Australian man fined $105,000 in first Twitter defamation trial

GOLD COASTERS are reminded to be mindful of what they post on social media after a former NSW student was found guilty of defaming a music teacher on Twitter and ordered to pay $105,000 in damages.

Former Orange High School student Andrew Farley posted a series of defamatory comments and false allegations on Twitter and Facebook about music teacher Christine Mickle in November 2012.

Mr Farley, who graduated from the high school in 2011 and was never taught by Ms Mickle, was aged 20 at the time he made the public accusations.


He has been ordered to pay $85,000 in compensatory damages and an additional $20,000 in aggravated damages.

It’s the first Twitter defamation battle ever in Australia to proceed to a full trial.

Media law expert David Rolph, an associate professor at the University of Sydney Law School, told the Sydney Morning Herald the case reinforced that even private individuals were subject to defamation law on social media and should be careful in what they say.