Saturday 8 March 2008

Freebody defamation decision Monday

The case before the Cairns District Court this week between complainants John Page and Greg Lennon Vs Councillor Freebody and The Cairns , will now spill over into Monday.

This is due to the extended legal arguments put by the respondents.

"It has taken longer than we'd hoped," John Page told CairnsBlog, who, along with Greg Lennon has taken an action of defamation jointly against Councillor Freebody and The Cairns Post for their part in printing an alleged defamatory letter in the paper in October 2004.

"This has gone on for a long time, and we'll both be happy to see a conclusion," Page said.

On Friday, the alleged defamatory words were debated in great detail, to ascertain what the meaning, or intended meaning was on Councillor Freebody's letter to the Cairns Post of 26th October, 2004.

This case concerns the meaning an "ordinary reasonable reader" would take from the letter.

It was acknowledged that Councilor Freebody wrote the letter to the Cairns Post on his Councillor’s letterhead, not as a private citizen. The Cairns Post is defending it's actions in allegedly altering the original faxed Freebody letter.

This case has come to court at an awkward time for Cr Freebody, who is seeking a third term on the Mayor's Unity team for the newly formed Division 4. This encompasses Earlville, along with parts of Mooroobool, Bayview Heights, Worre, and Bungalow. Kirsten Lesina of Cairns 1st, and independent candidate Norman Miller are also contesting the seat.
Speaking to CairnsBlog at the Cairns Courthouse on Friday, Councillor Freebody said "This is all about money you know."
It is understood the complainants are seeking substantial damages for loss of reputation and allegedly being defamed.

Judge Robin QC was hoping to finalise this case on Friday afternoon.
It is now expected the final arguments will be presented to the four-female jury on Monday morning, with a decision expected Monday afternoon.

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