John Barilaro has received an apology but will not receive a cent in damages from friendlyjordies creator Jordan Shanks as the pair settled a defamation lawsuit.
The former NSW deputy premier on Friday withdrew his Federal Court claim over two videos, titled bruz and Secret Dictatorship, published to Mr Shanks’s YouTube channel in 2020.
The withdrawal came as Mr Shanks’s lawyer told the court “freedom of expression is important”, but Mr Shanks accepted some videos were offensive to John Barilaro.
“Mr Shanks understands he has been hurt and apologises,” Dr Matt Collins QC said.
Mr Shanks will also stop selling merchandise featuring Mr Barilaro upon his retirement from politics.
“Our client will not be paying a cent in damages to Mr Barilaro,” solicitor Mark Davis said in a statement.
“Not one video will be taken down.”
Mr Barilaro’s barrister, Sue Chrysanthou SC, said the court had not been told all the terms of the settlement but it was by consent.
Justice Stephen Rares thanked the parties for resolving the “very difficult dispute” without requiring a full court hearing.
Mr Barilaro said he was “pleased” the defamation case had been settled.
“I am grateful for and accept Mr Shanks’ apology to me, and trust that we can now each move on with our lives,” Mr Barilaro said in a statement.
The former NSW Nationals leader’s case against YouTube owner Google continues.
Mr Barilaro launched the case in May, alleging the bruz video insinuated he was a “corrupt conman” and had “so conducted himself in committing perjury nine times that he should be gaoled”.
Mr Shanks pleaded substantial truth and honest opinion but was hampered by the effect of parliamentary privilege as the alleged perjury occurred at a parliamentary committee.