Slipper accuser seeking secrecy

Slipper accuser seeking secrecy

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.

Justice Steven Rares had ordered James Ashby to file by today 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.

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 proceedings be stopped 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 in court on July 23, before Mr Ashby has to file any 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 application – which details the harassment allegations – from Mr Ashby or one of his contacts and that no journalist accessed the documents via the court before the story appeared on April 21.

He said a reporter accessed the documents from the court on April 20, but only after Mr Ashby or a contact told the newspaper the application had been filed.

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