A former NSW schoolboy who was ordered to pay $105,000 for defaming a teacher on social media has revealed the incident left him "shaken" and depressed.
Andrew Farley, a former student at Orange High School, was found to have defamed senior teacher Christine Mickle in a series of tweets and Facebook posts in November 2012.
In the first Twitter defamation battle to go to full trial in Australia, District Court Judge Michael Elkaim ordered Mr Farley to pay Ms Mickle $85,000 in compensatory damages and a further $20,000 in aggravated damages.
Mr Farley, who had left school a year before he made the comments, told Newcastle radio station KOFM on Thursday he denied "any aspect of me being a troll; it was a one-off, I was upset ... I didn't react in a normal way that I normally would. I was highly emotional."
He said he "never meant to defame her - it was a discussion between four of my friends and it was never meant for a public broadcast ... I'm sorry it did go to the extent that it did. I never meant for that."
Mr Farley, who was 20 at the time of the judgment, warned other social media users to be "really careful".
"Just because you think you're talking to your friends doesn't mean you're safe.
"This has really shaken me. I have been depressed. I have been seeking help for my mental state, like I haven't been well at all, and it's all because of one comment on Facebook."
Mr Farley did not appear at the trial to defend the case.
He had previously objected to his privacy being invaded when lawyers for Ms Mickle sought access to his Facebook page.
Mr Farley told KOFM that he had "unfortunately" declared bankruptcy because he could not pay the $105,000 damages bill.
He denied he had ignored an initial legal letter to remove the comments and said he had been given two weeks to respond. He removed the comments after seeking legal advice.
"I was scared and upset. I didn't know what was going on. The legal advice I was getting was just to stay quiet," Mr Farley said.
He said he had about 50 Facebook friends at the time and 60 Twitter followers and had "no idea" of the harm his comments would cause to Ms Mickle, who immediately went on sick leave and returned to school only late last year.
"I would hate for anyone else to go through what I have gone through. It has been truly terrible," Mr Farley said.
The judge said Mr Farley seemed to bear a grudge against Ms Mickle "apparently based on a belief that she had something to do with his [Orange High School teacher] father leaving the school".
"There is absolutely no evidence to substantiate that belief," Judge Elkaim said.
Representatives for Twitter and Facebook declined to comment on Mr Farley's court case.
Facebook allows people to make complaints about defamatory content on the site which are reviewed and the content taken down if it violates the company's policies.
with Amanda Hoh
The story I'm not a troll: Man whose tweet cost $105,000 speaks out first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.