Gluyas v Best: autistic blogger wins defamation suit
Posted Feb 14 2013 12:48pm
Long time readers of this site may recall the name John Best. Mr. Best was a very active participant on online discussions, including this blog. Mr. Best is a staunch believer in the notion that autism is mercury poisoning and that chelation is the cure.
Over time Mr. Best’s activities have, in my opinion, increasingly focused on attacking people. For example, Phil Gluyas, an Australian autistic blogger .
Examples of blog posts Mr. Best has published include:
“Is Phil Gluyas the next Adam Lanza?”
“Phil Gluyas’ history of brutality”
“Severely deranged mental case sues me again”
For those familiar with John Best, a defamation case is not surprising. For those who are not familiar with Mr. Best, count yourself lucky.
The judge found in favor of Mr. Gluyas:
The defendant’s responses to the plaintiff’s views have gone well beyond the bounds of ordinary discussion and intellectual debate. The items posted by the defendant on the internet, concerning the plaintiff, contain an extraordinary level of invective and personal denigration, which, in some measure, have been repeated in two letters which he has forwarded to the court in response to the proceedings served on him.
and Mr. Best did not argue that his statements are true:
Taken together, the article, and the imputations to be derived from them, are highly defamatory of the plaintiff. Again, the defendant has not sought to plead and prove the truth of any of those allegations. As such, each of the allegations by him about the plaintiff are false.
This, and much more, led to Mr. Best losing the defamation suit. Instead of the originally requested $10,000, the judge awarded $50,000. With a comment that he could have gone even higher:
Taking into account the foregoing considerations, I consider that it is appropriate to award the plaintiff the sum of $50,000 damages to compensate him for the publications made by the defendant of the plaintiff in Victoria. I should add that, if I had been satisfied that the publication in Victoria of the items, of which the plaintiff complained, had been more widespread than that proven in the evidence, I would have awarded the plaintiff a considerably larger sum of damages
I fear that the ability of someone finding Mr. Best capable of paying anything, much less $50,000, is slim. Accomplishing that from Australia might be even more difficult. It is an attempt to get blood from a turnip. But, Mr. Gluyas has been awarded the right to draw blood from this turnip and that alone is a victory.
There is room to be critical of the actions of others online. John Best crossed that line. To quote the TV show “Friends”, “you’re so far past the line that you can’t even see the line! The line is a dot to you!”