Rebel Wilson back in court to fight Bauer appeal

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 19 April 2018

Rebel Wilson is back in court to defend her win after Bauer Media argued the defamation payout was excessive and breached legislative caps on damages.

Wilson returned to Melbourne courts yesterday to hear an appeal against her $4.5 million defamation payout in June last year.

Bauer Media, the publisher of Woman's Day magazine and associated websites, was found by a jury to have defamed the Australian actress star by accusing her of being a liar in several articles.

Wilson shocked the media industry when she was awarded a record breaking payout in 2017, which consisted of $650,000 in general damages and $3.9 million in special damages.

It is Australia's largest ever defamation damages payout and saw media rivals Nine, Seven, Fairfax, News Corp, Macquarie Media and the ABC attempt to join forces to contest the payout, concerned it would set a precedent for legal action in the future.

The media organisations' joint appeal was swiftly knocked back in March this year.

Bauer said in court it accepts the jury verdict but is appealing on the grounds that the payout is "manifestly excessive".

The media company, led by CEO Paul Dykzeul, believes Victorian Supreme Court Justice John Dixon made errors in fact and law in determining the payout.

Bauer's barrister Michael Wheelahan QC told the court a more reasonable figure would range between $250,000-$300,000.

The court also heard that there was insufficient evidence that Wilson had lost film roles as a result of the articles.

The hearing continues.

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