Former Attorney-General Christian Porter has agreed to discontinue his claim for damages against the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) after the national broadcaster published a number of articles and programs about allegations he had raped a member of his debating team in the late 1980s.
The outcome comes days after after Porter lost high profile defamation silk Sue Chrysanthou SC, who was restrained from acting for Porter because she had previously advised a witness in the case.
The outcome is a win for the ABC because no damages have been paid. The silver lining for Porter is that the ABC has clarified that they did not intend to suggest that Mr Porter had committed the criminal offences alleged. Also, the ABC has agreed to pay his costs.
The ABC has published a statement on their webpage.
Defamation specialist Sue Chrysanthou SC has been restrained by a Federal Court judge from representing former Attorney General Christian Porter in his defamation suit against the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and its star reporter Louise Milligan.
This is a blow for Porter, who had engaged Sue Chrysanthou SC after the ABC aired allegations that he had raped a member of his debating team in the 1980s.
Today’s decision came after Jo Dyer, director of the Adelaide Writers Week, a witness in the case and a friend of Mr Porter’s alleged rape victim, launched urgent Federal Court action earlier this month to restrain Ms Chrysanthou from acting for him.
Justice Thawley ruled that the integrity of the judicial process and the due administration of justice required Ms Chrysanthou to be restrained. Furthermore, whilst Ms Chrysanthou had given evidence she did not recall any confidential information and that she no longer had emails received in connection with the meeting, Justice Thawley held that:
“However recollections are liable to being revived and there is nevertheless a risk of subconscious use of confidential information”
Detailed reasons for his decision have been suppressed so the confidential information is not revealed.