News Corp’s Miranda Devine will have to pay Quaden Bayles and his family $200,000, including legal costs, after a court ruled the controversial columnist had defamed the Bayles in a series of tweets.
The Guardian is reporting that the federal court will be told on Friday that the parties have reached a settlement in their defamation case.
However, it’s unclear if News Corp will have to stump-up the cash – although, that’s the most likely scenario – as its lawyers had argued throughout the case that the tweets came from Devine’s personal twitter account and not via News Corp channels.
Back in February, nine-year-old Bayles – who has achondroplasia dwarfism – garnered international media attention when a video, shot by his mother, Yarraka, showed the young Queensland boy in distress from schoolyard bullying, ending with him saying he “wanted to die right now”.
Following the distressing video, Devine re-tweeted conspiracy theories that Bayles was actually an adult actor and the video was a “scam” to raise money.
However, last weekend, Devine, who is presently on secondment to News’ The New York Post, admitted that her reporting had been wrong and apologised to the Bayles family.
It is believed the apology was part of the settlement.
Devine’s tweet read: “In February this year I posted some comments on my personal Twitter account about Quaden Bayles and his mother Yarraka.
“I now know those comments were hurtful and untrue. I sincerely apologise to the Bayles for those comments.”
The $200,000 settlement was reached after Justice Anna Katzmann said in late August when determining preliminary issues that the Bayles had a prima facie case (in that it’s true until proven otherwise) against Devine.
The Guardian is reporting that Quaden will receive $100,000 and his mother, Yarraka, will receive a similar amount. Quaden’s settlement will be held in trust until he is 18 and the rest to be used for his care.
Court documents had previously revealed that Quaden had been diagnosed with critical respiratory failure and had been in the care of the Paediatric Palliative Care Unit at Queensland Children’s Hospital. However, the current state of his health is unclear.
Neither the Bayles, Devine or News Corp have yet publicly commented on The Guardian article.
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