Kirralie Smith speaks at a Q Society fundraiser for her legal battle on February 9. Photo: Wolter PeetersA Supreme Court defamation case brought by halal certifier Mohamed El-Mouelhy against the far-right Q Society has been settled out of court, with the organisation, its board members and politician Kirralie Smith making an apology.
Mr El-Mouelhy, chairman of the Halal Certification Authority, brought defamation action against the Q Society and Ms Smith in early 2015, over two YouTube videos she presented on halal certification.
Ms Smith, who was a senate candidate for the n Liberty Alliance at the last federal election, is the face of the anti-halal campaign “Halal Choices”.
Mr El-Mouelhy alleged the videos – both of which named him – portrayed him as “part of a conspiracy to destroy Western civilisation from within”.
The matter was set to be heard in the Supreme Court in March.
However, the parties had a lengthy meeting on Monday where they decided to settle. This was announced to the media by the Halal Certification Authority on Monday night.
The settlement document was signed by Mr El-Mouelhy, Ms Smith, the Q Society, and its board members Debbie Robinson, Peter Callaghan and Ralf Schumann.
In the settlement, the parties say they had no intention to defame each other.
“Today the parties in these proceedings have settled their legal dispute and intend to move forward without engaging in further disputation,” the settlement says.
“None of the parties, in expressing their views, had any intention to defame the other and each regrets that occurring.
“Mr El-Mouelhy has lived in since 1975 and became an citizen in 1981. He is a frequent and substantial contributor to Muslim and non-Muslim charities, including donations to specific projects for the protection of the poor and disadvantaged.
“The Q Society, its board members and Kirralie Smith did not intend to suggest that the profits of Mr El-Mouelhy’s halal certification business were in any way improperly used. The Q Society, its board members and Kirralie Smith apologise to Mr El-Mouelhy for the hurt caused to him as a result of the publications, the subject of the proceedings.
“In light of the above apology Mr El-Mouelhy withdraws the comments he made about the Q Society, its board members and Kirralie Smith in response to their publications.”
Contacted by Fairfax Media on Monday evening, Ms Smith confirmed the matter had settled. She was unable to provide further comment.
Mr El-Mouelhy said now the legal action was over, it was time to focus on the heart of the matter – that halal certification is a reputable process which creates jobs in .
“This is the past now, I have forgiven them, and they will have to put that [settlement] notice on their websites and Facebook pages for a whole year in a prominent place,” Mr El-Mouelhy said.
“Let’s talk about the issue, why we’re there in the first place. Giving money to terrorists? We’ve never given money to terrorists. We’re watched like hawks by the police, by ASIO. They see every financial thing that is going out of the country.
“I personally didn’t want to settle. I wanted to go to the nth degree. If you read the page, they have apologised. I didn’t apologise for anything.”
The Q Society held controversial $150-a-head fundraisers – one in Sydney and one in Melbourne – earlier this month to raise money for the legal battle.
At the Sydney fundraiser, former Liberal politician Ross Cameron made a speech where he referred to the Sydney Morning Herald as the Sydney Morning Homosexual.
The Melbourne event, which featured Cory Bernardi and George Christensen, was picketed by protesters.