Is it too late for The Age to say 'sorry'? The Age has today published an apology to Noble Park grocer Antonio “Tony” Madafferi , describing him as a “hard working family man who has never been charged by the police with any criminal offence, and has no criminal convictions". In 2015, Madafferi sued the newspaper for defamation following the publication of a series of articles, beginning in 2014, by dynamic investigative duo Richard Baker and Nick McKenzie, as well as by investigative journalist Royce Millar and state political editor Josh Gordon. The articles claimed Madafferi was the head of the Calabrian mafia in Melbourne and linked him to instances of drug trafficking, extortion, bribery and murder.
The case took an interesting turn in December last year, when Madafferi’s lawyers tried to obtain a court order to compel McKenzie to reveal his sources for the articles. The attempt was rebuffed by Victorian Supreme Court judge John Dixon, who upheld the right of journalists to protect their sources in defending defamation cases. -- Dan Wood