I wish someone would help Mal Brough understand at least one thing. The Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia in their 27th February 2014 decision on the Ashby appeal of the Rares J decision is NOT about him.
It is about whether the primary judge, Justice Rares, appropriately made an interlocutory order dismissing the Ashby case as a result, in Rares’ view, of incidents of abusing the administration of justice. Rares J believed the justice system was used as a political tool that ultimately benefitted the ‘LNP or Mr Brough’.
Mansfield J and Gilmour J, in the majority decision, were able to come to the conclusion that the interlocutory order for dismissal was inappropriate primarily because of two factors. The onus was on Slipper to prove an abuse of the administration of justice, and that onus is deemed a heavy one. Slipper, (unrepresented by legal counsel), didn’t as he did not contest the evidence given in court during the interlocutory hearings. This procedural error on Slipper’s part made it easier for two of the three judges to successfully uphold the Ashby appeal.
An argument put to the Full Court by Ashby was that the interlocutory order resulted in an unfair process as the evidence submitted in the trial needed to be considered in full, challenged, and weighed before a decision could be made. According to Ashby the interlocutory order made by Rares J, denied him this process.
— Michael Danby (@MichaelDanbyMP) November 30, 2015
Of course, within two months after the appeal Ashby withdrew his sexual harassment case against Slipper despite Ashby’s urgings before the Full Court that he wanted the matter to run its full course.
Because evidence hadn’t been challenged the Full Bench put aside allegations of Brough’s involvement as the burden by Slipper hadn’t been met nor ‘established’ in the interlocutory application.
The Full Court of the Federal Court did not have the benefit of watching the admission by Mr Brough to Liz Hayes on 60 Minutes that he had asked Ashby to get copies of Slipper’s diaries. According to legal eagles, in a criminal trial such an admission would be admissible as evidence in court.
Ashby v Slipper was a civil case, a fight between two parties, which may or may not have resulted in monetary damages being awarded.
The allegations resulting in current AFP investigations of Ashby and Brough involve possible criminal charges, which could result in a gaol sentence of two years max.
The week Turnbull anointed Brough as a Minister of the Crown I wrote the following piece:
Ashbygate, as it has come to be known, marches on relentlessly, and has now become a problem for Turnbull. Just call me Cassandra.
Brough should resign for misleading Parliament, just like he's been lying, misleading & avoiding the people on #Ashbygate for years.
— 📣Margo Kingston💧🔥 (@margokingston1) November 30, 2015
— Margo Kingston (@margokingston1) November 30, 2015