Melbourne’s Mick Gatto back in court battling the ABC

A colorful Melbourne identity is back in court to take on the public broadcaster about this issue.

Colorful Melbourne identity Mick Gatto is back in court to argue he was defamed in an article published by the public broadcaster.

Gatto appeared in the Court of Appeal on Thursday to argue a judge made a mistake when it threw out his defamation case against the ABC last year.

He sued the broadcaster over an article in 2019 that reported allegations he threatened to kill lawyer turned police snitch Nicola Gobbo.

Mr Gatto claimed the article also aired allegations he was implicated in the gangland murders of Victor Peirce and Frank Benvenuto.

But the case was thrown out, with the judge saying while Mr Gatto was “unhappy” with the coverage the ABC “carefully recorded” they were just allegations.

In the appeal, lawyer David Gilbertson QC told the court that the judge made an error that the article was sensational, did not take into account it was published online and mistakenly referred to authorities concerned with striking out pleadings.

But the ABC’s barrister argued against these claims and said the article was not sensational, which was a term that could be hard to define.

“It’s similar to pornography or art in that you know it when you see it,” Dr Matthew Collins told the court.

Mr Gatto took to the stand at the defamation trial last year and said it made him “sick”.

“It’s terrible what they said about me,” he said.

The broadcaster defended the article and said it was based on “absolute privilege” of the media to report on evidence tendered in court.

The judges reserved their decision.

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