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The federal court has thrown out a lawsuit brought under the Racial Discrimination Act against three Queensland University of Technology students under section 18C.

The federal circuit court judge Michael Jarrett has ruled that the lawsuit by Indigenous staff member Cindy Prior should not proceed against Alex Wood, Calum Thwaites and Jackson Powell.

Prior was suing for $250,000 in damages but the three students had applied not to have the case proceed.

“For the reasons I have expressed above, in my view Ms Prior does not enjoy reasonable prospects of successfully prosecuting her proceedings against each of Mr Wood, Mr Powell and Mr Thwaites,” Jarrett wrote in conclusion. “Her proceedings against each of them must be dismissed.”

Outside the court Thwaites’ lawyer Tony Morris said that Prior and the three students were victims in a case which should not have been allowed to get so far.

He criticised the president of the Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs. The commission administers the Racial Discrimination Act.

The commission put out a statement saying it accepted the court’s decision.

Thwaites said he was relieved at the outcome and “happy to be able to get on with my life”.

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