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Gangland lawyer wins $40k in Google suit


Mr Defteros was charged alongside Mr Condello with the conspiracy to murder and incitement to murder killer Carl Williams, his father George and another man.

Prosecutors withdrew charges against Mr Defteros in 2005.

Mr Condello was murdered the day before his February 2006 trial was to begin.

George Defteros was arrested in 2004 for conspiring to kill Carl Williams (pictured), but the charges against him were dropped.

George Defteros was arrested in 2004 for conspiring to kill Carl Williams (pictured), but the charges against him were dropped.Credit:Jason South

“In my view, the ordinary reasonable reader would have read between the lines and drawn the derogatory implication that Mr Defteros had crossed the already blurred line between being a professional lawyer to Mr Condello and other criminals, and being their confidant and friend,” Justice Richards found.

She said neither the article nor the Google search result indicated the charges had been dropped.

Google was notified of the defamatory article in February 2016, but did not remove it until December that year. It was accessed 150 times between those months.

Mr Defteros, who successfully built back his practice in 2007, said the article was “totally untrue and had blackened his name forever”.

But Justice Richards found any damage done to Mr Defteros’ reputation was tempered by the fact he had known about the article since at least 2007 and had not taken action to have it removed until 2016.

He had already sued the article’s author John Silvester, and colleague Andrew Rule, over a chapter in their Leadbelly book based on the article and received $20,000 including $10,000 in legal costs.

Justice Richards said Mr Defteros himself had acknowledged a friendship with another underworld client, Graham “The Munster” Kinniburgh.

Graham 'The Munster' Kinniburgh was killed in Kew in 2003.

Graham ‘The Munster’ Kinniburgh was killed in Kew in 2003.Credit:Andrew De La Rue

Mr Defteros said in retrospect he was perhaps “a little bit generous” in calling Kinniburgh a friend, but said he did not deny it.

“I am not really persuaded that Mr Defteros had a settled reputation as a lawyer who did not associate or become friends with his criminal clients,” Justice Richards said.

She ordered Mr Defteros should receive $40,000 in damages.

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