Radio commentator Ray Hadley has been ordered to pay $280,000 in damages to a north-west Sydney fish and chip shop owner whom he described as "vile" and a "grub" during a defamatory on-air tirade, with the judge expressing the hope that the broadcast would now be laid to rest "in the gutter from which it came".
Hadley publicly attacked Kim Ahmed over her decision to stand by her husband, Emran, after he was convicted of indecently assaulting a teenage girl at Seafood Lovers, the shop they owned at the Carlingford Court shopping centre.
The girl, an HSC student, was working for him.
"If this bloke [Emran Ahmed] has any connection with [the fish shop] and his grub of a wife, they should completely and utterly be sent out of business," Hadley told 2GB listeners in 2007.
He later described an AVO complaint Ms Ahmed took out against the teenager's father as "frivolous, vexatious and without substance", describing her as "a silly woman".
Ms Ahmed said the broadcasts had "destroyed" her "excellent reputation" and this month a jury agreed, upholding her claim for defamation.
On Thursday, acting Justice Henric Nicholas ordered Hadley to pay $280,000 in damages for the two broadcasts, and left open the possibility that he would also have to pay interest on this sum, as well as Ms Ahmed's legal costs, likely to run into tens of thousands of dollars.
"The publicly inflicted harm entitles her to an award which vindicates her reputation and marks the baselessness of the defamation," acting Justice Nicholas said.
"An award of the court which operates to vindicate her reputation should enable the plaintiff to lay this broadcast to rest in the gutter from which it came."
Speaking outside court, Ms Ahmed said she felt "very vindicated" by the decision.
"They ran with the claim that I had a bad reputation right up until two weeks before the trial," she said.
"I have a very good character. Everything that was thrown at me was proved to be false."