A scene from the Australian film The Castle
A scene from the Australian film The Castle

The Castle character at heart of defamation case

A MAN who referred to an Ipswich lawyer as "Dennis Denuto" - the inexperienced lawyer from Australian film The Castle - is probably enjoying the serenity of winning a court case.

Ipswich solicitor Brett Clayton Smith sued his daughter-in-law's former husband Kenneth Craig Lucht for defamation, claiming $250,000 in damages, because Mr Lucht called him "Dennis Denuto" in an email and during two conversations.

The labels were thrown when Mr Smith represented his daughter-in-law during a Family Court case against Mr Lucht.

Dennis Denuto is a character in The Castle who represents Dale Kerrigan during the legal fight against the compulsory acquisition of their home.

A judgment published online recently from District Court judge Tony Moynihan said Dennis Denuto was portrayed as well-intentioned but inexperienced.

"His appearance in the Federal Court (in the movie) portrayed him as unprepared, lacking in knowledge and judgment, incompetent and unprofessional," the judgment said.

Judge Moynihan said Mr Lucht referred to Mr Smith as "Dennis Denuto" in an email to the daughter-in-law.

Mr Lucht also called Mr Smith's son "Dennis Junior" and on another occasion during an argument outside a restaurant in Brisbane Mr Lucht said to the son "Just get Dennis Denuto to sort it out, Dennis Junior".

Mr Smith's legal team argued the character of Dennis Denuto was widely understood to be an incompetent lawyer.

But Mr Lucht's legal team said the Dennis Denuto character was not known to an average person.

Judge Moynihan said the average person would be familiar with the character but said the publication of defamatory material was limited.

Judge Moynihan said the defamatory statements were unlikely to cause harm to Mr Smith's reputation.

He dismissed Mr Smith's claim. - APN NEWSDESK

NOTE *This story has now been amended since it was published.


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