Friday, August 5, 2011

Court reporter gets the result the wrong way around

You may remember in May 2011 James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch succeeded in having the damages claim against them by the One-Tel special purpose liquidator dismissed by Justice Ward, on the grounds that extensions to the period for serving the originating process should not have been granted.

Colin Kruger, from the SMH, filed an article that appeared on the SMH website (but was subsequently taken down after the absurdity of it was pointed out to SMH editors) under the heading: "Packer, Murdoch fail to block $224m damages suit".

The first paragraph said: "Former OneTel directors James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch have failed in their attempt to block a $244 million damages suit against them by the special purpose liquidator of the collapsed telco."  Wrong!  They in fact succeeded in blocking the damages suit.

The second paragraph said: "NSW Supreme Court judge Julie Ward dismissed the proceedings by Packer and his company, who had argued that successive exemptions by the court to the statute of limitations were improperly granted to the liquidator, Paul Weston."  Again wrong!  The "proceedings" were in fact dismissed, but the "proceedings by Packer and his company" were not "proceedings" but a notice of motion seeking orders that far from being dismissed were in fact granted.  Furthermore, the statute of limitations (which relates to the time for bringing an action) had not been extended at all.  What had been extended was the period within which to serve the originating process, once it had been filed.

The fourth paragraph then says: "Mr Packer and Mr Murdoch are entitled to appeal".  Again wrong! Not only do they have no incentive to appeal given that they succeeded in obtaining the relief sought, but no party has an entitlement to appeal against the orders made by Justice Ward. At best, the special purpose liquidator can (as he has done) seek leave to appeal.

At least Colin Kruger was prepared to put his name to the article: that was all he managed to get right.

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