Alan Jones’ lawyers drop honest opinion defence in defamation case

Former Assistant Editor

Legal counsel for Alan Jones has dropped his honest opinion defence in a defamation lawsuit against the broadcaster.

News Corp reports that Macquarie Radio lawyer Robert Anderson dropped the defence yesterday in court, after Brisbane Supreme Court Justice Peter Flanagan warned Anderson that the opinion defence would fail if Jones’ statements were found to be substantially untrue.

Jones, along with journalist Nick Cater, Harbour Radio and 4BC, is being sued for 4.8 million by the John, Denis and Joe Wagner for defamation.

The Wagner brothers say Jones wrongfully accused them of 12 deaths that occurred in 2011 during floods in Grantham when a wall of their Lockyer Valley quarry caved in.

The Wagner brothers were cleared of blame for the deaths during an official inquiry, but Jones dismissed this on-air and inferred blame on the family.

Anderson admitted in court on Thursday that some of the claims his client made about the brothers were insensible.

“We accept there must be awarded damages because … there are some meanings that are not able to be defended,” said Anderson.

Anderson also argued that the accused should not face a similar payout to Rebel Wilson‘s record $4.5 million defamation pay out (which has since been reduced).

Judgement is expected to be delivered in September.

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