Seven ordered to pay wife of Sydney developer $100k in defamation loss

Following the news story, Ms Nassif said she was uninvited from events and lost sponsors. She said she was also upset that the report made her look like “a dodgy Lebanese woman…who is [like] dumb.”

In a judgment published on Friday afternoon, Federal Court Justice Wendy Abraham found that Ms Nassif and her charity were defamed in the report.

Although it was a short report “and not analogous to a detailed new report on a show that deals with current affairs”, Justice Abraham said “that does not detract from the hurt endured. Nor does it lessen the persuasiveness from the viewer’s perspective.”

She described the report as “a sensationalist news story adverse to the applicants”. The fact that it ran on Seven News, “a serious news bulletin, as opposed to being social media”, led Ms Nassif to believe it would be taken more seriously than the posts that mocked her Lamborghini gift.

However, Justice Abraham found that the defamation did not financially harm the charity – on the contrary, there was evidence that Wiping Tears raised more money at the Blossom Ball which was held after the Seven News broadcast.

Given the lack of financial harm, Justice Adamson awarded nominal damages of $500 to the charity. She was not persuaded that Ms Nassif had established the case for aggravated damages, and awarded her $100,000.

In a statement, Ms Nassif said she was “overjoyed” by the judgment which “vindicated” her and her charity, and said the money would go to the charity’s coffers.

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