Melbourne’s well-known identity, Mick Gatto lost a defamation suit against ABC, with the Victoria Supreme Court rejecting a claim for damages.
- Mr. Gatto stated that the 2019 ABC article considered him “one of Australia’s most violent criminals”
- The court ruled that the meanings alleged by Mr. Gatto have not been deciphered
- Judge Andrew Keogh said that ABC has the right to report on Gatto as a “legitimate matter of public interest”.
Mr. Gatto filed a lawsuit against the public broadcaster in 2019, after he was the subject of an article related to the lawyer X Melbourne scandal.
Mr Gatto said the article described him as a “murderer” and “one of Australia’s most violent criminals” – allegations that were rejected by Supreme Court judge Andrew Keogh.
Judge Keogh determined that the meanings alleged by Mr. Gatto were not understood, concluding that it was “neither necessary nor appropriate” to consider awarding damages.
The story in question, written by Sarah Farnsworth and former ABC reporter Nino Bucci, was published in February 2019 and remains on the public broadcaster’s website.
Police witness implicated Gatto in alleged threats
The article was based on a document that summarized police claims about the risks to Nicola Gobbo if his identity were discovered, that is, a testimony from the secret police that contained evidence from Inspector Brooke Hall.
In the 2016 court document, Inspector Hall made a statement that Informant 3838 – now known as a gang lawyer who became a police informant, Ms. Gobbo – would “almost certainly” be murdered if her former clients knew that she had been talking to the police while acting as her lawyer, and that Mick Gatto, Horty Mokbel – Tony Mokbel’s brother – and others had threatened her.
“This group specifically stated that if  were found to be a human source so [she] would be killed, “read Inspector Hall’s evidence.
The statement came from a lawsuit filed by the Victoria Police to prevent Mrs. Gobbo’s identity from being revealed.
During the trial, Gatto, 64, told the court that the article went too far and damaged his and his children’s reputation.
“They crossed the line by calling me a murderer, a murderer for hire and one of the most violent men in Australia,” said Gatto.
“There is nothing further from the truth.”
Gatto a figure of ‘public interest’, says the judge
Judge Keogh said that Gatto was a “legitimate matter of public interest”.
“ABC had the right to devote the report to those parts of the process that concerned Mr. Gatto, provided that, in doing so, the article was not so biased or biased as to make it a distorted report,” he wrote .
“Far from being distorted, the article was entirely accurate and correlated with what was happening in the parts of the Annals that were reported.”