Slipper 'filing abuse of process claim'
SIDELINED Speaker Peter Slipper is expected to file an abuse of process claim for what his barrister has described in court as a "successful character assassination".
At today's directions hearing in the NSW Federal Court the barrister said the public way in which government employee James Ashby had been allowed to make sexual harassment allegations against Mr Slipper had "not seen the legal system at its best".
He said the "salacious allegations" made in a statement of claim on May 15 were released to the media hours before Mr Slipper was given a copy of the document.
Mr Ashby's barrister Michael Lee rejected the suggestion Mr Slipper had been caught off guard and said "everyone in this room" was aware of the nature of the allegations long before the statement of claim was tendered.
He said his client too had suffered scrutiny from the media and high ranking politicians.
Mr Lee submitted a jury should hear the case rather than a lone judge and asked for the next hearing to be set down for five days.
Justice Steven Rares said it was "unimaginable" a hearing should take that long.
He set a deadline of May 23 for Mr Slipper to file the abuse of process claim and June 8 for Mr Ashby to add to his statement.
The next directions hearing will be on June 15 when Mr Rares expects to hear from both sides if the case will proceed.