Michael Trjulja has lived in Australia for more than 40 years and has a clean criminal record an no links to the under world or crime bosses, however when his name was entered into the Google search engine it would appear on Google images linked to the gang land figure of Tony Mokbel.
Tony Mokbel is one of the most well known criminals in Australia and has been linked tot he drug gang land wars in Melbourne. He went on the run for several years but was eventually found living in Greece in 2007 and he is now serving a 30 year sentence for his part in the running of a drug cartel.
Back in 2004 Michael Trkulja was the victim of a shooting which saw him being shot in the back while in a restaurant in Melbourne. The incident took place when Melbourne was experiencing the height of gangland wars and because of his involvement in being a shooting victim he appeared on a website called Melbourne Crime.
The website Melbourne Crime no longer exists and Michael Trkulja was cleared of any links to gangs in the city by police investigating the case.
However, the automatic search software from Google places the picture of Michael Trkulja next to that of Tony Mokbel in image results.
The decision to sue Google by Michael Trkulja came after he altered the company to the problem and the mistake but Google failed to give a response to his request.
Google had claimed the defense that this was a case of “innocent dissemination” but the judge ruled that this was only applicable until 2009 when they were alerted to the mistake.
The company are able to claim “innocent dissemination” when problems occur due to software judgements but as soon as the company are made aware of a problem then they should then act on it to avoid further problems in the future.
Speaking about the victory, Michael Trkulja told the Australian newspaper the Herald Sun: “This has been a long battle I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
“This case is not about money, it is about protecting my family, my children and my reputation.”
The damages that will be paid by Google to Michael Trkulja are due to be awarded in two weeks time and the amount is as yet unknown.
This is not the first case that Michael Trkulja has won against internet companies, earlier he won a similar case against Yahoo! and was given $225,000 in damages.