Former NAB adviser loses defamation case against Fairfax, ABC
A former NAB financial adviser, who sued Fairfax Media and the ABC last year for defamation, has agreed to pay the media companies $200,000 in legal costs.
ifa reported in August 2015 that Graeme Cowper had brought a defamation case against Fairfax Media and the ABC for linking him to forgery and other misconduct.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Mr Cowper backed out of the case on Monday, agreeing that judgement should be entered in Fairfax and the ABC’s favour as well as agreeing to pay $200,000 in legal costs to the media companies.
According to court documents last year, Mr Cowper claimed an ABC TV report named him as one of "at least some financial planners identified in the leaked NAB report" who were involved in misconduct and are still giving advice.
Mr Cowper, however, was the only person named in the broadcast, the court documents say, and by naming him at the end of the news piece, it may have acted "like a lightning rod" for all the suspicion conveyed by the broadcast.
Mr Cowper also claimed there were implications that he was engaged in forgery in an article dealing with generic allegations of forgery and other misconduct against a number of former NAB advisers.
He further alleged that Fairfax journalist Adele Ferguson had summarised certain information in an email to Julia Quinn, director of media and community relations at AMP, where Mr Cowper worked at the time.
Mr Cowper had sought to include within the scope of damages any re-publication of the email by Ms Quinn, for which the defendants would have been liable.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the media outlets had pleaded a number of defences, such as truth and qualified privilege.
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