A County Court jury has found a newspaper article has defamed former Member for Indi Sophie Mirabella.
The jury of five men and one woman took just 45 minutes to return its verdict at the end of a five-day trial at Wangaratta.
At the announcement of the verdict, Ms Mirabella wept in the arms of her husband, Greg, and hugged her legal counsel.
In defamation trials, a jury decides liability and if a defamation is proven, a judge subsequently decides on the damages.
A hearing to determine the scale of damages will begin today in Wangaratta.
Benalla Ensign published an article in 2016 which claimed Ms Mirabella had pushed sitting Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan, to prevent her being in a photo opportunity.
The article, headed ‘‘Awkward encounter’’ was published following the opening of a new wing of Cooinda Village Aged Care facility in Benalla.
Ms Mirabella was a candidate contesting the Federal electorate of Indi and hoping to unseat Ms McGowan, who had taken the seat from Ms Mirabella in 2013.
Ms McGowan was subsequently re-elected.
Benalla Newspapers defended the action.