickle, but posted the messages a year after graduating, suggesting she was responsible for his father standing down in 2008 for health reasons. The former student must pay Miss Mickle $105,000 (£57,000). The court ruled that the comments, which Farley posted in late 2012, had a “devastating effect” on the teacher, who took sick leave before eventually returning to work on a limited basis.
District Court Judge Michael Elkaim said: “For some reason it seems that the defendant bears a grudge against the plaintiff, apparently based on a belief that she had something to do with his father leaving the school. There is absolutely no evidence to substantiate that belief.”
The case was Australia’s first full trial over defamatory comments on Twitter.
The judge added: “When defamatory publications are made on social media it is common knowledge that they spread. Their evil lies in the grapevine effect, that stems from this type of communication.”
The Daily Telegraph