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Posts Tagged ‘James Ashby’

#Ashby appeal: Slipper’s turn

In Ashby Conspiracy, Joan Evatt on May 3, 2013 at 11:48 PM

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By Joan Evatt

May 3, 2013

It was Peter Slipper’s turn today in Day 2 of the Ashby v Slipper Appeal. Slipper was represented by well-known Sydney silk, Ian Neil SC. He had to wait for twenty minutes or so while Michael Lee SC endeavoured to add further to his submissions from yesterday.

The issues Lee wanted to expand on were questions about the urgency of Ashby’s application preventing Ashby and his representatives from pursuing all alternative remedies available to him on the sexual harassment issue.

Lee also raised the question of whether there was evidence given on what was in the mind of Michael Harmer on the question of ‘genuine steps.’

He got short shrift from Justice Siopis. As Mr Lee had a right of reply following Ian Neil’s submissions it may have been more circumspect to wait until then to raise these issues.

It is the role of Mr Neil SC to argue that the decision of Justice Rares is correct and should stand. He outlined in order nine subject headings raised in the written submissions of Ashby and Harmer he wanted to address.

“The best laid plans of mice and men …” on paper this would have looked neat and logical. In reality their Honours were feisty and challenging. For most of the remainder of the morning Neil’s oral submissions were punctuated with rugged questioning as we bounced from issue to issue making it increasingly difficult for those few from the media and the general public present to follow with any confidence.

At no stage did Mr Neil show any impatience with or discomfiture by this morning’s proceedings. It is worth noting that he didn’t wilt under the pressure either, but continued to argue the merits of his case.

Neil started his oral submission considering the questions of procedural fairness as raised in the Ashby submission. In his decision Rares J is satisfied Slipper established that Mr Ashby had combined with one or more of the persons named as part of the conspiracy that would result in his finding ‘an abuse of the process’.

Justice Gilmour asked whether it only related to Mr Harmer. Mr Neil’s answer took the court down a grammatical path. A definitive “No Your Honour” was his response. The relevant paragraph in Rares’s decision ‘has to relate conjunctively/disjunctively with each, some or all of the persons named… It’s inelegant English but it’s not bad syntax and its meaning is clear.’ His Honour didn’t continue asking questions about sentence structure.

The grammar lesson set the tone of the rest of the morning’s hearings. Read the rest of this entry »

My Twitter interview with #Ashby’s media adviser

In Ashby Conspiracy, Margo Kingston on May 3, 2013 at 6:57 PM
James Ashby (left) with Anthony McClellan after the Federal Court ruling on December 12. Photo: Wolter Peeters, Fairfax

James Ashby (left) with Anthony McClellan after the Federal Court ruling on December 12. Their moneyman Michael Harmer stands behind.’ Photo: Wolter Peeters, Fairfax

By Margo Kingston

May 3, 2013

Mr Anthony McClellan followed me this morning, after I tweeted on the #Ashby appeal. His invitation to talk. So I threw him some questions and he threw me some answers. We’ve published the interview for the record here.

It is interesting that he chose to speak for Ashby lawyers Harmers on the $millions question of who is bankrolling Ashby’s case. The amount of damages awarded on court success could not cover the enormous costs involved, and perhaps not even the solicitor-client costs remaining if the Court ordered Slipper to pay party-party costs. Another mystery is why, if Harmers was carrying costs out of goodwill to poor Ashby, as claimed, perhaps tongue in cheek, by McClellan, the firm chose the most expensive and risky route possible to pursue his claim – an action in the Federal Court.

Rares judgement states that McClellan’s clients are Ashby and Doane, so why did he answer, at least in part, questions about Harmers’ funding? And what evidence does he rely on as the basis for his statements?

Naturally he chose to answer some questions and not others. He stated that he was retained by Ashby’s lawyer Harmers and has not yet been paid. He stated that Harmers were carrying the costs, and there were ‘no pledges’ of support from 3rd parties. He confirmed the truth of the Rares judgement concerning him.

Rares’ judgement states:

‘Mr Harmer recommended that Mr Ashby engage Mr McClellan as his media consultant to handle dealings with the media because Mr Slipper would be a high profile respondent in the intended proceedings. Mr Ashby and Ms Doane engaged Mr McClellan at $550 per hour plus GST on a no win no fee basis.’

These are the questions he chose not to answer:

Whether he could guarantee that no-one else would chip in funds to cover Harmer’s costs.

Who asked Harmers to take the job.

Why he agreed to deferred payment.

#Ashby appeal, Day 1

In Ashby Conspiracy, Joan Evatt on May 3, 2013 at 6:52 AM
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James Ashby, flanked by his parents and his lawyer Michael Harmer at the NSW Supreme court for their appeal application. Photo: Kate Geraghty, Fairfax

By Joan Evatt

May 3, 2013

With the exception of Michael Harmer all the key players were there for the media to take quick photos and 15-second video grabs. Peter Slipper and James Ashby are starting to look a little frayed around the edges as they prepare to endure yet another round in this legal saga.

Yesterday was the first day of a two-day hearing by the Full Court of the Federal Court. Justices Mansfield, Siopis and Gilmour are concurrently hearing both the application for leave to appeal along with the more substantive issues of the appeal itself.

Justice Mansfield tipped the wink to the parties’ representatives as to how much time the court thought should be allocated to each of the lawyers. For Michael Lee SC, Mr Ashby’s counsel and the first legal cab off the rank, this was always going to be difficult. His job is to plough the field for the first time with no real indication of the legal hoops he may have to jump through when they are presented to him by any one of the justices presiding.

Lee’s argument is that Rares J. made three fundamental errors resulting in Ashby not being able to present his case in full and therefore ‘be determined on its merits.’ He put forward the view that Ashby had not received procedural fairness.

Lee argued that the finding of an abuse of process by Rares J was
flawed as the seriousness of that finding required an onus that was a ‘heavy one’. Rares J needed to be ‘cautious’ in his consideration of this issue and, according to Mr Lee, Justice Rares wasn’t.

Mr Lee further argued that Justice Rares adopted an ‘impressionistic view’ about Mr Ashby’s involvement in a conspiracy to harm Mr Slipper with inferences being drawn that compromised the fact finding process.

The third error in the Rares decision, according to Mr Lee, involved the conduct of Mr Ashby’s solicitor, Mr Harmer. This was dealt with comparatively briefly as Mr Harmer, now a party to the appeal, is being separately represented by counsel, David Pritchard SC.

Lee SC also raised concerns about Justice Rares’s rejection of unchallenged evidence. Mr Slipper was representing himself at the time Michael Harmer gave evidence and didn’t subject Harmer’s evidence to any cross-examination. Read the rest of this entry »

Joan Evatt’s preview of #Ashby appeal

In Ashby Conspiracy, Joan Evatt on April 29, 2013 at 3:46 PM

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By Joan Evatt

April 29, 2013

Editors note: Here is Joan’s preview of the appeals by Ashby and his lawyer Michael Harmer against the Justice Rares’ dismissal of Ashby’s sexual harassment claim against Slipper as an abuse of the judicial system. Joan will report the hearing for @NoFibs.  Her first report is here.

Just when you think it is safe to re-enter still waters, the waves start to churn again. It’s a cause to pause. The matter of an application before the Court of Appeal to grant leave, and to consider reasons why Justice Rare’s decision in Ashby v Slipper should be overturned, will be heard this week.

The next saga resulting from Justice Rares’s decision in Ashby v Slipper was always going to be of interest. Public scrutiny of the appeal is further heightened because of one unusual aspect of the appeal. One of the appellants is Mr Ashby’s high-profile solicitor, Michael Harmer, of Harmer’s Workplace Lawyers.

For Mr Slipper, although the appeal is a continuing financial and emotional burden, this time should prove a slightly more refreshing exercise. Slipper is no longer on the back foot. Rather it is Mr Ashby and Mr Harmer who are both now fighting for their future professional careers and public standing.

Both applications contain identical grounds founded in Mr Ashby’s and Mr Harmer’s belief that Rares J erred in finding that the “predominant purpose” of Mr Ashby

“ … for bringing the proceedings was to pursue a political attack against the Respondent (Mr Slipper) and not to vindicate any legal claim he (that is Mr Ashby) may have… and accordingly that the proceedings were an abuse of process.” Read the rest of this entry »

Questions for Mr Pyne

In Ashby Conspiracy, Guest Author, Jane Cattermole, Margo Kingston, Tony The Geek on February 3, 2013 at 11:29 AM

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  1. Mr Pyne, do you condone the theft of diaries from MPs? If not what action should be taken against people who request & receive stolen goods?
  2. What is your attitude to stealing the diary of an MP & giving it to his rivals?
  3. What is your attitude to someone receiving stolen property? Particularly if they confess to so doing?
  4. Do you support abusing the process of the Court?
  5. Do you believe being named in Federal Court indicating abuse of process warrants full and open press appearance?
  6. Mr Pyne, WTF do you mean by ‘no specific knowledge’? https://soundcloud.com/geeksrulz/pyne-plays-games
  7. As LOTO, why didn’t Tony Abbott intitiate thorough investigation of serious rumours surrounding Mr Slipper?
  8. Why don’t you release your publicly funded transcripts of recent doorstops?
  9. Why does Abbott falsely claim that Brough has ‘been very upfront about his dealings with James Ashby’?
  10. Why did you say on Lateline that Mr Brough is contesting the Rares findings when he’s not & is it a ploy to avoid ?
  11. You’ve stated that on March 19 you drank with James Ashby and had “political discussion”; What was discussed?
  12. Pyne, you have repeatedly said this is a contest about trust. So why don’t you & Mr Abbott front the media & answer questions on Ashby?
  13. Do you condone Tony Abbott turning his back on journalists asking questions about the Ashby Brough Affair?
  14. You demanded the resignation of Mr Slipper over private SMS’s with Mr Ashby; will you release all your emails/SMS’s to or from Mr Ashby?

 

https://twitter.com/margokingston1/status/298046939759525888

 

These questions were crowdsourced from a number of people on Twitter who contributed to a request by Margo Kingston. They were all collated in this Storify post. A great thank you to all for their combined efforts.

[View the story “Christoper Pyne Questions on Ashbygate” on Storify]

Additional information

Abbott Questions

Brough Questions

EXCLUSIVE: Steve Lewis on why the Ashby judgement killed the story

In Ashby Conspiracy, Margo Kingston on February 3, 2013 at 4:18 AM

By Margo Kingston
February 3, 2013

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Last night and this morning I had an interesting twitter conversation with my former press gallery colleague Steve Lewis @lewiss50, who broke the story of Ashby’s court action. Twitter conversations can be higgildy piggildy because others jump in and it’s hard to keep track of the order of remarks. Still, our exchange raises questions about the role and obligations of the journalist which academic media people may wish to extrapolate for us. It was triggered by this tweet at the beginning of Tony Abbott’s press club speech on January 31, and if it continues, I’ll update.

Margo: Steve Lewis is the National Press Club’s choice to host Tony Abbott. Thus #Ashby stares citizens in the face – mocking us.

Steve: Margo, nice to hear from you Trust you are well Steve

Margo: Trying to get to the bottom of #Ashby. Hope you are too.

Steve; Margo Tell me what I should be pursuing?? Steve

Margo: Who is funding #Ashby. Who got Harmers/McClellan involved. How much did other Libs know. Why did Pyne lie about #Ashby contact. Why did Brough lie. Why won’t he defend himself now. Why is Abbott backing him?

In fact, why have your papers run dead on the #Ashby judgement after going crazy on the scoop that turned out to be a sting? No wonder many people conclude that News Limited was part of the conspiracy. hard to blame them.

You got conned, Steve. I’ve defended u, but people say why aren’t he and his papers ensuring the conmen are brought to account?

Steve: Hold on Margo, conned??? I have been pursuing Mr Slipper since August 2010 when he was a Lib MP. He is now facing criminal charges. He should have been turfed out of parl years ago – Howard shd not have kept him. The role played by Brough, Pyne et al is there for all to see. I was not conned Margo – the voters of Fisher were

Margo: #Ashby allegations were false, malicious, & made public by misusing Courts. If u weren’t conned you were part of the sting. Do u think voters of Fisher r now being conned by Brough? Read our story here. Please make him accountable, Steve. He used you.

Agree Slipper, bad egg/Libs knew/should have acted. Means don’t justify ends. You back cheating, lying, abusing judiciary?

For clarity, no Slipper travel abuse as Speaker (Ashby claims false). Summons for 2010 travel while a Lib. Read “EXCLUSIVE: How Finance defied protocol to crucify Slipper

           Still nonplussed by your view that you weren’t conned by Brough and co. Your response to this piece?   http://newmatilda.com/2013/01/31/how-con-journalist

Steve: My role in the Slipper scandal was summed up by Rares, who found that I did my job professionally and responsibly.

Margo: U were conned on Slipper yarn by #Ashby players. U r best placed to get truth & professional self-respect compels u to do so.

Read the rest of this entry »

We buy your papers, so give us a little respect! Where is the #Ashbygate judgment coverage?

In Ashby Conspiracy, Noely Neate on January 8, 2013 at 3:52 AM

By Noely Neate
Source: YaThink
Date: December 13th, 2012

Screenshot | 10 October 2012 | Sunshine Coast Daily | Readers, Brough say it’s time for Slipper to quit politics | Caption: “KEEN VIEWER: Mal Brough watches from the Daily’s news room as Peter Slipper resigns.” |

Regional areas rely on National media to ensure that we get a very full picture of what is happening in the Nation and the World.  Living in a regional area can be great, more relaxed lifestyle, awesome place to bring up a family etc., the flipside is that you are limited in choices and it can be easy to become a big fish in a little pond.  If the power being wielded is good, than that is not a problem, unfortunately when you’re the local newspaper and the big fish too long it can be detrimental.  Obviously there are area specific issues when you are the only show in town, you can’t go too hard on say Council or sitting MP’s as they may not talk to you at all or give you no access which means you have nothing to report?  On the other hand it can also mean that when you ‘go after someone’, there is no-one else to in the region to give an opposite view, this is what is happening on the Sunshine Coast at the moment.

Our local paper has been onto Peter Slipper for years.  Invested time and money into Travel rorts and the like.  At some stages it has been almost fanatical.  As Peter Brent in the Australian commented in his article “We can all dream” on the 19th of December “But Slipper is no ordinary sitting MP. He has a negative personal vote. Between the 2007and 2010 election his local rag the Sunshine Coast Daily went after him about entitlement transgressions. They went hard, and they were effective.”  This is very true, look at “Topic: peter slipper” in the Sunshine Coast Daily and you will see how long and hard they have been chasing Peter Slipper.  Even though the man has not been convicted of any wrong-doing the average local now thinks he is the biggest crook in the state? Read the rest of this entry »

Where is the #Ashbygate Outrage? Keeping an Eye on the media.

In Ashby Conspiracy, Noely Neate on January 8, 2013 at 3:34 AM

By Noely Neate
Source: YaThink
Date: December 13th, 2012

Keeping an Eye on the media

The day after Gillard’s (now famous) ‘misogyny’ speech I woke up thinking I was in the twilight zone.  Everyone I knew was amazed or affected in some way, yet, the morning news and papers barely referred to it, instead focussing on Slipper resigning?  I was seriously, WTF?  Thankfully over the next few days the so-called ‘serious’ media commentators were basically shamed into at least acknowledging it (even if in some terribly conservative white male stances) by social media and overseas media.  This whole #Ashbygate (as it is referred to on twitter) episode is a major déjà vu, the only difference is, not only am I am in the twilight zone, I am outraged!

Yes, Slipper had some repulsively juvenile texts, though of course without the “abuse of the process of the Court” (Justice Rares words, not mine, see “full judgement here” we, the public, would not even have been aware of the sexists texts, BUT, in reality the texts have now not been found to be illegal, just ‘vulgar’.  To be perfectly honest, the texts reek more of a man suffering a mid-life crisis trying to impress the perceived cool kid on the block, not so much aggressive sexism.  Regardless, it is not a good look, though am sure there are worse out there in MP land if we grabbed all their texts for the last 5 years?  What outrages me is the fact that a few people through their actions decided they would try to change the face of our democratically elected landscape. Read the rest of this entry »

The media now operates with all the subtlety of a Pugilist.

In Ashby Conspiracy, Craig Emerson on December 24, 2012 at 9:13 AM

Subtlety lost

By Craig Emerson
Date: 24 December 2012
Source: Craig Emerson

Newspaper Front Pages Collage

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.

During those six weeks I learned many of the established techniques, simply by comparing the treatment of the same story in different newspapers. Placement on an odd-numbered page gave a story greater prominence than on a left-hand side, even-numbered page. A front-page story in one newspaper might have been well back in another. An otherwise balanced story might be thrown out of balance by the editor’s headline. And oh so important, an archived photo of a scowling or cheerful politician could be retrieved from the files to capture the editor’s intent. Read the rest of this entry »

Timeline for #AshbyConspiracy & Questions for an #AshbyInquiry

In Ashby Conspiracy, Tony The Geek on December 23, 2012 at 12:06 AM

Collage of pollies in AshbyGate

[View the story “Timeline for #AshbyConspiracy & Questions for #AshbyInquiry” on Storify]

A Federal Court Judge has found a conspiracy by James Ashby, Karen Doane, Mal Brough to advance their own interest and that of the LNP. Mr Abbott maintains that he had no specific knowledge. Here is a timeline & questions.

This timeline will not cover every detail, as all of this was already covered extensively in the court case ruling as well as the media. What is covered is some of the aspects of the timeline which do not receive as much attention for whatever reason.

There are some questions on the record from Twitter below in the second section. Please feel free to add some more under the hashtag #AshbyQuestions after reviewing some of the info in here. Also please feel free to suggest more relevant facts that should be added to the timeline. A crowd-sourced effort has more chance to get the public record right.

Mr Abbott and Mr Slipper were best friends. Here seen in happier times.