ABC Loses Defamation Case


30 May 2003 Media Article

A NSW Supreme Court jury today found ABC’s Four Corners program defamed a well-known mountaineer by implying he used his influence to recruit students to an alleged cυlt.


A jury of three men and a woman found an ABC Four Corners program aired on April 24, 1995, defamed mountaineer Tim Macartney-Snape by implying he abused his position of influence to recruit students to the ideas of his friend, Jeremy Griffith.


Mr Macartney-Snape and Mr Griffith are co-directors of an organisation called Foundation for Humanity’s Adulthood (FHA).


During the trial, the court heard Mr Griffith was a biologist who had written a book about the human condition that sparked the formation of the FHA.


The jury also found the Four Corners program defamed Mr Macartney-Snape by implying he deceived schools which invited him to talk about Mt Everest by exploiting the occasion to promote Mr Griffith’s ideas.


Mr Griffith was also found to be defamed by Four Corners for implying that his work as a scientist was of such a poor standard that it had no support from the scientific community…


Outside the court, Mr Macartney-Snape said he was relieved with the verdict which he said would help him to restore his reputation.


“I’m extremely relieved. It’s been eight years now that I’ve had to live under a stigma which they unfairly put on us and me,” he told AAP.


“It has affected me in many ways, professionally, personally, socially.”


Mr Griffith said the verdict was a vindication of his work.


“This vindicates us,” he said.


“Science underpins the whole thing and it’s on that imputation that we were successful.”


Six other members of the organisation were unsuccessful in their action against Four Corners.


Justice David Levine stood the matter over for directions on June 13.


Source: From The Australian newspaper’s website 30/05/2003