The lawyer representing Amber Harrison in her ongoing legal battle with Seven West Media has copped the ire of the judge in court today after he labelled the network “one of the country’s biggest boys’ clubs”.
Harrison’s QC, Julian Burnside, made the statement in the Supreme Court and was quickly rebuked by the sitting judge, Justice John Sackar.
After Burnside inferred that the network had a blokey culture, Seven’s barrister, Andrew Bell, snapped back: “That is just outrageous.”
Sackar agreed, saying Burnside’s comment was “totally inappropriate”.
“It was gratuitous, it was uncalled for, I’m not even going to tolerate that … in this court,” Sackar said, his comments reported on a number of news sites.
Harrison is trying to sue Seven for false dismissal and is seeking as much as $2 million, it has been reported. Burnside is said to be working for Harrison pro bono.
However, Seven believe she signed away any rights to further compensation after she signed a termination contract in 2014 that absolved her of any further legal rights.
Harrison wants the case, including Seven’s application for a permanent gag order, transferred to Melbourne’s Federal Court and heard alongside her Fair Work claim.
Burnside had argued that, as a national broadcaster, there is no reason the case could not be moved from Sydney to Melbourne. While Seven’s Bell argues the manoeuvring was merely a tactical move on Harrison’s part. Sackar reserved his decision.