Underworld veteran Mick Gatto has failed again in a defamation case against the ABC over an article he says accused him of threatening to kill gangland lawyer Nicola Gobbo.
Mr Gatto was granted permission to appeal one specific part of a larger case against the ABC and reporters Nino Bucci and Sarah Farnsworth, over an online article in February 2019, but the case was ultimately dismissed.
He said the article implied he was a hitman and murderer who threatened to kill Ms Gobbo, the snitching gangland lawyer given the Victoria Police code name Informer 3838.
Initially Mr Gatto sought an apology over the article but later sought the “maximum payout” in a defamation case in Victoria’s Supreme Court.
He was unsuccessful in that case.
Mr Gatto described himself as extremely disappointed with Justice Andrew Keogh’s ruling, promising “this ain’t the end”.
“I’m going to fight it tooth and nail all the way,” he said.
He sought permission to appeal on multiple points but was granted leave relating only to parts he claims imply he threatened to kill Ms Gobbo.
The judge made an error in not finding the article carried that imputation, his lawyers argued.
They said words in the article went beyond a meaning that there were reasonable grounds to suspect Mr Gatto threatened to kill Ms Gobbo.
They said at one point the article treated it as fact that threats were made.
The unequivocal statements, combined with the “sensational nature” of the article combined to create the imputation, his lawyers claimed.
Three Victorian Court of Appeal judges on Wednesday largely rejected Mr Gatto’s application, but said it was reasonably arguable the judge made an error in relation to that one particular claim.
But they ultimately decided that there was a fine balance as to what was implied and the judge had made no error in deciding the case.
The appeal was dismissed and Mr Gatto was ordered to pay costs.