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Innovations in fee collection ... Barrister lightly spanked for sending disturbing fee threat to former clients ... "See what happens if you don't pay your bills" ... File leverage ... Agreement not to complain in exchange for the file ... NCAT bares its gums ... Read more ... 

Justinian Columnists

Do nothing in the new utopia ... Policy vacuums ... Private sector leaders are filling voids created by sleepwalking politicians ... Voice to parliament and global warming left in the cold - which, somehow, gets us to the casualisation of the workforce, particularly at universities ... Fly-in, fly-out law school lecturers ... Full Federal Court wrestles with a "casual employee" ... Read more ... 

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    "I am really and truly pleased that I have been vindicated and that the court has preserved the presumption of innocence."   

    Tom Domican, "colourful" Sydney identity, who provided security services to a Kings Cross drug dealer, after settling for $100,000 his defamation case against nightclub entrepreneur John Ibrahim and Pan Macmillan. September 13, 2019 ... Read more flatulence ... 

    Justinian Featurettes

    David Hunt remembered ... Former NSW defamation judge and chief judge at common law ...The List with Socratic case management ... Defamation exotica ... Refinement of pleadings, perhaps over-refinement ... Prodigious worker ... International criminal law ... Tributes from Graham Hryce, David Rolph, Justice Mark Ierace and Judge Judith Gibson ... Read more ... 

    Justinian's archive

    Sentencing terror ... Fabulous sentencing transcript from County Court, Victoria ... Judge James Montgomery and counsel wrestle with the dates and the years ... Pythonesque proceedings ... Court reporter struggles to keep up ... Tears to the eyes ... From the archive, June 2012 ... Read more ... 



    « Defamation and other misadventures | Main | Roddy Meagher's retirement spray »

    Everything you need to know about lawyers and the law

    So sexy, said the actress of the Chief Justice ... Daphnis dunks women in hot water ... Inside Madge’s mouth ... Stephen Archer defamed ... David Levine strangles more English ... Dean Mildren “the idiot” ... From Justinian's archive, April 22, 2004

    Gleeson: actress says he's "sexy"

    WHAT can one make of Kate Fitzpatrick’s narcissistic romp under the title of Name Dropping (HarperCollins, RRP $32.95)?

    She outs herself as a lawyers’ groupie, which is a pretty grim state of affairs.

    In London she dallied with a famous silk, in Sydney turned down an offer of marriage from Frosty Tom, lived with Charles Waterstreet (to her great cost) has a “lifelong platonic friendship” with Michael McHugh (“he respected my intelligence”), and was a “projects officer” for Peter Collins “QC”.

    The book, she says, has been thoroughly legalled and adds that she has been taught defamation law by her “dear friends”, some of the best QCs in the game.

    As well she might. After all, who can forget Kate’s own fabulous defamation action against The Daily Telegraph in 1983 after the newspaper declared the actress was at a Raw Prawn Logies’ function, when she was in fact sick in bed at home?

    Famous QCs had inspected her on the sick bed. The jury awarded her damages of $10,000.

    However, it is her description of Smiler Gleeson that is most challenging:

    “The sexiest man I’ve ever met.”

    *   *   *

    de Jersey: deft

    QUEENSLAND'S Daphnis de Jersey is rightly famous for his deftness of his touch.

    Female lawyers gathered last month for a Women in Justice knees-up where first hand they saw just how deft the CJ could be.

    He told the beaming delegates that the Supreme Court of Qld had the highest proportion of women judges of any superior court in Australia, save for the Family Court.

    Just as everyone was feeling lovely and cosy he added a finishing flourish, which Daphnis attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, “a formidable role model”:

    “Women are like teabags,” he declared. “Put them in hot water and they get stronger.”

    Teabags, indeed! Inward moans filled the air.

    *   *   *

    Marsden: too much information

    ANOTHER health report from Cambelltown’s solicitor, John (“Madge”) Marsden, has been well overdue, so it is timely that we are able to bring you the latest instalment, issued directly by e-mail to “partners, family and Glenn Holloway”.

    The details of Madge’s cancer treatment are far too long and grammatically challenging to provide in full. Vignettes will have to suffice.

    As he puts it, "The reasons for the blood stem cell transplant is (sic) because the bone marrow itself is diseased and with solid tumours transplantation is necessary."

    The process is described in loving detail:

    “My own blood stem cells are collected from either peripheral blood or bone marrow. These stem cells are cryo-preserved and stored. At a later date, that is 12th May 2004, after treatment with high dose chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy my own blood stem cells are thawed and returned to myself.”

    One gets the impression that Madge loves the idea of being infused with his own cells.

    However, no one could say the side effects are pleasant. For instance, after the treatment the former President of the NSW Law Society cannot have children, yet he handles the tough news philosophically, saying that it’s “a waste of time anyway”.

    Happily, “the ability and desire to participate in sexual activity is only affected for a short time during and after your (sic) transplant. That is good - I wonder for how long, they don’t tell you but I hope it’s not for bloody long”.

    Then there is Mucositis (sore mouth). Marsden explains the problem: 

    “I won’t be able to have a toothbrush I will have excess saliva and they will have to give me morphine. What really worries me about that is that Mum had that, and I used to go into the hospital and see Mum’s mouth looking so terrible I had a friend who saw me in Bangkok with one cold sore and he did not like it. So what will he say with a mouthful?”

    Too much information. 

    [Marsden died from cancer of the stomach on May 17, 2006, while on holiday in Turkey.] 

    *   *   *

    TROUBLE at court. A deputy register of the NSW Supreme Court has filed for unfair dismissal after she was sacked allegedly for infiltrating a hidden camera into the registrars’ room.

    The footage was then given to Channel Seven’s Today Tonight for an exposé on how the courts allow the banks to treat defaulting mortgagors with undue harshness.

    Yolande Dubow is the former deputy registrar at the heart of the storm. Previously she was the researcher for the President of the Court of Appeal.

    If she did indeed plant the camera by all accounts she performed a selfless civic service in bringing rotten practices to light.

    After all, the High Court found in the Lenah Game Meats case that it was perfectly all right for the ABC to broadcast footage from a hidden camera revealing the slaughtering and processing of brush tailed possums.

    Why not the slaughtering of mortgagors at the hands of the court? 

    *   *   *

    Archer: defamed by asset transfer allegationAT the Dizzo on Monday (April 19) a jury smiled kindly on multiple bankrupt, serious tax malingerer and deticketed barrister Stephen Archer.

    The chumpy, red wine connoisseur is suing The Newcastle Herald for publishing that he transferred his wealth to Mrs Archer in 1988 in a separation agreement and claims to be dependant on her, while at the same time living in the lap of luxury.

    Interestingly, the article, published on February 28, 2003 claimed that Archer spends $14,000 a year on wine, yet has to ask his wife to shell out for a train ticket.

    The pleaded imputations are that:

    1. In 1988 the plaintiff made a separation agreement to transfer his assets to his wife for the fraudulent purpose of avoiding his obligations to pay income tax.
    2. The plaintiff is a dishonest person because in 1988 he made a separation agreement with his wife to transfer his assets to her for the purpose of avoiding his obligations to pay income tax.

    Any suggestion that Archer dodged his obligations to pay tax is most offensive.

    The jury of four agreed and found both imputations arose and were defamatory.

    Judge J.C. Gibson commented:

    “I was a little surprised at the jury’s verdict - but not much.” 

    *   *   *

    IT is not only defamation juries that can behave strangely. Judges are not immune from getting carried away.

    Take Justice David Levine, who still hears libel cases even though he is no longer the NSW Supreme Court defamation list judge. Slices from two of his latest judgments illustrate the point.

    In Dr William McBride v John Fairfax Group Pty Ltd and Norman Swan the judge was determining an application to dismiss the case for want of prosecution:

    “I do not, however, think it appropriate to determine whether or not now Dr McBride's action be dismissed in the context where nothing was done for an extended period of time, but not without explanation as far as the plaintiff was concerned, and nothing was done by the defendants at all save for deciding not to file their defence, by applying to that vacuum, as it were, an approach that the overriding purpose has somehow been offended and therefore the plaintiff should be deprived of an opportunity to pursue his remedy.”

    Few people could have put it better. Needless to say, the defendants were done in the eye.

    Then days later in John Harvey v John Fairfax Publications Pty Ltd, Justice Levine dealt with an application by the plaintiff to add fresh imputations after the Court of Appeal ordered a new trial confined to one imputation. There’s nothing like a 138 word sentence to capture the essence of the thought:

    “I am of the view that the plaintiff is disentitled to the relief he seeks by reason of the first leg of the Anshun argument advanced for the defendant not being excluded by authority, that is, in such a circumstance as the present, the fact that there is no separate proceedings in which the status of the latter is considered in relation to the former, does not preclude the application of the same principles; secondly, if that be incorrect, and on the second basis advanced for the defendant, that on an abuse of process basis cognate with the principle in Anshun, the plaintiff should fail, as the plaintiff should fail by reason of the peculiar nature of the existing order on foot of the court superior to me, that there be a new trial limited to imputation (a).”

    Two fine entries for the “Run That Past Me Again” awards. 

    *   *   *

    Mildren: absolutely staggered

    WHO is the idiot who did that?” Justice Dean Mildren demanded to know in the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory.

    Before him was serial burglar Tryston Ellis, 18, who had pleaded guilty to 46 charges of unlawful entry, stealing and aggravated burglary.

    What had completely got up His Honour’s nostrils was the fact that some “idiot” had given Ellis bail on seven previous occasions, only to have the self-confessed “low life” return to his criminal ways.

    Mildren J was “absolutely staggered” by this grant of bail.

    “No wonder the people of Darwin are tired of their houses being broken into. The victims must be saying, ‘the system has failed me’ ... 

    He is back before this court with 40-odd offences and everyone’s been dancing around saying he has to go to the drug court. What absolute rubbish. This court should have been dealing with him, not the drug court.”

    You couldn’t get it much clearer than that.

    Next day things were a bit sombre at the Supreme Court as it dawned that Deano himself had contributed his fair share towards the failure of the system.

    His Honour conceded that he was the “idiot” who granted bail for Ellis on the most recent occasion. He had just forgotten and that if he’d known the extent of the re-offending it would never have happened.

    His apologies to the public and to the victims could not have been more heartfelt as he sent the wretch down for 12 years.

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