Victory For James Ashby As Federal Court Overturns Peter Slipper Harassment Decision

The Full Bench of the Federal Court has overturned the 2012 decision by Justice Rares in the Peter Slipper sexual harassment case.

In upholding the appeal by James Ashby, the full bench, consisting of Justices John Mansfield and John Gilmour, said:

“We are satisfied that the evidence before the primary judge did not warrant the adverse finding said to constitute an abuse of the court’s process on the two bases found and did not warrant the rejection by his Honour of the sworn and unchallenged evidence of each of [James] Ashby and [Michael] Harmer.”

Ashby was awarded costs. This represents a severe financial imposition on Slipper.

The court rejected an appeal by solicitor Michael Harmer, who was criticised by Justice Rares over his conduct of the case, but also said:

“Nonetheless, we have concluded that the adverse findings in relation to his conduct, with their flow on affect upon Ashby, ought not to have been made.”

The decision means that Slipper is now likely to face trial on the sexual harassment claims. The abuse of process decision of Justice Rares has been overturned. [Read more...]


James Ashby Seeks Leave To Appeal Federal Court Decision

James Ashby has filed an application seeking leave to appeal the Federal Court decision which threw out his sexual harassment case against the former Speaker, Peter Slipper.

Ashby’s case was dismissed on December 12 last year by Justice Steven Rares, who described it as an abuse of process.

A statement from Ashby’s “spokesperson” says Ashby’s lawyer, Michael Harmer, will also seek leave to appeal.

Statement regarding James Ashby.

James Ashby Statement

Friday, 11 January 2013

An Application by James Ashby seeking Leave to Appeal Justice Rares’ decision of 12 December has been lodged today with the Federal Court.

An Application by Michael Harmer (Harmers Workplace Lawyers) also seeking Leave to Appeal Justice Rares’ decision will be lodged Monday with the Federal Court.

Although there are many common grounds in the ?nding, Justice Rares made separate and distinct ?ndings regarding Mr. Ashby and Mr, Harmer, so each presently is being separately legally represented in this Application.

Harmers Workplace Lawyers continues to represent Mr. Ashby in his sexual harassmentcase against Mr. Slipper.

Neither Mr. Ashby nor Mr. Harmer is available for interview.

Spokesperson

Media Contact
Anthony McClellan
AMC Media
Mob: 0433 122 360
anthonymcc@gmail.com
Twitter antmac9


Brandis Accuses Roxon Of Inappropriate Behaviour

The shadow Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis, says Nicola Roxon is behaving inappropriately over the Ashby-Slipper case.

Under attack from government spokespeople for his role in the matter, Brandis issued a brief statement after the Federal Court decision was announced today.

Media statement from Senator George Brandis.

Senator the Hon George Brandis SC – Media Statement

12/12/12

The Opposition is carefully studying the reasons given by Justice Rares this morning.

We note that Mr Ashby has already announced he will appeal the decision.

The Attorney-General has once again behaved inappropriately, and once again shown a misunderstanding of her appropriate constitutional role, in commenting on the case when it remains before the court pending the appeal.

The Attorney-General has also yet to explain why the Commonwealth settled its side of the proceeding in breach of the Commonwealth’s own guidelines.


Abuse Of Process: Peter Slipper Sexual Harassment Case Thrown Out By Federal Court

The sexual harassment case brought by James Ashby against Peter Slipper has been thrown out as an abuse of process by a Federal Court judge.

In a scathing judgment, Mr. Justice Rares found against Ashby and ordered him to pay costs in the case brought against Slipper when he was Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Ashby immediately announced that he would appeal the decision.

  • Download the Federal Court judgment: PDF or Word

Full text of the Federal Court decision in Ashby v the Commonwealth and Peter Slipper.

FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA

Ashby v Commonwealth of Australia (No 4)
[2012] FCA 1411

Citation: Ashby v Commonwealth of Australia (No 4) [2012] FCA 1411

Parties: JAMES HUNTER ASHBY v COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA and PETER SLIPPER

File number: NSD 580 of 2012

Judge: RARES J

Date of judgment: 12 December 2012

Catchwords: PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – dismissal or stay – application for proceedings to be dismissed or stayed as an abuse of process pursuant to r 26.01(1) of the Federal Court Rules 2011 (Cth) – categories of abuse of process not closed – where allegations allegedly made in pleading for predominant purpose of a political attack to advance maker’s own interests – where some allegations made that were irrelevant, scandalous or calculated to injure – where applicant’s lawyer responsible for impugned allegations – where applicant and lawyer intended or aware that media would obtain a copy of pleading and publish allegations made in it [Read more...]