I wouldn’t say I “drove” Mr Richard to sue for libel; there was in me no urge to be sued, and nor had I any interest in conflict (unlike, say, my late father). The review in question – which, implausibly enough, continues to be discussed – was noteworthy only for the fact that it was greenlighted by editors. I knew nothing of libel at the time; I was, if I recall, eighteen or so years of age, with no journalistic training, but my editors should have known better. The way I described Mr Richard was, in part, funny – he later graciously acknowledged it as such – but the review was dislocated and I was importunate in my intensity. I simply documented my fever with no consideration of the repercussions; this was what I then understood as my brief. No provocation was involved. My father’s war with WCP, on the other hand, was a different matter.
- excerpt from NSW Supreme Court judge Hon. R. I. Barrett’s 2015 address to the Law Council.