Peter Edgar. Pic by Luke Marsden.
Peter Edgar. Pic by Luke Marsden.

Man to pay out staggering amount for Facebook abuse

A  GOLD Coast man who wrongly accused the boss of Karting Australia of incompetence, sexual harassment and rigging elections to get motorsport legend Mick Doohan on the board has been ordered to pay $250,000 in damages.

Peter Gerard Edgar, who is unemployed, will be forced to pay Karting Australia CEO Kelvin O'Reilly the damages after a battle in the Supreme Court of Queensland over 10 Facebook posts between November 2015 and September last year.

 

The posts made on the Federation of Australian Racking Karters Union page will all have to be removed according to a judgement made by Justice Thomas Bradley.

In one of the posts Edgar wrongly accused Mr O'Reilly of bribing clubs into voting Mr Doohan in as chairman of the go-kart racing body.

He also wrongly claimed Mr O'Reilly was sexually harassing bar staff in Burleigh and that he was "incompetent" and had run other motorsport bodies into the ground.

Peter Edgar also wrongly claimed Mr O’Reilly was sexually harassing bar staff in Burleigh and that he was “incompetent” and had run other motorsport bodies into the ground. Pic by Luke Marsden.
Peter Edgar also wrongly claimed Mr O’Reilly was sexually harassing bar staff in Burleigh and that he was “incompetent” and had run other motorsport bodies into the ground. Pic by Luke Marsden.

Justice Bradley said Mr O'Reilly, who was marketing manger at Grundies in 1986, broke down in court when talking about the allegations Edgar had made.

"When he regained some composure, he said it made him feel 'completely, absolutely helpless' and that his reputation was being 'trashed by absolute lies and fabrications'," he said in his judgment.

Justice Bradley said Edgar had drawn conclusions that "no reasonable person could honestly make or draw".

Racing legend Mick Doohan at Essendon Fields. Picture: Alex Coppel
Racing legend Mick Doohan at Essendon Fields. Picture: Alex Coppel

"It was difficult to discern the small nodules of fact amidst the vast web of fantasy spun by Mr Edgar," he said.

"It is clear that he is uninterested in checking the truth or falsity of the matters he posted on his Facebook page. He presented as an enthusiastic retailer of distant, third- or fourth-hand gossip."

After the judgment was handed down, Mr O'Reilly said the comments made by Edgar had taken a "massive personal toll".

"The judge's assessment and characterisation of Edgar should be assessed and being vindication for every person from the karting world that has been attacked by this man over many years," he said.

Edgar was also ordered to pay Mr O'Reilly's costs.

Edgar also faces criminal charges for allegedly threatening Mr O'Reilly and Mr Doohan on the same page.

He has pleaded not guilty to using a carriage service to menace and harass.

Magistrate Gary Finger is expected to make a decision on the criminal charges on Thursday.



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