The Daily Telegraph Hit With Defamation Suit Over Latest Annette Sharp Column

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B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

Sydney criminal lawyer Chris Murphy has launched defamation proceedings against News Corp’s The Daily Telegraph. He alleges the outlet as being “ravaged by age” and unfit to practise.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports lawyers for Murphy filed Federal Court proceedings last week over an October 10 column, in which Telegraph columnist Annette Sharp reported on the breakdown of his 25-year marriage to artist Agnes Bruck.

According to the Nine Entertainment outlet, it represented the second time Murphy has launched proceedings against the Telegraph over a column by Sharp, with a 2017 case settled before a trial.

In this latest case, Murphy is not reportedly suing over the reporting of his personal life, but over a paragraph that asserts the lawyer, 72, “continues to battle with the ravages of age and with it the associated deafness that has kept him from representing his clients in court during the past year”.

Murphy’s lawyers say the column conveys five false and defamatory imputations, including that “despite holding himself out as a competent lawyer, [he] was in fact so ravaged by age and deafness as to be unfit to practice”, or to represent his clients in court, The Herald reports.

Moreover, they allege that the publications suggests Murphy has “physically deteriorated” enough “that he is no longer fit” to practise law, and that he was “incapable of representing his clients’ interests” due to the so-called ravages of age.

According to The Herald, Murphy is seeking damages that include aggravated damages, and orders that the offending article be removed from the Telegraph’s website. He is also seeking that the newspaper and Sharp be permanently restrained from repeating the statements.

Murphy’s lawyers allege both the Telegraph and Sharp acted with malice.

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