A New Zealand conspiracy theorist has been ordered to pay almost $1 million in damages to an Australian MP over a slew of defamatory social media posts.
Karen Brewer made seven Facebook posts and videos about MP Anne Webster, her husband and Zoe Support - the couple's charity for disadvantaged mums - which have since been ruled "disgraceful and inexplicable" by a Federal Court Judge.
Brewer accused the National MP of being "a member of a secretive paedophile network" who had been "parachuted into parliament to protect a past generation of paedophiles".
On Tuesday, Judge Jacqueline Gleeson ordered Brewer to pay a total of $943,110 to Webster, her husband and their charity, saying there was no "sensible basis" for the "wholly indefensible" allegations.
Gleeson wrote in a judgement the allegations leveled by Brewer were "not reasoned or plausible".
"While I consider that rational people would regard Ms Brewer's publications as delusional, I accept that some people may find them persuasive."
Webster was deeply distressed by what she said were "incredibly hurtful" claims and even
installed security cameras at her home because she feared being physically attacked.
The Judge awarded Webster $377,069, her husband Dr Phillip Webster $242,401 and Zoe Support $323,202.
Brewer has played no part from New Zealand in the court proceedings, but during the case posted on Facebook mocking Gleeson. Brewer's page has since been deleted.
After the judgement was handed down, Webster told ABC she was interested in exploring legislative changes, such as Facebook being made more accountable for material published online.
"It's not an unknown world but it is a bit of a scary world where people can share whatever they like and it's only by going through legal cases that things can change," she said.
"I wasn't so aware of the whole conspiracy theory at the time for me, it was an issue of justice and it was to make a stand."