News Corp Refuses To Act For Columnist Miranda Devine In Quaden Bayles Defamation Case

News Corp Refuses To Act For Columnist Miranda Devine In Quaden Bayles Defamation Case
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It appears News Corp is backing away from its controversial columnist Miranda Devine after it refused to be served court papers in her defamation case with young Indigenous boy, Quaden Bayles.

As reported on B&T earlier this month, Quaden and his mother Yarraka is suing Devine (pictured below) in the Federal Court after the News’ correspondent tweeted that viral footage of the highly distressed youngster was a “scam” to make money.

Back in February a video shot by his mother attracted global attention after it showed Quaden – who has achondroplasia dwarfism – highly distressed from schoolyard bullying and ended with the nine-year-old saying “he wanted to die right now”.

Devine, who is currently on secondment to News’ The New York Post, retweeted a post that said Quaden was an “Australian actor whose mom … posted a fake sobbing video of him” and “the MSM (mainstream media) and Hollywood fell for it and got him $300K+ in donations”.

Above her retweet, Devine wrote: “That’s really rotten if this was a scam. Hurts genuine bullying victims. Over to @dailytelegraph.”

Devine published the tweets on her own personal Twitter account and it’s unclear how and if News Corp will be implicated in the case. Devine later tweeted she was “wholly sympathetic to Quaden” and there had been a “disinformation campaign about my Quaden Bayles tweets”.

In her lawsuit, Yarraka Bayles names News Corp subsidiary Nationwide News, the publisher of The Daily Telegraph, as a defendant. Bayles’ lawyers inferring Devine’s employer is also responsible for its employees’ tweets.

On Friday, News’ lawyers told the Federal Court Devine’s tweets were “private” and unrelated to material it published.

It added that the Bayles’ lawyers would need to serve Devine the papers in New York, as it would not accept them here as it was not authorised to accept service on the columnist’s behalf.

Devine has yet to file a defence or acknowledge the claim despite Bayles’ legal team saying they had sent Devine the papers via two email addresses – a hotmail and a work email address.

In a judgement yesterday determining preliminary issues, Justice Katzmann said the Bayles had a prima facie case (in that it’s true until proven otherwise) against Devine.

But Justice Katzmann knocked back an attempt to have the court rule it was not practicable to serve US-based Devine personally – a bureaucratic process that can take months.

Court documents also revealed that Quaden has been diagnosed with critical respiratory failure and is currently in the care of the Paediatric Palliative Care Unit at Queensland Children’s Hospital.

The court also heard that Quaden and his mother had received death threats following a “false and malicious internet conspiracy” and, because of it, he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety, the lawyer said.

 

 

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