Milorad Trkulja was shot by an unknown gunman in Melbourne in 2004, then discovered that Google searches of his name brought up images of mob figures, including prolific drug trafficker Tony Mokbel. Gangland activity in the city was prevalent at the time.
Trkulja successfully sued Google in The Victorian Supreme Court in 2012, receiving AU$200,000 in damages (roughly $150,000). He then launched a second defamation action in 2013, alleging Google’s autocomplete predictions, as well as searching phrases such as “Melbourne underworld criminals”, wrongly brought up his name and image. Google took the case to the Victorian Court of Appeal and won that round.
Now the High Court has granted Trkulja special leave to appeal against that decision.
“In each of the pages on which images of such persons appear,” the judgement said according to the ABC, “there are also images of persons who are notorious criminals or members of the Melbourne criminal underworld… coupled with images of persons, such as Mr Trkulja whose identity is relatively unknown.”
Google tried to stop the case, but the High Court ruled there was clear potential for defamation.
Google has been contacted for comment.