Former political editor Peter van Onselen has lost his case with Network 10.
The saga arose after van Onselen wrote an article in The Australian about the business prospects of the network, including parent company Paramount.
10 sued for breach of its exit contract, with PVO leaving the network in March to return to academia. Part of his outing included an agreement not to disparage the network or Paramount, in exchange for a $71,000 severance pay.
Guardian Australia reports that NSW Supreme Court Justice David Hammerschlag said this morning: “I am convinced that the article is a one-off error.
“Making a statement is, in the particular circumstances of this case, sufficient relief for 10 of your claim.”
Van Onselen confirmed last month that he had failed to read the non-disparagement clause in his severance agreement after being reassured by Paramount HR executive Anthony McDonald that he could disparage Ten under various circumstances.
“I used the line ‘If the CEO was caught screwing a goat and the rest of the media was piling up, then I surely wouldn’t have been precluded from doing the same,'” Van Onselen told the court.
It’s unclear which of the 10 joint chief executives he was referring to, but Paramount HR executive Anthony McDonald said the discussion did not take place.
Ven Onselen’s solicitor Sue Chrysanthou SC argued that the non-disparagement clause was overbearing, describing it as a “lifetime order”, but NSW Supreme Court Justice David Hammerschlag asked “Well then why the did you sign? This is a contract case.
10 has not made any claim for compensation for damages but has until July 21 to submit a claim for compensation for expenses.