Run baby run better move on it
Everybody gets out before they get hit
It don’t look good on the face of it
Now anyone who, like me, has been sued by a half-baked f*ckwit or three knows that as long as you are prepared to stump up at least a grand an hour for a barrister and upwards of 10 bucks a minute for their instructing solicitor you are sure to be offered a forceful – but oft feeble – legal opinion about whatever matter it is that you have paid so handsomely to seek supposed expert legal advice about.
I well remember the occasion back in the days when the world was wide – and my innocent but erroneous respect for the legal profession was wider – that I myself paid a couple of grand to a Queer Customer (QC) for the privilege of being told that I was on the wrong track in relation to a certain matter, and that I should settle it for a lousy few grand that would quickly be swallowed up in legal bills, although neither my solicitor nor the Queer Customer quite clearly spelled out the latter.
In fact the inevitability of my legal fees outstripping the advised settlement wasn’t actually mentioned at all, but having passed the year 7 maths exam at Geebung State School I could quickly do the sums myself, and so it didn’t take more than a second or two for me to say to Mr Barrister ‘Hey Jim, you are a f*cking moron and so is the c*nt of an instructing solicitor who mistakenly believes that I’m going to pay him $600 for the rare privilege of walking me to your office to cop sh*t advice too’.
Confident in my own legal ability, and kicking myself for ever being so stupid as to be conned by the so-called gun solicitor into questioning it, I took the case myself and guess what? I kicked it baby, higher than a Jonathon Thurston bomb.
The final result?
$61 700 net in my back sky rocket, and SFA to the wankers with the LLB’s.
Archie 1 – Legal Profession 0.
It’s therefore a shame that young Alex Wood – defendant number 4 in the Section 18C racial discrimination case taken against he and 6 others by former QUT staffer Cynthia (erroneously and repeatedly called Cindy by the press) Prior – didn’t seek my advice before he followed that of his lawyers, for he’d be more than 40 grand better off if he had, and wouldn’t have lost all that sleep wondering where he was going to get the 800 pineapples from to pay his now court ordered debt.
You see Woodsy, presumably on the advice of his solicitor Damien ‘Dig Tree’ Bourke and/or his barrister Anthony Collins, got cocky after successfully defending Prior’s claim, and in the immediate afterglow of his repelling the assault of the legal invaders made the hugely unwise decision to seek indemnity costs against highly respected solicitor Susan Moriarty in relation to her role in pursuing Prior’s claim against him for allegedly breaching Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.
What are indemnity costs?
Basically they are a legal term that most punters don’t understand, so lend me your ears for a second and in relation to Woodsy’s claim against Moriarty I’ll break it down for you in simple terms that even Jean Jeannie the juiced up junkie from Geebung can understand.
In essence Woodsy – or more correctly I suspect, Woody’s lawyer or perhaps even the invisible hand of a Queer Customer directing the lawyer – alleged that Moriarty had, on Prior’s behalf, pursued a case against him that didn’t have a hope in Hades of succeeding. A hopeless case in effect, an absolute dud, one that had absolutely no legs and simply Buckley’s chance of succeeding.
If he was right it meant that, for reasons unknown, Moriarty had taken Prior’s case to court knowing that it couldn’t win, and as a consequence had caused him to incur a poultice in legal fees that he should never have had to spend. Set aside the fact that Woodsy is unlikely that he would ever have to pay a cent in fees to his lawyers because Rupert’s mob have it covered, and run with the hypothetical scenario that the expenses are his and his alone.
In this imaginary world where he pays his own legal fees pretend for a moment that the court finds that Moriarty had cost him money by taking a totally merit-less case, and decrees that she should have to pay Woodsy the entire amount that he had spent defending her client’s claim against him, and then some on top.
That’s indemnity costs.
The converse of the situation is that if Woodsy’s assertions about Moriarty jacking up a clam against him were found by the court to be total crock, then he would have the decision awarded against him and have to pay Prior’s lawyer the costs that she racked up defending his spurious claims, which in the event proved to be the case.
Alleging that a lawyer has run up a hopeless case is, in the ordinary course of events, an extremely serious brick to throw at a practitioner who has taken an oath to love and serve the law, but it is an even bigger stone to throw at a practitioner who is not only widely regarded as one of the Pineapple Land’s foremost experts in discrimination law, but was in 2015 bestowed with the honor of being named Australia’s number one Employment Discrimination Lawyer.
As you can see Susan Moriarty is no monkey when it comes to this type of litigation. .
Woody’s lawyer Damien ‘Dig Tree’ Bourke is no monkey either, at least not in his specialist field of advising corporations and law firms on how to avoid paying tax. In fact Dig Tree has been a raging success in his area of legal expertise, and his innovative approach to leaving the communal load sharing burden to the poor suckers paying GST has resulted in a number of precedent setting cases in which he has relieved his client of the inconvenience of .having to write our a check marked ‘ATO’.
He’s a reasonably good lawyer alright is Dig Tree, don’t you worry about that. Izzy Folau’s a good footballer too. But the dual international superstar played Aussie Rules like a crab, and likewise Dig Tree does discrimination law about as well as Dumbo Does Dallas.
As any long-serving punter will tell you all of life is 6/5 against and a matter of horses for courses. Accordingly, if you want to go to your grave regarded universally as a success then you really should just stick to what you’re good at and do it well, just as the champion racehorse of the 1990’s Chief De Beers did. The steed won 2o races and a million and a half bucks, and all of the gelding’s wins were at the Doomben racetrack. He just couldn’t find the line anywhere else, and unless it was a big money race he didn’t try.
Horses for courses. Stick to the still pool if you can’t surf the waves.
But the overconfident and utterly misguided Dig Tree swam too far out to sea, so far that he became the man in Stevie Smith’s poem who wasn’t waving but instead drowning. Delirious from the lack of oxygen that results from a lung full of salt water, Dig Tree advised his client that Australia’s best discrimination lawyer was only trying it on with the Prior case, which he wrongly assessed as having no merit, and thus he told Woody to go her for the rent and make her pay for the trouble she’d put him through.
Go the cow for costs Dig Tree said, and like a good clueless client Woodsy did.
But Dig Tree'[s bearing proved to be as accurate as his namesake Robert O’Hara Burke’s, and his client got burned. Big time. Judge Jarrett declared that although Prior’s claim against Woodsy failed, it wasn’t lawyer Moriarty’s fault. There was a case to be argued for Prior and Moriarty argued it, and although her client lost it was simply a matter of the cookie crumbling the way of the defendant Woody, not one of the cookie being a snowflake that melted in the sun in the heat of the court’s summer glare.
To break it down into layman’s terms, Judge Jarrett – a Redmond Barry type who anything but a bleeding heart – basically said Woody was an absolute wanker for trying to claim indemnity costs against Moriarty, finding that she was simply doing what lawyers do, which was prosecuting an arguable case on behalf of her client. To put the kindest spin possible on it the Judge said that Woody’s claim was misguided, and decreed that it had cost Ms Moriarty a poultice to defend, both in the cost of her own time and in terms of the cash she had to pay her counsel.
Moriarty, he said, was doing the job that she was paid to do. Why should she end of out of pocket?
The simple answer? She shouldn’t.
Woody was ordered to pay her costs. All $41 336 of them.
Dig Tree said he was “extremely disappointed to find that Alex (Woody) hasn’t recovered any of his costs in defending himself and is now being pursued for costs. (His) costs in defending his comment and now responding to an appeal application are substantial — in excess of $100,000’’
What Dig Tree didn’t say was that the advice he gave to his client was sh*thouse, and had cost Woodsy 40 grand plus on top of the 100 grand that he already bled him to defend a case that the lad could have settled in a heartbeat for just 5 grand. He didn’t offer to pay the 40k that his crap advice had cost Woodsy either.
Woodsy’s barrister Anthony ‘Semi’ Collins didn’t offer to pay the 40 large either. All he did was try to justify the ridiculous case his client took against Ms Moriarty by claiming again that her case was crap, despite Judge Jarrett having already found clearly to the contrary. Was he saying that Judge Jarrett is a misguided fool? You can be the arbiter of that, but it’s difficult to sketch an alternate hypothesis.
Of course Semi made no mention at all of any appeal against the decision that he reckoned was crook. That would be too logical. It was easier and cheaper – not to mention more beneficial to himself – simply to say the Judge’s call sucked, and leave it at that. Heaven forbid that an appeal judge might get his or her claws into it and declare that it was Semi and Dig Tree’s advice that was shite, not Judge Jarrett’s findings.
And so Woodsy is left with a 40 grand hole in his pocket, and no-one to pay it but him.
Or maybe not, because I reckon The Australian undertook from the get go to pay his costs. This accords with my long held and oft pronounced theory that the whole Evil 18C campaign has been a crock from the start, a total abuse of the court process that has been bankrolled by Uncle Rupert with the singular aim of selling more copies of the paper.
So am I right or am I wrong?
It’s a 40 000 dollar question.
Let’s email Doubting shall we and see if we can find out? I’m sure the brave defender of freedom will set us straight. After all, it is the truth that sets us free.
Watch this space for his reply.
Just don’t hold your breath.