High Court allows man to sue Google for defamation

Entertainment promoter Milorad Trkulja claims Google has continued to disseminate content unfairly linking him to the Melbourne criminal underworld

Entertainment promoter Milorad Trkulja claims Google has continued to disseminate content unfairly linking him to the Melbourne criminal underworld

Google searches for "Melbourne criminal underworld photos" bring up images of Trkulja alongside gangland figures Mick Gatto, Carl Williams, Chopper Reid, Mario Condello and Mark and Jason Moran, Trkulja's lawyer Guy Reynolds told the high court in March.

Milorad Trkulja - who had been shot by an unknown gunman in Melbourne in 2004 - found that Googling his name brought up images of Australian mobsters.

Google tried to block the High Court case by denying the claims that they had defamed Trkulja, and argued it had simply shared content published by others.

The images wrongly linked Mr Trkulja with crime bosses including Tony Mokbel.

In 2012, Google was ordered to pay Trkulja AU$200,000 (US$152,000) in damages after he successfully argued that he had been defamed by Google search images that implied he was part of a criminal gang and had been the target of a professional hit. A former Victorian Chief Commissioner of Police and Marlon Brando in his role as the Godfather were among the search results.

A Victorian state court had ruled against Trkulja taking further against Google, however Australia's High Court has now upheld an Trkulja's appeal, paving the way for his defamation case.

Trkulja says similar results appear in autocomplete entries alongside searches for phrases like "Melbourne underworld criminals".

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

"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.

Mr Trkulja then launched further proceedings against the online behemoth relating to images and text that he said continued to link him to underworld figures, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

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