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 and Mr Tinkler, Justice David Beach on Wednesday lifted the super-injunction, which Fairfax lawyer Peter Bartlett has described as "a dark episode for freedom of speech".
"Late last year Paddy Manning, a business reporter with The Sydney Morning Herald, acting quite properly, sent an email to Nathan Tinkler pre-publication asking certain questions. 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," Mr Bartlett said.
While key details about Manning's article remain suppressed under an agreement between Mr Tinkler's Aston Resources and Fairfax Media, it can be revealed that the information related to a loan issued in the first half of 2012.
The loan, plus accumulated interest, was now valued at around $700 million, with an interest rate above 10 per cent. But the substance of Mr Manning's original story will never be published.
Mr Bartlett said the super-injunction issued by Justice John Digby last year went further than Mr Tinkler's own barrister was asking for and even prevented Fairfax Media from publishing material that was already in the public arena.