Australian Olympic cyclist wins $175,000 in defamation case

Let's be careful what we say about drug cheating cyclists, people

by nick_rearden   April 27, 2010  

road.cc news

Track sprinter Mark French has been awarded $175,000 in damages after he sued the Melbourne newspaper Herald and Weekly Times for defamation.

The former junior world champion was banned from cycling for two years in 2004 and also suffered a lifetime Olympics suspension because of doping offences but was cleared on appeal the following year.

He subsequently returned to cycling for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and came 4th and 13th in the team and individual sprints, respectively.

French, 25, sued the Herald and Weekly Times for damages in the Victorian Supreme Court over two articles published in the Herald Sun newspaper in August 2004, which he claims labelled him a disgraced drug cheat.

Earlier today, according to the Sydney Morning Herald Justice David Beach awarded French $175,000 in damages, plus costs.

Outside court his solicitor, Michael Main, said Mr French was happy with the outcome. "He was very relieved that the case was over and that he had been vindicated," the solicitor told reporters.

Mr French had previously also successfully sued radio station Triple M in 2008 for defamation after he was described on air as a "dirty, stinking, dobbing cyclist". In that case, he was awarded $350,000 in damages, plus costs.

2 user comments

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So, if I read this right, he was banned for doping and whilst banned he was called a 'disgraced drug cheat' and then a year later the ban was overturned.

And now, some 5 years later he gets damages for what exactly?

I can understand the damages paid by the radio station because they made their remarks after he had been cleared on appeal which I presume said he didn't do drugs and wasn't a cheat.

What is it with the Aussie judicial system that makes it more perverse than our own? Thinking

Did Nightrider 2013 for Parkinson's UK, doing it again this year just for the fun of it and to raise more money.

jova54's picture

posted by jova54 [584 posts]
27th April 2010 - 11:54

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How much money did he make from cycling vs court settlements?
Is this a viable career?
Maybe I just need to make it look like I am doping then get vindicated and sue everyone who calls me names?

Only problem I have is getting good enough to enter an event where they can be bothered to test me...

posted by guidob [54 posts]
28th April 2010 - 11:06

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