Australian to sue Google for defamation over search results

Ceria Alfonso
Junio 13, 2018

The high court disputed that ruling in a judgment on Wednesday and ordered Google to pay Trkulja's legal costs.

Melbourne man Milorad "Michael" Trkulja has won his high court battle to sue the search engine Google for defamation over images and search results that link him to the Melbourne criminal underworld. They also argued that Trkulja was not defamed, as not all of the images were of criminal figures.

Trkulja was shot in the back in a Melbourne restaurant by an unknown gunman.

The defamation suit is expected to go back to the Victoria Supreme Court for trial.

Four years later the Victorian Court of Appeal overturned the decision, finding the case had no prospect of successfully proving defamation.

Google settled with British businessman Daniel Hegglin in 2015 after the former Morgan Stanley banker alleged that defamatory search results described him as a paedophile and murderer, according to the BBC.

He wants to sue Google for defamation after discovering that searches for his name brought up images of mob figures due to the shooting coinciding with gangland activity in the city.

Milorad Trkuja
Camera Icon Milorad Trkuja

At least some search results for Trkulja "had the capacity to convey. that the appellant was somehow associated with the Melbourne criminal underworld", the court said.

He began another proceeding after alleging that defamatory text, autocomplete predictions and images showed him alongside convicted felons when searching phrases such as "Melbourne underworld criminals".

Most of us have a sly Google search of our names once in a while - but one man got the fright of his life when he searched his name.

"I'm not a criminal, I've never been involved and I will make sure these people are not going to ruin my family - I have grandchildren", he told AAP.

"I will sue Google ... and I will sue them til they stop".

"It would be open to a jury to conclude that an ordinary reasonable person using the Google search engine would infer that the persons pictured whose identities are unknown are persons, like the notorious criminals with whom they are pictured, in some fashion opprobriously connected with criminality and the Melbourne criminal underworld", the judgment said.

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