JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Bolt found guilty of race discrimination

Date

Andrew Bolt has lost his race discrimination case in the Federal Court of Australia.

One hundred and seventy-five days after the Herald Sun columnist's defence lawyer Neil Young QC delivered the final words of his two-day closing address, Justice Mordecai Bromberg delivered a stinging judgment in which he found Bolt guilty of offences under section 18 (c) of the Racial Discrimination Act.

"I am satisfied that fair-skinned Aboriginal people (or some of them) were reasonably likely ... to have been offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated by the imputations conveyed by the newspaper articles," Justice Bromberg said to a packed courtroom in Melbourne.

Bolt huddled with his legal team after the judgment. They have previously flagged their intention to appeal in the case of a loss.

Outside court, the applicants in the case were jubilant.

The case was brought by nine "fair-skinned Aborigines," as Justice Bromberg called them, against Bolt and his employer, the Herald and Weekly Times (as publisher of the Herald Sun), over two Bolt articles published in the paper in 2009 and two posts on Bolt's blog on the paper's website.

They had argued that Bolt's writings offended, upset and demeaned them, and that the articles had sought to imply that they identified as Aborigines in order to gain career, social or other advantage.

Bolt's argument that as lighter-skinned Aborigines the nine had multiple identities open to them meant the case became unofficially a test of definitions of aboriginality.

Officially, though, it was a test of the balance between free speech and protection from offence.

This morning, Justice Bromberg came down in favour of racial tolerance.

"People should be free to fully identify with their race without fear of public disdain or loss of esteem for so identifying," he said.

"On the basis of my findings, I am satisfied that each of Mr Bolt and the Herald & Weekly Times engaged in conduct which contravened section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act."

Featured advertisers

Special offers

Credit card, savings and loan rates by Mozo