A super-injunction obtained by coal entrepreneur Nathan Tinkler has been lifted by the Victorian Supreme Court.
Mr Tinkler had obtained orders preventing Fairfax Media from revealing details of a loan of about $700 million or the existence of the lawsuit since late last year.
Following a settlement between Fairfax Media, publisher of the Herald, and Mr Tinkler, Justice David Beach on Wednesday lifted the super-injunction.
Fairfax lawyer Peter Bartlett described the injunction as "a dark episode for freedom of speech".
"Late last year Paddy Manning, a business reporter with the SMH, acting quite properly, sent an email to Nathan Tinkler pre-publication asking certain questions," Mr Bartlett said. "With less than an hour's notice to Fairfax Media in Sydney, Mr Tinkler sought an injunction against Fairfax Media in the Supreme Court of Victoria."
While key details of the article remain suppressed under an agreement, it can be revealed that the story related to a loan issued in the first half of last year. The loan, plus interest, was now valued at about $700 million with an interest rate of more than 10 per cent. However, the substance of Manning's original story will never be published.
In his judgment of last December, made public this week, Justice John Digby found "potential detriment to [Aston Resources] and [Boardwalk Resources] and separately also the damage to reputation to [Mr Tinkler] and the Tinkler Group as a result of the statements ... being published ... outweigh the public interest in freedom of expression".