High-profile Melbourne lawyer George Defteros can’t sue Google Australia over unflattering search results, but he will continue to chase its US parent company.
Mr Defteros tried to sue the Australian arm of the internet giant over articles linked to his time as a lawyer representing Melbourne underworld figures, including Mick Gatto, Alphonse Gangitano and Graham “The Munster” Kinniburgh.
However, Justice John Dixon threw the case out of the Victorian Supreme Court on Tuesday after he found it had no real chance of success.
Mr Defteros told AAP he will continue to pursue the US-based Google Inc after his claim against Google Australia was tossed out.
“This was a decision in relation to a Google subsidiary and the case still remains on foot against Google Inc, who is the main defendant,” Mr Defteros told AAP on Tuesday.
He argued the first page of Google search results for his name contained material that was professionally and personally defamatory.
“The plaintiff has been injured in his personal and professional reputation, and has suffered embarrassment and hurt to his feelings,” Mr Defteros argued in his writ.
He also argued Google Australia was responsible for the content found by searching his name and that the company should be considered a publisher for the purposes of defamation law.
But Justice Dixon said Google Australia had no control over the search engine, which was run by Google Inc in the United States.
“(Also) the allegation that Google Australia published the (defamatory online content) has no real prospect of success,” Justice Dixon said in his judgment.
Justice Dixon also rejected Mr Defteros’ concerns about enforcing any potential judgment against Google Inc if the company was found liable in a proceeding.
He dismissed Mr Defteros’ claims against Google Australia.