Australian official wins defamation lawsuit against refugee activist

Australia's defense minister won a defamation lawsuit on Wednesday after a refugee activist called him a "rape apologist" on social media. 

A federal court judge ruled in Peter Dutton's favor after a staff member's tweet about him in February. 

In his case, Dutton said he was used to the "rough-and-tumble of politics" but "deeply offended by the tweet," court documents showed.


The lawsuit began over a late-night tweet from activist Shane Bazzi, which included a link to a 2019 article in which Dutton said refugees alleged that they were rape victims in an effort to be permitted into Australia. His tweet also said, "Peter Dutton is a rape apologist," the judgement said.

Dutton was awarded the equivalent of $25,000 in damages. The amount was not near the maximum compensation he could have received, because the judge determined that Dutton's daily life was not affected by the since-deleted tweet, Reuters reported

The judge said that "description of Mr Dutton as a person who excuses rape was no doubt a serious defamation" but "he did not claim to have suffered more serious consequences by reason of the publication of the Tweet or even that his hurt and distress had continued to the date of trial." 

Bazzi said he was "very disappointed with the outcome," Reuters added.