National

Domican gets $100,000 defamation payout

By AAP Newswire

Sydney identity Tom Domican will receive a $100,000 defamation payout after a "relatively fleeting" reference to him midway through the memoir of former nightclub boss John Ibrahim.

Mr Domican had sued Mr Ibrahim and publisher Pan Macmillan Australia in the Federal Court over his book Last King of the Cross.

In a preliminary judgment in August, Justice Michael Wigney noted the book claimed to lay bare the "incredible life" of Mr Ibrahim, who was said to be "Australia's most notorious underworld figure".

The "relatively fleeting reference" to Mr Domican in chapter 31 was sufficient to cause him to take legal action, the judge said.

Mr Domican had contended the memoir carried defamatory meanings including portraying him as a violent criminal who took part in gang wars, as being willing to kill people other than the Ibrahims, and as a criminal who engaged in supplying heroin.

On Friday, Justice John Griffiths was told the lawsuit was settled.

By consent, judgment was entered for Mr Domican against both respondents in the sum of $100,000 and they are to pay his legal costs.

Any future printings of the book will exclude any references to Mr Domican and the respondents are permanently restrained from repeating the claims in any other publication.

"I am really and truly pleased that I have been vindicated and that the court has preserved the presumption of innocence," Mr Domican later told reporters.

In a preliminary hearing in March, Mr Domican's lawyers applied to have parts of the truth defence struck out including particulars about a 1984 BBC Panorama program about the Labor Party during which he was asked about branch stacking.

Mr Domican's barrister said the only "admission" he made was of having had a cup of tea and a "happy chat" with witnesses.

In his August judgment on the application, Justice Wigney struck out various paragraphs from the defences but granted the respondents leave to file amended defences and set the trial down for March 2.

He found that Mr Domican said nothing in the 1984 interview about Labor Party branch stacking which could be taken as admitting to intimidation or thuggery.

The fact witnesses allegedly changed their evidence after Mr Domican met with them was incapable of supporting an alleged inference of violent threats or intimidation, he said.

"Needless to say, there is no suggestion that Mr Domican was investigated, let alone charged or convicted of any offence or offences arising from those alleged incidents."