Judy Davis awarded damages in defamation suit

July 11, 2008 1:04:06 PM PDT
Judy Davis was awarded $134,000 in damages Friday from a newspaper that ridiculed her as heartless for opposing a plan to erect floodlights in a park near the actress' harborside home in Sydney.

New South Wales state Supreme Court Judge Peter McClellan ruled that February 2006 articles in The Daily Telegraph had hurt the two-time Oscar nominee's reputation and personal standing in the community by implying she was selfish and unreasonable.

Davis did not immediately comment.

Printing that Davis "was a heartless person in being indifferent to the risk of injury to hundreds of children, would inevitably diminish her reputation in the eyes of many people," McClellan said in his judgment.

Davis, 53, had sued the Telegraph's publisher Nationwide News Pty. Ltd., for articles about her behavior at a local council meeting. The newspaper said she stormed out of a council meeting where the plan was being discussed after an argument with council officials.

Davis had opposed a council plan to install floodlights at a children's football training park, citing possible danger to residents from misfired shots.

Nationwide News, part of media mogul Rupert Murdoch's global business empire, did not immediately indicate if it would appeal the award.

Davis, who has won Golden Globe and Emmy awards for film and television work, was nominated for an Academy Award for her role as Adela Quested in David Lean's 1984 film "A Passage to India."