Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton Wins Defamation Case Over ‘Rape Apologist’ Tweet

An Australian Federal Court on Wednesday ruled in favor of Defense Minister and Queensland MP Peter Dutton and awarded him AU$35,000 ($25,000) in a defamation lawsuit against refugee advocate Shane Bazzi, who tweeted in February the MP was a “rape apologist.”

Justice Richard White ruled the tweet was defamatory, and it implied Dutton was a person who excused rape.

“I consider that the ordinary reasonable reader would have understood Bazzi to be asserting that Dutton was a person who excuses rape and that the attached link provided support for that characterization of him,” White said.

In a hearing in October, Dutton said that he was “deeply offended” by the tweet because it was the opposite of who he was.

“It went against who I am, my beliefs… it was hurtful, and I was offended by it. I do not believe this is a freedom of speech issue,” Dutton said.

Meanwhile, Bazzi tweeted they were disappointed with the outcome. 

Both parties would return to court next month to argue over costs.


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