A judge may have delivered the final, fatal blow to Amber Harrison yesterday ruling she must pay all of Seven’s court costs, however, the unemployed former Seven PA doesn’t appear to be going down without one last swing.
Yesterday, Justice John Sackar ruled in the NSW Supreme Court that Harrison must pay all of Seven West Media’s legal costs – rumoured to be upwards of the $1 million-mark – following her long and much publicised affair and subsequent (very public) fallout with CEO Tim Worner.
Despite a court-ordered gag order, Harrison is using the huge media exposure to continue to play the ‘good girl wronged’ card and infer she’s merely the victim of a “boy’s club” with deep, deep pockets.
“At some point the boys club that dominates and defines Australian business are going to wake up and realise they are no longer in control,” Harrison told ABC’s AM program this morning.
“My case is a wake-up call for them and I hope it changes things and changes culture and how individuals are treated against the system.
“In the end, the truth has a habit of coming out and in this case I think it will.
“The problem with that ruling is that you’re up against people who thrive on operating in this system.
“There’s no doubt that I made mistakes, but the difference is that I was just one person. I fought to the bitter end to resolve the matter.
“The court system does not serve an individual, it serves a company. I took the path that I took and no, I don’t regret that.
“It cannot be a sackable offence for men and women to have a relationship in the office. It’s completely unrealistic.” she said.
Harrison has agreed to Seven’s terms including not speaking publicly about her affair with Worner and agreeing to return sensitive documents in her possession; however, it’s unclear how the broke and unemployed former secretary will be able to pay even the minimum of Seven’s massive legal costs. Harrison has said publicly the verdict will force her into bankruptcy.
Harrison has also been using her Twitter account to play-up what she sees as a ‘little person taking on the big guys’ battle.
However, not everyone’s sympathetic to Harrison’s cause. In a scathing analysis of yesterday’s decision, The Australian Financial Review’s Aaron Patrick described Harrison as a “a player in the office, the media and the bedroom” who has basically destroyed her career forevermore.
“Which executive would trust a person who, in the view of a NSW Supreme Court judge, fought a bitter and high-profile case without any evidence to back up her central, false assertion: that Seven West Media repudiated a deal for her to keep quiet when she resigned after being accused of stealing $180,000?” Patrick wrote.
Others have said far from poor girl screwed by evil legal system, Harrison, in fact, was represented by one of the top QCs in the country in Julian Burnside. While she also managed to inflict a fair deal of pain on Worner – the story constantly in the news over the past seven months which ultimately forced Worner to quit his role as a Sydney Swans board member.
Writing in today’s Fairfax Media, commentator Elizabeth Knight said basically it all come down to “a matter of law” and that was that Harrison “breached the confidentiality conditions of her agreement with Seven about the relationship with Worner.”
Knight noting Seven’s loyalty to Worner – including its expensive legal bills – was probably something most companies wouldn’t do for a disgraced employee, albeit the CEO. However, it was a fight that Seven chairman Kerry Stokes was prepared to win no matter the cost.
In fact, as the AFR’s Patrick concluded the only winner in this whole sordid saga will probably be Seven’s QC, Andrew Bell, who “made a flawless performance that could turn him into the go-to guy for the CEOs and companies who will inevitably follow Seven’s footsteps.”