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2GB and Alan Jones considering appeal against ‘disappointing’ defamation verdict

Radio presenter Alan Jones and the stations which broadcast him – Sydney’s 2GB and Brisbane’s 4BC – are “disappointed” in today’s defamation verdict which requires them to pay over $3.4m to a Queensland-based family. 

They have also announced to media they are “considering carefully their appeal options”.

Jones: Now restrained in what he can say 

A media release from parent company Macquarie Media noted injunctions restrained the radio networks from saying much more, however Jones was quoted.

“I need to read the entire judgement very carefully,” Jones said.

“I do feel that I have somehow let down the people of the Lockyer Valley who sought my assistance. As the judge found in this case, I sought to ventilate concerns expressed to me by those people.

“I am restrained in what I can say because I am now subject to injunctions and will be making no further comment.”

The Toowoomba-based Wagner family launched legal action against Jones and journalist Nick Cater, after Jones suggested the family was responsible for the deaths of 12 people in the 2011 Grantham floods, when a quarry wall owned by the family collapsed.

They also claimed Jones had said the airspace for the privately-built Wellcamp Airport at Toowoomba was approved via corrupt means. 

The verdict was handed down this morning in the Supreme Court of Queensland, where it was ruled that between October 28, 2014, and August 20, 2015, Jones has published 30 broadcasts, of which 27 can conveyed 76 defamatory imputations relating to the plaintiffs. It described the imputations as “extremely serious” and “of the gravest kind”.

The court awarded each brother $750,000 worth of damages, plus $78,102.74 in interest, in relation to 27 matters concerning 2GB and Jones. In relation to the two matters concerning Jones and 4BC, the court awarded each brother damages in the sum of $100,000, with interest of $10,643.84.

“The Supreme Court of Queensland has determined that the plaintiffs – Denis, John, Neill and Joe Wagner – have succeeded in their claims for damages for defamation against 2GB, 4BC and Alan Jones,” the court said today.

“In the result, Mr Jones, 2GB and 4BC have failed to establish any defence to the defamatory matters published,” a summary said.

Claims against journalist Cater have been dismissed.

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