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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