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
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Peter Slipper Summonsed On Taxi Voucher Allegations

The member for Fisher and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Peter Slipper, has been summonsed to appear in the Canberra Magistrates Court next month.

Slipper has been summonsed in relation to three offences of “Dishonestly Causing a Risk of a Loss to the Commonwealth”.

The allegations of misusing taxi vouchers arose out of James Ashby’s sexual harassment allegations against Slipper. The Federal Police subsequently undertook an investigation into Slipper’s travel entitlements. Last month, the Federal Court threw out the sexual harassment claim as an abuse of process.

Text of a media release from the Federal Police.

Media Statement: Mr Peter Slipper MP summonsed in relation to AFP investigation

Release Date: Monday, January 07 2013, 03:21 PM

The AFP has today (7 January 2013) served the legal representative of Mr Peter Slipper MP with a summons in relation to three offences of Dishonestly Causing a Risk of a Loss to the Commonwealth pursuant to section 135.1(5) Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

Mr Slipper MP has been summonsed to appear in the Canberra Magistrates Court on 15 February 2013.

It would not be appropriate to comment further at this time.


Subtlety Lost: Craig Emerson On The Australian Media

The Minister for Trade, Craig Emerson, has written an opinion piece criticising coverage by the Australian media of recent political controversies.

EmersonEmerson focuses on the Gillard-AWU issue and the issues surrounding the sexual harassment case brought by James Ashby against Peter Slipper. He is especially critical of coverage by the News Limited papers, The Australian and The Daily Telegraph.

Emerson also directs his fire at Tony Abbott, Julie Bishop and Christopher Pyne.

Of the media overall, Emerson says: “I am not asserting there is a general bias in the media. Some editors and a few journalists are blatantly biased. That has always been the case. But the real problem is the abandonment of professional standards to give effect to that bias. All subtlety is lost.”

Text of an opinion piece by the Minister for Trade, Craig Emerson.

Subtlety lost

At Sydney University in the early 1970s a course simply called “Government” was offered to economics, arts and law students. It was a time of social upheaval and the election of the Whitlam Government had ended 23 years of conservative rule. The Murdoch press had backed a change of government.

My tutor in Government, Lex Watson, a gay rights activist, had set us a task: to identify bias in the media. But as left-wing as Lex was, the six-week project wasn’t about left versus right, it was about the techniques used by the print media to slant a story to suit an editorial position. [Read more...]


Graham Perrett Refers Slipper Conspiracy Allegations To Federal Police

Graham Perrett, the federal Labor member for Moreton, has referred information from the Federal Court decision on the Peter Slipper-James Ashby sexual harassment case to the Australian Federal Police.

In his letter, Perrett says Mal Brough, Christopher Pyne, Julie Bishop, Mark McArdle, James Ashby and Karen Doane “may have committed criminal offences in relation to their participation in a political conspiracy designed to harm the Honourable Peter Slipper MP and the Federal Government”.

[Read more...]


Slipper And Ashby: The Media Then And Now

Gillard government ministers continued their attack on the opposition today over its involvement in the Slipper-Ashby sexual harassment case.

Ministers repeatedly called on the Liberal National Party in Queensland to disendorse Mal Brough in Slipper’s electorate of Fisher.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Mike Kelly, described the affair as an “Australian Watergate”.

On social media, the Australian media was repeatedly attacked for its coverage of yesterday’s decision by the Federal Court to dismiss the case as an abuse of process and a conspiracy to damage Slipper politically.

This video was posted on YouTube by Twitter user @geeksrulz:



Labor Pursues Brough Over Role In Slipper-Ashby Case

The federal government has targeted the Liberal National Party candidate for Fisher, Mal Brough, after today’s Federal Court decision in the James Ashby-Peter Slipper sexual harassment case.

Nicola Roxon

In a range of media appearances this afternoon, the Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, the Trade Minister, Craig Emerson, and the Education Minister, Peter Garrett, have called for Brough to stand down over his role in the case.

The calls came after the harassment case was dismissed as an abuse of process. Brough’s role is canvassed in detail in the judgment.

  • Listen to Nicola Roxon’s media conference (11m)

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  • Listen to Nicola Roxon debate George Brandis on ABC 774 (22m)

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  • Listen to Craig Emerson interviewed by David Speers on Sky News (8m)

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Education Minister Peter Garrett also commented on the Slipper-Ashby case in a media conference called to discuss reports about Australia’s rankings in international education tests.

  • Listen to Peter Garrett’s media conference (11m)

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  • Watch Craig Emerson on ABC’s 7.30 (7m)