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The State of the Union ... The Age of Trump ... Fears mount for the mental health of the commander-in-chief ... Tweet rants ... Corporate hucksters float to the surface ... Pillaging the national estate ... Religious "freedoms" on the rise ... Election rorting rampant ... Roger Fitch on the front line ... Read more ... 

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    It's like asking people when they've had food poisoning from fish whether they'd eat fish again. They always say 'no'. But within a month or so you're sitting down having barramundi with them." 

    Deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce explaining why he thinks the story about his affair with a younger member of his staff and associated job preferment is a passing event that will fade from public attention. Fairfax Media, February 20, 2018 ... Read more ... 

    Justinian Featurettes

    Concerning Champagne ... Champagne - a product as much driven by marketing and legend as by the content of the bottle ... Ten myths exploded in a new critique of the bubbly libation ... Justinian's wine man G.D. Wendler explains - just in time for Christmas ... Read more ... 

    Justinian's archive

    Atanaskovic wins over-wrought billings battle ... Chang, Pistilli and Simmons – former partners of Antagonistic Heartless – go down in fight about their share of late recorded billings … Too much distrust, too little courtesy ... From our archive, March 12, 2010  ... Read more ... 


    « AAT prez birched by fellow Tasmanians | Main | Perfidy in peacetime »

    Hurt feelings

    Latest thrills and spills around the Defamation Court ... Reputations under fire ... Tony Renshaw v Lawyers Weekly ... Chief Madge v Daily Tele ... Ashurst Partner v Fairfax ... Littlemore, gentle but firm ... Defamatorium 

    Farrow: confusion with Renshaw

    SYDNEY barrister Anthony Renshaw is suing Lawyers Weekly over a hash of a story it published on its website on November 21.

    An unreserved apology was issued two days later, and the publisher is now defending Renshaw's defamation case on the ground of "offer of amends". 

    The story was a complete muck-up, confusing Renshaw with a former Penthouse Pet called Simone Farrow, a.k.a Simone Starr, a.k.a. Simone Cheung. 

    Simone had been charged with importing 311.9 grams of ice into Australia. 

    According to a Sunday Telegraph report she claimed Renshaw was her stepfather who had gone surety for her before she skipped bail. 

    "He raised me ... I'm going to try and talk to him. He sent his love while I was in prison."

    Renshaw: suingRenshaw pleaded six imputations for the article headed "Barrister's double trouble".

    (a) The plaintiff was in prison over drug charges.

    (b) The plaintiff is a criminal.

    (c) The plaintiff fled to Queensland in March to avoid justice.

    (d) The plaintiff is embroiled in a seedy court case.

    (e) Richard Vereker put up $50,000 bail to have the plaintiff released from prison.

    (f) The plaintiff is unfit to be a barrister.

    NSW District Court Judge Judith Gibson struck out imputations (e) and (f) with leave to replead.  

    Judge Gibson said it was usual practice for the matter complained of be set out in full in the court's reasons. However, because the article "contained errors" and is withdrawn from publication it was not reproduced in her judgment

    What we do know from the judgment is ... 

    "The article describes the plaintiff, a barrister, as having two problems. The first is that he has been the victim of theft by a 'former Penthouse Pet' with whom he shared his apartment, and the second was that he was 'released from prison over unrelated drugs charges', following which he fled to Queensland in March 2012; as a result the surety of $50,000 put up on his behalf was called upon." 

    In November, Farrow was charged with stealing Renshaw's ANZ cheque book and cashing 12 cheques worth $50,000. 

    She was also charged with redirecting his mail to another address without his consent.  

    *   *   *

    Henson: protecting his honourACCORDING to our sister organ Gazette of Law & Journalism NSW Chief Madge and Dizzo judge Graeme Henson has saddled-up for a defo action against the Daily Smellograph for a story published on September 28 last year.

    The Chief Madge claims the story, headed "New law denies judge double-dip pension", remained on the paper's website until October 16.

    He is pleading a whole heap of imputations for five publications - including Twitter and an online opinion piece by Justice and Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare, viz: 

    1. The Chief Magistrate of NSW, sought to exploit a legal loophole to claim two different retirement pensions for the same period of work.
    2. While serving as the Chief Magistrate of NSW and as a judge, he attempted to cheat the public out of millions of dollars by claiming two different retirement pensions for the same period of work.
    3. His persistence, while serving as the Chief Magistrate and as judge, in interpreting judicial pension laws to claim millions of dollars in double super for the same period of work, was so unreasonable it forced the state government to rush new laws through parliament to prevent his claim.
    4. He is not fit to occupy judicial office by reason of his disgraceful attempt to take advantage, for personal financial gain, of being made a judge while also being Chief Magistrate.
    5. He is more interested in getting benefits and perks than doing his job.
    6. He is corrupt in that he tried to use his positions to achieve financial gain.
    7. He is dishonest.
    8. He is no better than a corrupt law enforcement officer who takes bribes.
    9. He has no integrity.
    10. He deserves to be sacked for corruption.

    Henson claims a sixth publication, "Judge denies assertion regarding pension" together with an editor's note, implied that he lied. 

    See statement of claim

    *   *   *

    IT's comforting to see that News Ltd reptiles also have sensitive feelings. 

    Lawyers for Channel Seven were amazed to receive cranky correspondence from lawyers for the Smello's crime editor Janet Fife-Yeomans. 

    Apparently, The Morning Show, a sort of advertorial wonderland that follows Kochie's Sunrise, used some file footage of the Tele's newsroom to illustrate a story about laziness in the workforce. 

    The footage included a few frames of the crime editor. 

    Channel Seven was quick to recognise the error of its ways and grovelled to the hard-working hackette, pronto. 

    *   *   *

    MEANWHILE, lawyers have been working into the night trying to settle a defo complaint by Ashurst partner and News Ltd's hired gun Sophie Dawson.

    She has Fairfax media and Sydney Morning Herald business writer Michael West in her sights, after the journalist made critical comments in the SMH about a letter of demand Dawson wrote on behalf of uranium company Paladin Energy and Paladin's general manager of international affairs, Greg Walker. 

    Her letter claimed that an article (Australian uranium company Paladin and its mess-up in Malawi) posted by anti-nuclear campaigner Ms Noel Wauchope, a 75-year-old pensioner, was defamatory of her clients, was false, should be removed from her website, and that a correction and grovel should be published. 

    Dawson added:

    "Please note that you must not publish this letter or its contents to any person or in any form, except to your legal advisors on a confidential basis." 

    West said that Dawson's letter was an attempt to muzzle free speech and that lawyers are threatening and shutting down websites around the country "at an alarming clip". 

    Apparently, the settlement requires removal of West's story from the SMH website, plus a grovel to set things to rights. 

    In November another Ashurst partner, Robert Todd, wrote to farmer Bruce Robertson, on behalf of his clients Grid Australia. 

    Robertson had attributed the increase in power prices to the industry's ''gold-plating'' of infrastructure, dodgy forecasts and other misleading claims, such as "rigorous reliability settings".

    Todd wanted Robertson to stop making these claims, to remove his submission to a Senate inquiry from his website, grovel and pay costs - otherwise litigation might ensue. 

    Not long after, the chairman of Grid Australia withdrew all legal threats and apologised to Bruce Robertson.  

    *   *   * 

    Littlemore: accused of shoving and car scratching

    INEXORABLY, that brings us to Stuart (Keys) Littlemore. 

    One of the reasons he is so widely adored is his tendency to indulge in spontaneous outbursts of kindness. 

    The shoving of an SBS journalist outside the ICAC inquiry is his latest indulgence. 

    He explained in a letter to The Sydney Morning Herald that he ...

    "gently but firmly pushed aside a person who had rushed in front of me, bent double and thrusting a microphone across me towards Mr Obeid."  

    The fact that the file footage was at variance with this version of events shows the unreliability of ABC cameras. 

    The great man commenced his letter by criticising a Herald reporter: 

    "It was extremely discourteous of you to attempt to interrogate me in front of a lift full of people." 

    In 1991 an English judge, Sir Jeremiah Harman, kicked a taxi-driver, thinking the follow was a journalist. The London Telegraph observed in a blazing editorial:

    "We fear that in kicking someone he thought was a journalist Mr Justice Harman was acting in a way of which many citizens would approve. Nevertheless, we disagree." 

    The paper advised that if the judge must kick someone, let him keep it in the family, as it were, and kick a barrister.

    Then there was the misunderstanding in 2002 over the scratched Saab, belonging to Littlemore's neighbour, hairdresser Barbara Sylvester. 

    Littlemore threaten the Herald with defamation if reporter Kate McClymont wasn't "careful" in the way the matter was reported. 

    The mighty silk denied the scratching and proposed that his wife Allison pay for the damage to the Saab, if Mrs Sylvester withdraws the complaint to the police and says no more about the matter. 

    His lawyer came up with a remarkable deed of release.

    It's worth reading

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