Nightclub baron John Ibrahim has been ordered to pay $100,000 in damages to a colourful Sydney identity he suggested was a hitman in his best-selling memoir.
Tom Domican said he was ‘truly pleased’ at reaching a settlement with Mr Ibrahim and publisher Pan MacMillan over his portrayal in the ‘Last King of the Cross’.
The 76-year-old claimed the book suggested he was a killer and had been involved in drug dealing during Sydney’s 1980s so-called gang wars.
More than a year after he launched proceedings against ‘Teflon John’ and the book’s publisher, Domican was awarded the six-figure sum in the NSW Federal Court on Friday.
Sydney identity Tom Domican has been awarded $100,000 in damages after suing nightclub boss John Ibrahim and publisher Pan MacMillan over his portrayal in Ibrahim’s book Last King of the Cross
John Ibrahim, pictured with a copy of his book Last King of the Cross, is writing another memoir. Ibrahim donated the advance for his first book to charities including Wayside Chapel
‘I am really and truly pleased that I have been vindicated and that the court has preserved the presumption of innocence,’ Domican told media outside court.
In addition to the $100,000 payout, Justice John Grifiths also ordered that any new printings of the book exclude any reference to Domican.
Mr Ibrahim and Pan MacMillan were also ordered to pay Domican’s court costs.
Ibrahim wrote in his book that former detective Roger Rogerson, who has since been jailed for murder, approached him while the young entrepreneur was taking over the protection of Kings Cross strip clubs in the late 1990s.
He and Rogerson were ‘used to talking straight to each other.’
‘So he comes right out and tells me a few people are not happy at me removing them from the Cross… and that there are people looking around to get rid of me,’ Ibrahim wrote.
‘I am really and truly pleased that I have been vindicated and that the court has preserved the presumption of innocence,’ Domican told media outside court
First-time author John Ibraham, pictured with girlfriend Sarah Budge, won a prestigious Australian Crime Writers Association’s award for his book Last King of the Cross
‘Tom Domican was approached but laughed it off.
‘Tom had been involved in the first gang wars in Sydney twenty years earlier when him, Neddy Smith, Chris Flannery (Mr Rent-A-Kill himself) were all warring over Sydney turf back then for the lucrative illegal gambling machines and the heroin market.
‘He knows [Ibrahim’s brother] Sam and me and didn’t want to be involved.’
Domican claimed that passage defamed him by carrying the imputations that he ‘was willing to be hired to kill people other than the lbrahims.’
He also claimed it implies he was ‘a violent criminal who took part in gang wars’, was a criminal who conducted or sought to conduct illegal gambling and engaged or sought to engage in the supply of heroin.
John Ibrahim (pictured) was approached by disgraced detective Roger Rogerson while Ibrahim was taking over Kings Cross. Rogerson warned Ibrahim that rivals were out to get him
Former Sydney garbo Tom Domican, pictured in 1986, says he is sick of being portrayed as an underworld figure. He was charged with and acquitted of a string of crimes in the 1980s
Domican’s claimed he has been ‘greatly injured in his credit, and reputation, and has been brought into public scandal, odium and contempt.’
Dublin-born Domican is a former garbage collector and onetime inner-city Labor Party numbers man who has been heavily involved in the construction industry.
Domican was charged with one murder, one attempted murder and five conspiracies to murder in the 1980s but was cleared of every alleged offence.
Many of those prosecutions relied on the word of disreputable and discredited prison informers.
The murder charge against Domican was in relation to the death of hitman Chris Flannery in 1985, an accusation no one now believes. Flannery’s body has never been found.
John Ibrahim wrote in his book that former detective Roger Rogerson (pictured) contacted him in the late 1990s warning rivals were unhappy about Ibrahim running protection in Kings Cross
Written in ‘the mongrel tongue of the streets’, Last King of the Cross is described by its publisher Pan Macmillan as ‘crazier than Goodfellas, more compelling than The Godfather’
Domican has never been charged with drug offences and has long railed against being called an underworld figure.
‘After 30 years I’m just sick and tired of all the bulls**t,’ Domican told Daily Mail Australia. ‘It not only hurts me, it hurts my wife and my family.’
Domican said he had met Ibrahim ‘once, maybe twice.’
The fitness fanatic, who still trains at a gym for two hours a day, six days a week, has spent much of his time overseas in recent years.
He has previously objected to his brief portrayal in the award-winning television series Blue Murder which dramatised the exploits of Rogerson, Flannery, Smith and other 1980s crooks.
Graham ‘Abo’ Henry, who also featured in Blue Murder as a serious criminal of that time, wrote about Domican in his own book Abo: A Treacherous Life.
Graham ‘Abo’ Henry (left) and Arthur ‘Neddy’ Smith (right) were major players in the Sydney gang wars of the 1980s. Each was featured in the television drama series Blue Murder
‘Everyone involved in major crime gangs in Sydney knew each other,’ Henry wrote.
‘But nobody knew Domican… He was not a gangster.’
Domican filed a statement of claim in the Federal Court just days before the first anniversary of the publication of Ibrahim’s book.
Defamation action needs to be launched within 12 months of a statement being published.
The law suit came just a fortnight after Last King of the Cross was long-listed in the true crime category of the Australian Crime Writers Association’s prestigious Ned Kelly Awards.
Last King of the Cross charts Ibrahim’s rise from a boy fleeing war-torn Lebanon with his family to his nights as a bouncer and his eventual domination of the Sydney nightclub scene.
Written in ‘the mongrel tongue of the streets’, it is described by its publisher as ‘crazier than Goodfellas, more compelling than The Godfather.’
Graham ‘Abo’ Henry (pictured left with Neddy Smith) wrote about Domican: ‘Everyone involved in major crime gangs in Sydney knew each other. But nobody knew Domican… ‘
‘Last King of the Cross is a colourful crime saga like no other and powerful proof that the truth is always stranger than fiction,’ the publisher states.
‘Bullets fly, blades flash and bodies fall.
‘In a city of shadows, John builds his army and empire – partying like a playboy prince of darkness while staying one step ahead of the cops, the outlaw gangs and hungry triggermen, plotting to take him and his family down.’
Ibrahim is writing another memoir to follow his best-selling debut work, which has been credited with attracting new readers to the true crime genre.