Seven loses defamation case over news report

Judge finds Seven News report over lavish gift defamed wife of property developer and awards $100,000 payout.

Seven network has lost a defamation case following a 2019 Seven News report in which property developer Jean Nassif bought a “lavish gift” yellow Lamborghini for his wife, Nisserine.

The report raised questions about the legitimacy of Ms. Nassif’s Wiping Tears charity, described as having “the stated aim of helping disadvantaged families, but a look at their most recently reported financials reveals they did very little to help anyone.

“They held the Blossom Ball Fundraiser in 2016 but, despite having assets totalling $210,000, they only spent $5000.”

Ms Nassif’s lawyers claimed the report defamed her by suggesting she runs a charity that falsely claimed to help disadvantaged people.

Ms Nassif said she was uninvited from events and lost sponsors, upset that the report made her look like “a dodgy Lebanese woman….”

Yesterday Federal Court Justice Wendy Abraham found that Ms Nassif and her charity were defamed in the report but found that the defamation did not financially harm the charity – on the contrary, there was evidence that Wiping Tears raised more money at the Blossom Ball which was held after the  broadcast.

Given the lack of financial harm, Justice Adamson awarded nominal damages of $500 to the charity. She was not persuaded that Ms Nassif had established the case for aggravated damages, and awarded her $100,000.

In a statement, Ms Nassif said she was “overjoyed” by the judgment which “vindicated” her and her charity, and said the money would go to the charity’s coffers.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

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