Queensland lawyer battles to be ‘hit-and-walk’, not ‘hit-and-run’ driver11th May 2021
Because two Cayman Compass articles included in the case were read online by Gold Coast resident Antony Loizou and Brisbane-based lawyer Philip Magoffin, who had earlier represented Mr Courtney when he launched the defamation case, the action was launched in Queensland.
“The gist of Mr Courtney’s complaint … is he was not a ‘hit-and-run driver’ but rather, as [Justice Thomas] Bradley observed in earlier proceedings, a ‘hit-and-walk driver’,” Justice Glenn Martin said his judgement.
“He argues that he has been damaged by the articles because the revelation [hit-and-run driver] … would cause him more damage than the truthful revelation that he was convicted of two counts of causing grievous bodily harm and reckless driving. That is fanciful.
“Mr Courtney has not complied with the order that he identify and particularise in the amended statement of claim the words of the relevant articles which are alleged to be defamatory and which he alleges give rise to each of the imputations pleaded.”
Mr Courtney had claimed nearly $5 million in damages for economic loss, but provided no evidence to link “his inability to find employment as a solicitor” and the two articles, Justice Martin said.
In the end, Justice Martin dismissed Mr Courtney’s application to strike out parts of the defence filed by website publisher Pinnacle Media Group and Cayman Compass journalist Brent Fuller.
However, Justice Martin did strike out nine paragraphs of Mr Courtney’s further amended statement of claim, as per an application launched by Pinnacle Media Group and Mr Fuller.