An Australian student is being forced to pay nearly $100,000 after doing the Internet wrong by defaming a teacher on social media. Andrew Farley, the son of the former head of music and drama at Orange High School in New South Wales, apparently “bore a grudge” against his father’s replacement, Christine Mickle.
In what sounds like an episode of Summer Heights High come to life, Farley, who was 20 at the time, published defamatory messages on Twitter and Facebook claiming that Mickle was responsible for his dad’s poor health, which led to his leaving the school in 2008. Mickle never taught the younger Farley, The Telegraph reports.
"For some reason it seems that the defendant bears a grudge against the plaintiff, apparently based on a belief that she had something to do with his father leaving the school," said district court judge Michael Elkaim. "There is absolutely no evidence to substantiate that belief."
The court ruled that Farley’s comments were “devastating” to Mickle, who left the school due to sickness before returning on a limited basis. Mickle’s lawyers sent Farley a letter in November 2012 asking him to remove the comments, which he only did after receiving a second letter the next month.