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Court in the Act
22 December, 2006  
Revenge is a kind of wild justice

The identity of the person who leaked the devastating Clayton Utz documents is revealed.

So who was it that caused all this strife and drama and landed the Batty Boys and Clutz in the merde?

imageThe source of the leaked internal Clayton Utz investigation into its partners who ran the deceitful defence for British American Tobacco Australia Services in the Rolah McCabe case turns out to be former Clutz partner Christopher Anthony Dale (snap).

At least that’s what Batty barrister Michael Wheelahan told the NSW Supreme Court a week ago, on December 14. See pages 52 and 52 of the transcript.

An affidavit from Slater & Gordon boss cocky Peter Gordon sworn on December 5 identified the source from whom he obtained the secret Clutz documents.

Wheelahan told Justice Paul Brereton:

“Your Honour will recall that the affidavit of Mr Gordon … was in response to an order made for purposes including the identification of potential defendants because the order required Mr Gordon to identify the source from which he obtained the documents and the persons to whom he has disseminated the documents.

“Now as a consequence of the information in Mr Gordon’s affidavit, we propose to seek the leave of the court to add Christopher Anthony Dale as a second defendant to our proceeding. And we have had the documents for that application ready in various forms for the last couple of weeks, but we thought it inappropriate to move on that whilst this current application was unresolved.”

BAT wants to join Dale with Slater & Gordon in the injunction proceedings to stop the spread of these enlightening documents.

imageWheelahan (snap) went on:

“Having regard to the evidence, your Honour, we would seek to join Mr Dale and we would also seek interlocutory injunctions against him. We desire to achieve that or make the application in any event prior to Christmas. And the only reason we haven’t made it to date is we have apprehended from time to time that this current application would resolve one way or the other.”

This is the application from Slater & Gordon that Brereton should disqualify himself from hearing the injunction because of his previous helpful work, while at the Bar n’ Grill, furthering the grubby cause of the cancer stick manufacturer.

Dale was president of the Law Institute of Victoria in 2004 and in October the following year he was rissoled from the partnership of Clutz after an unfortunate incident that involved the law shop paying back $110,000 to a Mrs Cheuna Schmidt, a client of Dale’s.

This was money she had paid to Kerry Milte, a convicted former Commonwealth police officer, barrister and bankrupt. Milte is also in the “information broking” business.

Dale had introduced the client to Milte to help sort out a dispute between Mrs Schmidt and her brother over a $40 million inheritance from their late father.

Subsequently, there were allegations that the money had been misappropriated and that a brief of evidence from the police was sent to the Victorian Office of Public Prosecutions naming Dale and Milte.

No further word has appeared about whether charges were ever brought.

Clayton Utz chief executive partner David Fagan said at the time:

“Clayton Utz was under no legal liability to pay the money to Mrs Schmidt but did so on the basis it was sympathetic to her situation, given the fact that Mrs Schmidt contends that Mr Milte had been introduced to Mrs Schmidt by Mr Dale.”

imageOn Wednesday (Dec. 20) the Victorian attorney general Rob F. Hulls (snap) referred the Clayton Utz documents to the DPP to investigate allegations of criminal conduct.

He did this after receiving advice from John Cain, the Victorian government solicitor, who in a previous life had been CEO at the Law Institute when “Up Hill And Down” Dale had been president.

David Fagan released a statement saying that Clutz will “cooperate fully” with the inquiry and that:

“As one of Australia’s pre-eminent firms Clayton Utz is resolutely committed to upholding our reputation for providing clients with the highest standards of professional and ethical advice.”

One again he asserted that the firm’s internal review was “superseded” by the judgment of the Victorian Court of Appeal in the McCabe case and the separate Victorian Legal Ombudsman and NSW Legal Services Commissioner investigations, “which were resolved favourably to Clayton Utz and the partners involved”.

However, the new material casts a completely different light on things. Slater & Gordon, which acted for McCabe, says that the documents reveal that the Court of Appeal received information from Clutz grand fromage Brian Wilson that was “not correct” and that his intervention had denied the cancer victim a fair hearing.

See Justinian’s previous report, Fight to reopen Rolah McCabe case.

Some of this information was based on a letter from the solicitor acting for former Clutz partner Richard Travers who, along with Glenn Eggleton, has copped the lions’ share of the odium for misconduct in the case.

The Travers’ legal letter to the board of Clayton Utz dumps on Wilson in no uncertain terms. Now the Dale leak is the latest in a series of dumpers.

Was revenge the motive or a desire to see justice prevail?


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