Billionaire Clive Palmer has been pressured to pay a part of the authorized charges of West Australian Premier Mark McGowan after they each got here out losers of their bitter defamation trial.
The Premier and the mining magnate sued one another for defamation within the NSW Federal Courtroom, with $5000 in damages awarded to Mr Palmer and $20,000 to the Premier.
On Thursday, the matter returned to court docket to work out prices, with Justice Michael Lee ruling Mr Palmer ought to pay a part of Mr McGowan’s prices, noting Mr McGowan had made a proposal for each events to stroll away final December to keep away from the trial.
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“I’m amply happy that until Mr Palmer sued, Mr McGowan wouldn’t have sued,” Justice Lee stated.
“In circumstances the place Mr McGowan was already dragged into court docket, and was already required to expend authorized prices, the graduation of the cross-claim in relation to plainly defamatory publications can’t be stigmatised as being unreasonable.”
Justice Lee reiterated it was Mr Palmer who “first picked up the cudgels”.
“Each males went too far of their political jousting and each males litigated, however just one was prepared to attract again and keep away from the lengthy and dear listening to,” he stated.
“The suitable order is that Mr Palmer ought to pay Mr McGowan’s prices of the cross-claim.
“On stability, nevertheless, I don’t suppose the prices needs to be awarded on an indemnity foundation, primarily due to the blended final end result, but in addition as a result of Mr McGowan’s elevated value by operating a variety of factors that weren’t precisely dripping in benefit, together with a standard regulation and statutory certified privilege defence that might not succeed.”
Mr Palmer was ordered to pay the Premier’s prices from 11am on December 22 final yr.
The precise determine has not but been publicly revealed and if there’s a dispute between the events a court docket registrar will make a willpower.
Nevertheless it was revealed earlier in the course of the listening to that the every day value of Mr McGowan’s barrister, Bret Walker SC, was larger than the damages awarded — some $25,000 per day.
“It’s an attention-grabbing stage of your profession you attain when your every day charge exceeds the award of damages,” Justice Lee commented.
Mr Walker replied: “I’d hate your honour to suppose that is the primary time that’s occurred.”
His response drew laughs from folks in court docket.
Concerning the provide, the court docket was advised a letter was despatched by the Premier’s authorized crew in December to Mr Palmer’s legal professionals, calling for each side to confess they’d “gone too far” and for the case to not proceed to trial as a result of there was a threat they might each lose.
It was steered each side ought to stroll away and pay their very own prices at that time, however Mr Palmer’s authorized crew rejected the provide.
Mr Palmer’s authorized crew argued the provide got here late, however Justice Lee famous the trial was nonetheless a while away at that time.
The Queensland businessman’s crew argued the court docket case had in the end resulted in a tie, so each side ought to must pay for their very own legal professionals.
However the Premier’s authorized crew argued the December letter needs to be taken into consideration as nicely, because it was Mr Palmer who began the authorized combat.
“The failure to have interaction with the provide didn’t serve to finest facilitate the optimum use of the sources of the court docket and the events,” Justice Lee decided.
“However ultimately, Mr McGowan additionally defamed Mr Palmer, and regardless of the provide, he mustn’t get his prices of the first continuing.”
In the course of the trial, proof was heard about Mr Palmer’s authorized combat over the WA exhausting border, his stalled iron ore mission, arbitration between the events, and the extraordinary laws which was handed to dam the mining magnate’s means to say nearly $30bn in damages.
Justice Lee delivered his judgment within the case earlier this month, saying “the sport has not been definitely worth the candle” as he criticised each events.
“These proceedings haven’t solely concerned appreciable expenditure by Mr Palmer and the taxpayers of WA, however have additionally consumed appreciable sources of the commonwealth and, importantly, diverted court docket time from resolving controversies of actual significance to individuals who’ve a urgent must litigate,” he stated.
In parliament instantly after the prices resolution was handed down, Mr McGowan stated he would by no means give in to somebody like Mr Palmer.
“Mr Palmer selected to provoke this court docket motion, and I had no choice however to reply and get up for WA,” the Premier stated.
“I by no means needed to finish up in court docket over this matter. I didn’t need to spend money and time in court docket, however I had no alternative apart from to defend myself and our state.
“It’s additionally essential to make the purpose that when Clive Palmer began this motion, he began it within the context of this authorities’s effort to save lots of the state from Mr Palmer’s makes an attempt to take WA for $30bn — a transfer that may have destroyed our price range, devastated our economic system and prompted ache for each single West Australian.”
Mr McGowan stated he wouldn’t be bullied by Mr Palmer.
“I refuse to present in to Mr Palmer’s calls for,” he stated.
“That is pretty much as good an end result as we might have hoped.
“We now have to count on that somebody like Mr Palmer gained’t cease till he will get what he desires.
“Litigation is his self-confessed interest … and comes at no actual monetary value to him.
“I want this was the tip of the matter and I hope it’s, however I can guarantee the parliament and all West Australians that no matter is thrown at us, no matter is thrown at my authorities and me personally, I’ll proceed to face up for WA.”
Mr Palmer is but to touch upon the result.