An injunction preventing Amber Harrison from commenting on her dispute with Seven West Media has been extended to March 3rd.
It was standing room only in the NSW Supreme Court today as parties argues over a gag order, following tweets by the former lover of CEO Tim Worner.
Harrison was not present at today’s hearing, but represented by barrister, James Catlin, who arrived late due to traffic.
Lawyers for Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph and Fairfax Media teamed up to fight the court injunction, arguing that Harrison should be allowed to respond to comments last week by Kerry Stokes and Jeff Kennett.
Seven senior counsel Andrew Bell told the court Harrison had been calculating in assembling evidence including screenshots of emails, on the eve of the termination of her employment.
“On the very eve of signing the first deed Miss Harrison is assembling for her own disgraceful purposes with some malice … what on earth was she taking screen shots other than to deploy to her advantage or leverage in the future?” he told NSW Supreme Court judge Robert McDougall.
He maintained Harrison agreed in 2014 and 2015 that she wouldn’t keep any company property – which included text messages and emails – or divulge information about the company publicly. Harrison was paid to agree, Bell said, and by running a personal publicity campaign against Worner in the media and on Twitter she broke her end of the deal.
He read out emails sent to Seven management in which she allegedly said she would “destroy” their “idiot boss.”
“This is war. Get ready for a reign of terror unlike you have seen before,” it is alleged.
Another alleged she was going to “blow the roof off” after claiming she was in possession of 1000 text messages from senior Seven executives.
“Not only have there been breaches of that deed but … we would submit that the breaches have been of a particularly wilful and vindictive character,” he said.
Catlin handed over a USB containing some 900 pages of documents — many of which contain screenshots of emails between senior Seven executives — relating to the case.
He argued the dispute should have remained a private law matter, and said Harrison was far from being “venomous harridan setting up poor Mr Worner.” He said Seven and Worner did not need the protection of a wide gag order from an unemployed woman living in Melbourne.
“This is a defamation injunction parading as a confidentiality injunction,” he told the court.
The court also heard from senior counsel Kieran Smark who represented two other persons whose names had been suppressed in other hearings. He requested their names also be suppressed in any affidavit from Ms Harrison.
Justice McDougall struck out a paragraph, which Catlin had contended was “part of the chronology” and “narrative” of her relationship with Worner including their “secret liaisons”.
Justice McDougall temporarily extended the gag order on Amber Harrison, pending a final hearing & orders on March 3rd.