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Theodora
24 September, 2008  
Goings on ...

More Patrick Power referees lining up at the defo court … Celebrity client leaves Johnson Winter & Slattery … Second choice lands Apple Isle judgeship … Not even Lady Di knew about the Queensland magistrates’ immunity … Allens incubated Macquarie Street’s dirty dancer


imageJustinian’s sister organ the Gazette of Law & Journalism reports that fresh life has been breathed into the drama of the “Pervert and his 59 mates”.

Another eight people who provided character references for the former NSW senior crown prosecutor Patrick Power have got their pleadings against the Daily Smellograph past the goalkeeper.

They had given references for the sentencing judge in Power’s possession of child pornography conviction, for which he got six months.

In July last year a group of 16 referees for Power settled their action against the Smello for a total of $480,000 – a handy $30,000 each plus costs.

The sub-heading for the page one screamer was: “Revealed: Society’s elite backing Patrick Power”.

Among “society’s elite” who trousered the money to salve their bruised feelings were Roddy Meagher, Tim Game, Paul Byrne, Peter Hamill, Malcolm Ramage, Nanette Williams, Phillip Calvert and Richard Weinstein.

imageThose in the current action are: crown prosecutor Paul Leask, lawyer Grace Basaglia, DPP library manager Gayle Davies and friends Andrew Brown, Andrew McKinnon, Hugo and Mary Grieve and Robyn Hill.

Not only are the newspaper’s stories being sued on, but so too their internet versions and six moronic blogs posted on the news.com.au website.

Justice David Kirby in the NSW Supreme Court has heard one round of capacity arguments and he’s upheld all the pleaded imputations, e.g: “the plaintiffs tried to assist a pervert escape the punishment which he deserved for the criminal offence of possessing child pornography”.

Kirbs The Younger began the hearing by saying:

“Ultimately I hope this matter goes to mediation and disappears from our lives.”

There’s to be more argy bargy on October 13 about the capacity issues arising from other News’ publications.

The NSW Bar Association also launched contempt proceedings against the publisher of the Smello, Nationwide News, but withdrew its case in November after the paper published a grovel.

In June Power was struck off the jam roll.

* * *

imageThere’s further distress to report in DefoWorld.

Celebrity entertainer Tania Zaetta (snap) has commenced proceedings against the Daily Smello over a story headlined, “Defence Sex Scandal: Star accused of sleeping with SAS troops”.

The breakout read: “Who bares wins: star’s fury at army sex claim.”

The pleaded imputations say, inter alia, that Zaetta was a “slut” who had sex with a number of soldiers while she was entertaining the troops in Afghanistan.

She’s also claiming special damages for “general loss of business or custom”.

The thing is that big Mark O’Brien and his boys at Johnson Winter & Slattery initially were acting for Tania and the brief was to be Bruce McClintock.

Suddenly and dramatically things changed.

JWS is now out and Bill Kalantzis is in – and he’s instructed Stuart (Keys) Littlemore. Kalantzis and Littlemore comprise the celebrity team that cleaned up for Mercedes Corby.

It probably means we’re going to endure more of Keys, bathed in the media spotlight looking delighted with himself, with an oh-so-grateful glamour puss by his side.

Needless to say, JWS and McClintock are unamused.

* * *

imageApple Isle advocate Stephen Estcourt has revealed that His Honour Disco Dave Porter was only the second choice to fill the Van Diemen’s Land Supreme Court vacancy created by the elevation of Ewan Crawford to CJ.

Estcourt was giving evidence to a Legislative Council select committee into murkiness surrounding senior government appointments.

According to reports in Hobart’s Mercurial Estcourt told the committee that Justice Department secretary Lisa Hutton offered him the Supreme Court job on April 4.

He emailed her declining the offer in disgust at the way people associated with the Burst Sav pressured the then attorney general to drop the appointment of Simon Cooper as a magistrate. See Coopergate.

Subsequently Disco was appointed to the bench.

Porter must feel delighted that his former partner from Launceston law shop Archer Bushby has outed him as number two for the job.

DPP Tim Ellis has suggested worms have infiltrated the apple and that there’s been an appalling lack of process in recent judicial appointments.

Estcourt officially applied for the solicitor general’s job in July last year, but was “ignored, fobbed off and finally rejected”.

He denied he had been offered the sol general gig in return for waiving the legal fees of ex-Labor deputy premier Bryan Green in the Tasmanian Compliance Corp case.

Meanwhile, Estcourt’s defamation action against the Mercurial presses ahead.

The one imputation that has been pleaded couldn’t be more concise:

“Unlike a range of senior Tasmanian political and legal figures and other persons who had co-operated with the Tasmania Police by being (or agreeing to be) interviewed by the Tasmania Police, which was conducting an investigation in relation to new allegations of corruption involving persons in the higher echelons of Tasmanias political and legal circles, the plaintiff, who was at the centre of that police probe, had declined to be interviewed by the police conducting the investigation, thereby concealing relevant information from and obstructing that investigation.”

* * *

I hear Edmund Barton Chambers in Sydney’s MLC Centre has settled a claim made in the Industrial Court by its former clerk, Regina Vickery.

She claimed she was unfairly dismissed.

Settlement amount? In excess of $100,000.

* * *

imageIt looks like Lady Di Fingleton is going to tie herself up in litigation for another decade or thereabouts.

She’s taken on her former lawyers: McCullough Robertson, solicitor Patrick Murphy, and silks Russell Hanson, Walter Sofronoff and Glenn Newton.

At least two lots of insurers, probably more, will be involved. She’s claiming almost $20 mill in damages.

This time law shop Murphy Schmidt are in Di’s corner.

She says her former lawyers were negligent in failing to advise her that under the Magistrates Act and the Criminal Code she was immune from prosecution as chief magistrate for the offence of “unlawfully retaliating against a witness”.

After being found guilty by a jury at her second trial she served six months in the nick in 2003.

The drama was all about Di’s efforts to transfer magistrate Anne Thacker from Brisbane to Townsville.

Thacker sought a review of that decision.

Coordinating magistrate from Beenleigh Basil Gribbin, who was also vice prez of the Magistrates Association, stepped in and provided an affidavit to Thacker’s solicitors to be used in the review proceedings.

Lady Di then sent a letter to Gribbin, on advice from McCullough Robertson, asking him to show cause why he shouldn’t be removed from the position as a coordinating magistrate.

The Queensland Court of Appeal couldn’t see anything wrong with her conviction and merely cut her custodial sentence fractionally.

It went on appeal to the High Court, and when special leave was lodged the court itself said it would like to hear argument on the combined application of s.21A of the Magistrates Act and s.30 of the Criminal Code.

Until that moment no one had twigged that the legislation provided a complete answer to the charges against Lady Di.

Not the Crime and Misconduct Commission, not the prosecutors, not defence counsel, not the trial judge and not the Court of Appeal (McPherson, Davies and Williams).

Not even the chief magistrate herself was sufficiently au fair with the Act that governed her powers and functions.

Maybe other magistrates knew but were not anxious to help.

* * *

imageMatt Brown (snap) is one celebrity personality who has been making the headlines.

He lasted all of three days as NSW Police Minister before resigning over a dirty dancing event.

It turned out that on budget night he’d danced “semi naked” in his office and had “simulated sex” with the delightful Noreen Hay (ALP, Wollongong).

Brown’s mouthpiece said:

“Matt has tendered his resignation to the Premier and the Premier has accepted his resignation over an incident he deeply regrets.”

Matt himself also was full of regret:

“I am a human being and I made a mistake and I’m going to cop the consequences of that mistake.”

The Premier, Nathan Rees, said his reaction was “beyond anger”.

So, according to Matty, a regrettable incident took place. However, according to the simulatee, Noreen Hay, no simulation took place with her.

“This is absolutely untrue. Absolutely nothing untoward occurred and certainly when I was in the room with Matt Brown he was fully clothed.”

Absolutely.

The next day Noreen was dumped as parliamentary secretary for health.

During the brouhaha it emerged Matty in an earlier life had been a solicitor (B.Maths, LLB, Uni of Wollongong, 1996).

Q: At which law shop did he hone his skills?

A: Allen Allen & Hemsley (as it was) – 1997-1998. (See inaugural parliamentary speech.)

The great law shop has no trouble luring the talent.

 
 

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