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Australian Judge Finds L.A. Webmaster Liable

Jurist says Net sites defamed a professor. The accused calls an order for damages unenforceable.

September 04, 2003|Steve Hymon | Times Staff Writer

In an unusual Internet case crossing international borders, an Australian judge imposed $61,000 in damages against a Los Angeles man earlier this week for defaming a Perth journalism professor on a series of Web sites.

Bill White, 60, of Los Angeles, did not attend the civil trial in the Supreme Court of Western Australia in Perth and was found by default to have defamed Trevor Cullen, of Edith Cowan University.

White has accused Cullen of being a child molester and an academic fraud on several Web sites.

The judge agreed with Cullen that the allegations are untrue.

"The conduct of the defendant can be attributed only to a conscious desire on his part to cause the plaintiff the maximum amount of damage, hurt and embarrassment by what amounts to a campaign of deliberately offensive vilification," said Master David Wallace Newnes in his decision.

White has built dozens of similar sites about people across the globe who White alleges have refused to help him uncover an alleged sex scandal at a small Catholic university in Papua New Guinea in 1996.

White said in an e-mail Wednesday to a Times reporter that he was unaware of the judgment against him, but that if such a ruling occurred, it "is not enforceable in the United States. It is void."

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