News Corp columnist Miranda Devine has not responded to a defamation claim brought against her by nine-year-old Indigenous boy Quaden Bayles and did not brief a lawyer to attend court, the Federal Court has heard.
Quaden, who has achondroplasia dwarfism, is suing Devine for defamation over a series of tweets from her Twitter account in February this year that raised questions about whether a viral video in which he cried after being bullied at school was "a scam" to make money.
Daily Telegraph columnist Miranda Devine is on secondment at The New York Post.Credit:Sydney Morning Herald
He said he had not been instructed to accept service of legal documents on behalf of Devine.
Ms Chrysanthou said it appeared the company "will not accept liability" for Devine.
At the centre of the defamation case is a February 21 tweet by Devine, in which she retweeted a claim from a US Twitter user that Quaden was an "Australian actor whose mom … posted a fake sobbing video of him" that reaped "$300K+ in donations".
In a comment above the retweet, Devine wrote: "That's really rotten if this was a scam. Hurts genuine bullying victims. Over to @dailytelegraph."
Another user thanked Devine for "finding out the truth", saying "I just can't grasp how truly evil this is".
Devine replied: "And coaching the kid to say those things that no nine year old would say."
The same user replied "it's a crime if it is a scam. Child abuse. How could any parent do this?"
Devine replied: "Yep. Exactly. On the case."
In the wake of the video, US comedian Brad Williams, who also has dwarfism, set up a GoFundMe page to fund a trip to Disneyland for Quaden and Yarraka. The family declined to take the trip.
Ms Chrysanthou said the "highly defamatory" tweets accused her clients of fraud.
She said Devine used her "profile and popularity" to give a tweet by a third party "huge air time".
The parties return to court at a later date.
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