Christian Porter lawyer has ‘confidential’ information on ABC witness’s ‘weaknesses’, court documents claim | Australia news


Christian Porter’s top-class attorney has “confidential” information that would give her an insight into the “strengths, weaknesses, honesty, knowledge and beliefs” of one of the ABC witnesses in his defamation of the former attorney general, the federal court action.

Ahead of next week’s hearing on whether defamation specialist Sue Chrysanthou SC can be prevented from acting for Porter in its high-stakes case against the ABC, a number of documents released by federal court on Friday have the case against the silk to the end set out friend of the woman who Porter accused three decades ago of raping her.

Jo Dyer, who debated with the woman in the late 1980s, claims Chrysanthou had a conflict of interest over a meeting the two women made late last year over Australian coverage of an ABC Four Corners episode starring Dyer Had newspaper.

Also present at the meeting was Macquarie Bank chief executive James Hooke, a friend of Porter and his prosecutor for 30 years, who released a statement in March stating that he had “relevant talks from” mid-1988 until her death ” “with Porter’s accusers. in June 2020 and with Porter from 1992.

In her own statement, also released on Friday, Chrysanthou said she attended the meeting to do a “favor” to another lawyer, Matthew Richardson, son of former Labor power broker Graham Richardson and a friend of hers. to prove.

Chrysanthou has denied violating her lawyer duty by acting for Porter after giving advice to Dyer. Although she did not obtain her consent to act on behalf of the former attorney general, she did not do so.

According to her court documents, Chrysanthou Dyer did not bill her time and, she says, never consented to act in any trial. However, she admits that she gave Dyer additional advice on Jan. 27-28.

The case concerns the type of information disclosed at the meeting, whether Chrysanthou had an attorney-client relationship with Dyer, and whether doing anything for Porter would be tantamount to acting against Dyer’s interests.

Chrysanthou’s lawyers said the lawyer did not remember what she was told during the meeting. In her statement, she says she does not remember any information relevant to the Porter case.

She says that in the “little time” she spent with Dyer, she had “no opinion” about her “strengths, weaknesses, honesty, knowledge” [or] Beliefs “. Chrysanthou’s attorneys also state that Dyer “is not their client” and “is not a party to the Porter trial.”

In a heavily edited statement released by federal court on Friday, Dyer attorneys allege that Chrysanthou was informed of “facts, matters and circumstances” during the meeting that are subject to the confidentiality of the attorney and client.

While this information is being edited in the documents, Dyer’s attorneys assert that there is a “real prospect” that information is “relevant to the facts in question or, alternatively, to the credibility of witnesses summoned to testify in Mr. Porter’s defamation trial “.

“The disclosure of these matters to Ms. Chrysanthou, as well as those mentioned in the previous section, has enabled her to form a general opinion of Ms. Dyer’s strengths, weaknesses, honesty, knowledge, and beliefs,” they claim.

“This statement constitutes confidential information that should not be shared with Ms. Dyer or used.”

While Chrysanthou attorneys say Dyer has no position in the Porter case, Dyer’s attorneys say she is being “called” by the ABC as a witness in its defamation defense against Porter and therefore “likely to be cross-examined by a Mr. Porter attorney “.

But Chrysanthou says when she informed Dyer’s attorney that she was planning to work for Porter in March of this year, she said to herself, “If confidential information came to mind, she would never disclose it to anyone.”

After attorneys for Dyer raised concerns about her involvement in the case, she also pledged “not to interrogate Dyer or Hooke if they should witness the Porter trial.”

The three-day trial that begins Monday could have far-reaching ramifications for Porter’s ABC libel case.

During a hearing on Wednesday, Christopher Withers SC said on behalf of Porter that it would be a “very, very big deal” if Chrysanthou were prevented from acting on the case because of the time already invested in the process and their “specialist” skills “As a defamation expert.

“That could be at risk if she cannot act … so we are vigorously defending to keep her on lawyer on a case that has the most serious implications for (Porter),” he said.