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Former New South Wales deputy premier John Barilaro has been awarded over $700,000 in his high-profile defamation case against Google.
On Monday, June 6th, a federal court judge ruled Barilaro had been left “traumatised” by a “relentless and vicious campaign” of cyberbullying led by YouTuber Friendlyjordies, otherwise known as Jordan Shanks.
Afer deciding that Google had failed to adhere to its own policies in order to prevent Shanks’ cyberbullying, the judge ordered the tech giant to pay a total figure of $715,000 to Barilaro, a number which could increase if a costs order is also made against them.
As per The Guardian, judge Stephen Rares also stated he would refer both Google and Shanks for possible contempt of court charges due to “improper pressure” placed on Barilaro during the case.
Barilaro sued Google and Shanks last year over two videos published on the Friendlyjordies YouTube channel in 2020 that accused the then-politician of corruption. He settled his federal court case against Shanks late last year after the YouTuber and comedian offered an apology and edited the videos.
According to Rares, by continuing to post on YouTube about Barilaro he had “caused him to leave public office prematurely.” After Monday’s ruling, Barilaro shared his relief at the verdict. “This brings to a close a difficult time for me and I could not have gotten to this point without the support of my family, friends and colleagues,” he said.
“All I wanted at the outset was for Google to remove these videos and they refused. It is no small undertaking for an individual to take on a company like Google but it was important that I did so. The court’s detailed and considered reasons demonstrate why a person’s right to protect their reputation is fundamental to a thriving democracy. This decision is a wonderful end to a decade of public service.”