Ashby seeks to keep latest twist in Slipper saga secret

In another twist to the sexual harassment case against Peter Slipper, his accuser wants to keep secret his reasons for why the Speaker’s attempt to have the matter thrown out should be dismissed by the Federal Court.
Nanjing Night Net

James Ashby, the former media advisor to Mr Slipper, has filed an interlocutory application with the Court, which will be heard on Friday.

The News Limited journalist who broke the story, Steve Lewis, has also filed an interlocutory application with the court, although it is unclear at this stage what it relates to.

Mr Lewis is scheduled to provide to the court material ordered under subpoena on Friday.

Justice Stephen Rares had ordered Mr Ashby to file by July 3 a response to the “points of claim” documents submitted by the Commonwealth and Mr Slipper as part of their application to have the case struck out as an abuse of process.

Mr Ashby, who is suing Mr Slipper and the Commonwealth, claims the stood-aside Speaker made unwelcome advances and sent him sexually suggestive text messages after Mr Ashby joined his staff in December last year.

However, Mr Slipper and the Commonwealth allege Mr Ashby’s case was intended to “vilify” Mr Slipper and “destroy or seriously damage” his reputation and career. They are seeking an order that proceeding be permanently stayed as an abuse of process.

Mr Ashby wants the sexual harassment case to go ahead. The argument over whether it will is scheduled for July 23.

If Justice Rares grants Mr Ashby’s latest application, the Commonwealth and Mr Slipper will have to present their case, including supporting evidence, in court on July 23, before Mr Ashby has to file anything in response.

Meanwhile, Mr Slipper has amended his “points of claim” document to remove an allegation that News Limited could only have got Mr Ashby’s originating application – which details the sexual harassment allegations – from Mr Ashby or one of his contacts – and that no journalist accessed the documents via the court before the story was published on April 21.

He says a reporter did access the documents from the court on April 20, but only after Mr Ashby or one of his contacts informed the newspaper that the application had been filed.

The News Limited journalist who broke the story, Steve Lewis, has also filed an interlocutory application with the court, although it is unclear at this stage what it relates to.

Mr Lewis is scheduled to provide to the court material ordered under subpoena on Friday.

Mr Lewis and News Limited declined to comment.

This evening, News Limited reissued a statement from last week:

“News Limited notes reports concerning one of our senior journalists Mr Steve Lewis.  News Limited stands by its journalists undertaking investigative reporting into matters of public interest.  The matters in question cover serious allegations against one of Australia’s most senior politicians – the Speaker of our national Parliament.  It is entirely legitimate that news organisations should investigate and report on such allegations.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.