Owners of defunct Sydney restaurant lose defamation case against food critic. Sadly, such cases are not always won by the critic
THE owners of a now defunct Sydney restaurant have lost their defamation case over a food critic's bad review. Aleksandra Gacic, her sister Ljiljana Gacic and Branislav Ciric sued publisher John Fairfax and critic Matthew Evans over the review of their restaurant Coco Roco at Sydney's King Street Wharf.
In September 2003, the Sydney Morning Herald published a review referring to "unpalatable'' dishes, describing the restaurant's overall value as "a shocker'' and scoring it 9/20 - in the "stay home'' category. The restaurant went into administration in March 2004.
The article was found to have conveyed three defamatory meanings. Firstly, that it sold some unpalatable food, secondly, that it provided some bad service, and thirdly, that the trio were incompetent restaurant owners because they employed a chef who made poor quality food.
In the NSW Supreme Court on Friday, Justice Ian Harrison delivered a verdict for the publisher and Mr Evans, ordering the trio to pay their legal costs. He found the defence of comment had been established in relation to the three meanings. He also found the defence of truth had been established in relation to some bad service.
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