Sydney radio broadcaster Alan Jones and his employer were ordered to pay a record $ 3.7 million in damages for defaming the Queensland brothers by claiming they were responsible for 12 deaths in the Lockyer Valley floods in 2011 .
The 2GB breakfast presenter, Harbor Radio and its sister station 4BC were sued by the prominent Wagner family, who say they were blamed for the deaths in Grantham, southwest of Brisbane, when one of the quarry walls they owned collapsed .
Queensland Supreme Court judge Peter Flanagan dismissed the complaint against journalist Nick Cater, conservative columnist for The Australian newspaper, for delivering the record for Australian defamation payments on Wednesday.
Sydney radio broadcaster Alan Jones and his employer were ordered to pay a record $ 3.7 million in compensation for defacing a Queensland family
The brothers John, Denis, Neill and Joe Wagner had asked for $ 1.2 million each from the four defendants.
In a summary of his trial, Judge Flanagan said the defamatory comments were "extremely serious and of the most serious kind."
He said Jones, Harbor Radio and 4BC had not been able to establish any defense to any of the defamatory issues published.
Sydney's best-rated 2GB breakfast program also airs in Brisbane.
He noticed the effect that the comments had on the Wagners.
The 2GB breakfast presenter, Harbor Radio and its sister station 4BC were sued by the prominent Wagner family, who say they were blamed for the flood deaths in Grantham in 2011.
"Before the publication of defamatory transmissions, each claimant enjoyed an excellent reputation for honesty and integrity, both in business and community circles," he wrote.
"The publication of the defamatory broadcasts was very extensive.
"Defamatory transmissions have caused each of the plaintiffs to suffer profound personal harm and damage to their reputations, which includes their commercial reputation."
The payment breaks the previous Australian record for defamation, with $ 2.62 million awarded to Perth lawyer Lloyd Rayney last year after the police defamed him by naming him the "main" and "only" suspect in the murder of his wife, Corryn.