National

Google wins contempt order delay

By AAP Newswire

Google has gained a temporary order to stop steps being taken to charge the company with contempt of court for failing to almost-immediately remove defamatory reviews about a Sydney businessman.

In the NSW Supreme Court on Friday, Justice Des Fagan agreed a contempt order should be stayed until a judge hears two Google applications on July 26.

The company is challenging an urgent injunction granted by Justice Stephen Rothman on July 4 requiring California-based Google LLC to remove the defamatory reviews of the businessman, whose identity is suppressed.

The company also was restrained from allowing any new reviews about him to be uploaded for 28 days.

Google is also challenging an order made by Justice David Davies late on July 5 directing the registrar of the court to charge the company with contempt of court because the posts had not been removed within 24 hours.

By July 6, Google had removed most of the reviews and all the defamatory posts have since been removed.

In granting the stay of the contempt order on Friday, Justice Fagan noted the reviews of the businessman and his work were "highly defamatory".

He said Google wanted to challenge Justice Rothman's orders arguing they were ambiguous and uncertain and had no time limit for removing the reviews.

Google also wanted to argue that 24 hours from July 4, a public holiday in the United States, was not a reasonable time span in which to carry out the orders.

In agreeing to the stay, Justice Fagan said his decision merely recognised "there are triable issues" to be considered .

It was strongly preferable to stop the contempt prosecution being started at considerable expense to the public until those issues were dealt with, he said.