Former News CEO Kim Williams wins $95,000 in Fairfax libel action

Kim WilliamsFairfax Media and its columnist Joe Aston have been ordered to pay former News Corp Australia CEO Kim Williams $95,000, documents filed with the NSW Supreme Court show.

Mumbrella understands that consent orders issued  by the court today show the publisher has agreed to pay Williams the amount in a defamation case over a report that incorrectly claimed he had stormed out of a meeting of the Sydney Opera House Trust, which he used to chair.

In October last year, Williams commenced proceedings against Fairfax Media following a report by Australian Financial Review Rear Window columnist Aston, published on the front page of The Australian Financial Review, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

The September 30 report was followed two weeks later by an correction which retracted much of the substance of the report.

The incorrect Sydney Morning Herald and AFR front pages

The incorrect Sydney Morning Herald and AFR front pages

The Herald correction run on page two, stated:

An article on September 30 contained the following inaccurate statements: That Kim Williams stormed out of a meeting of the Opera House Trustees on September 17 in disgust at chief executive Louise Herron’s management of the tender for the Bennelong restaurant space; that Mr Williams said of Ms Herron in the meeting ‘I am over you’; that Mr Williams tendered his resignation as chairman shortly after the meeting; that the trustees implored Ms Herron to re-engage with Guillaume Brahimi; that the Opera House director of enterprises, David Watson, was a senior lawyer at Mars Group’s dog food business before joining the Opera House; and that Sydney Opera House engaged consultants from Mars Group. The Herald apologises for these errors.

Despite this action Fairfax was unable to avoid defamation proceedings. Fairfax will also pay Williams’ costs.

A Fairfax spokesperson said: “No comment”.Consent 1Consent 2Consent 3



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