Judge halts Christian Porter ABC defamation case over alleged conflict of interest

By Shannon Jenkins

Monday May 17, 2021

Christian Porter
Christian Porter. (AAP Image/Richard Wainwright)

A friend of the woman who accused former attorney-general Christian Porter of rape has lodged a court action to prevent Porter’s barrister from acting in his defamation case against the ABC.

Porter commenced defamation proceedings against the ABC and one of its journalists, Louise Milligan, in March.

He has been seeking aggravated damages over a February 26 article about a cabinet minister accused of an historical alleged sexual assault. While Porter was not named, his lawyers claim that he was “easily identifiable to many Australians” as the minister in the article.

Porter’s legal team is also attempting to strike out parts of the ABC’s defence case.

READ MORE: Christian Porter asks to keep ABC defence confidential in defamation suit

One of Porter’s lawyers is Barrister Sue Chrysanthou, who successfully represented actor Geoffrey Rush in his defamation case against The Daily Telegraph.

But a friend of the woman who accused Porter of rape, Jo Dyer, has claimed that she had been a client of Chrysanthou. She has argued that the lawyer’s representation of Porter is a conflict of interest.

According to Guardian Australia, Dyer said she sought advice from Chrysanthou regarding an article written about a Four Corners episode about Porter, which Dyer had appeared on.

Dyer’s lawyers have argued that Chrysanthou should be removed from the case to ‘prevent prejudice to the proper administration of justice, and to preserve confidentiality and legal professional privilege’.

But Chrysanthou’s lawyer has argued that she has ‘no substantive recollection’ of advising Dyer.

Justice Jayne Jagot on Friday made an order to pause the case until after the matter has been resolved later this month. Dyer’s application to remove Chrysanthou is listed for hearing on May 24.

READ MORR: Christian Porter comes forward as minister accused of historical rape, denies allegations


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