The attorney for former political member Brittany Higgins’ fiancé told the Supreme Court in Washington that a defamation case against her client would “end in financial tears”, with legal costs potentially running into millions of dollars.
Linda Reynolds is suing David Sharaz for defamation over five social media posts that allegedly defamed the liberal senator from Washington.
The case is set to go to trial in May, with lawyers for Senator Reynolds and Mr. Sharaz meeting Thursday before Supreme Court Justice Marcus Solomon to discuss a request for security for costs.
That means Senator Reynolds would have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in court, or mortgage her home, to prove she can cover Mr. Sharaz’s legal costs, if she fails to prove her case in court. court. court.
Linda Reynolds is suing David Sharaz (pictured with Brittany Higgins) for defamation over five social media posts that allegedly defamed the liberal senator from Washington.
During a hearing that lasted nearly three hours, Mr Sharaz’s lawyer, Jason MacLaurin, claimed the case would “end in tears financially” for both parties regardless of the outcome, with legal fees amounting to “hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars”. which would leave the parties “financially uncomfortable”.
Senator Reynolds’ lawyer, Martin Bennett, countered that such cases usually end in tears one way or another.
Ultimately, Judge Solomon decided to adjourn the case and will rule on the cost security claim at another hearing on Friday afternoon.
Neither Senator Reynolds nor Mr. Sharaz were present in the hearing room.
Other issues surrounding this high-profile case were discussed, including the possibility of mediation hearings in October or November, which, if successful, would eliminate the need for a trial.
Outside court, Mr Bennett said it was often successful when the defendant said “I’m sorry”.
“Apologies are one of the best things about a reputation,” Bennett said.
“Awarding damages is the best thing a court can do, because it cannot order a defamer who has lost a libel case to apologize.”
Senator Reynolds (pictured) would have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to be withheld by the court, or mortgage her home, to prove she can cover Mr Sharaz’s legal costs, if she fails to prove his case. the tribunal
Mr MacLaurin also tried to keep open the possibility of moving the case to the ACT Supreme Court, arguing that Senator Reynolds was suing a private citizen in the WA Supreme Court when the case had nothing to do with it. do with the state.
Mr Bennett, however, claims his client is a senator representing the state of Western Australia.
“She lives here, her family is here, her friends are here, her parliamentary and Liberal Party colleagues are here, and her ties are with Western Australia, not Canberra,” Mr Bennett said, also qualifying the ‘Mr. MacLaurin’s argument of ‘irrelevant.’
Mr. MacLaurin also questioned whether the senator would be able to pay his client’s costs if he were successful, given that Senator Reynolds has also launched a similar lawsuit against his client’s partner, Brittany Higgins.
The defense attorney also noted that notices had been issued by the plaintiff against Federal Minister Tanya Plibersek, asking whether the Minister would also be the target of a defamation case.
The question of a potential legal threat against controversial blogger Shane Dowling has also been raised, amid revelations on Thursday morning that Senator Reynolds was considering a libel action against him.
Mr Bennett said Mr Dowling published an article about Senator Reynolds on his website, Kangaroo Court of Australia, before contacting Mr Bennett earlier this week to ask him a series of questions.
Senator Linda Reynolds’ lawyer Martin Bennett (pictured) leaves the David Malcolm Justice Center in Perth on Thursday
“I wrote back to him and said, in fact, your article is defamatory, you know it’s defamatory, if you’re going to publish your article, you do so at your own risk,” Mr Bennett said.
But he also indicated that this threat would not work.
‘I can’t speak for Senator Reynolds,’ he said, ‘but you can’t sue every fringe commentator’, pointing out that Mr Dowling is in a ‘unique position’ in the face of his apparent desire to go to prison.
Mr Dowling has been jailed several times for contempt of court and was described by NSW Supreme Court Justice Helen Wilson as “bigoted, legally misinformed and deceived about the facts “.
Judge Solomon will deliver his decision on Friday afternoon.