A bad 12 months for former News Corporation boss Kim Williams has had a golden lining: he’s pocketed $95,000 from Fairfax in a defamation settlement.

In consent orders from the Supreme Court of New South Wales, released today, Williams has been awarded the sum plus costs for a front-page splash in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald that claimed he had stormed out of a Sydney Opera House Trust board meeting …

The papers published a correction to the story, penned by Australian Financial Review gossip hound Joe Aston, a fortnight later retracting most of the key claims. But as Crikey reported, it wasn’t enough to appease Williams, who engaged top defamation lawyer Mark O’Brien to sue the papers and Aston. O’Brien told Crikey on October 16:

“It would have been a shorter notice if they had printed what they got right. The correction has aggravated the matter because they have admitted they got it wrong, they haven’t apologised [to Williams], and the story is still online.”

The story remains online, with a correction above it.

The case lists three defendants: Fairfax Media Publications, The Age Company and Aston.

Aston didn’t want to comment when contacted by Crikey. A spokesperson for Fairfax issued a “no comment”.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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