Amber Harrison has this afternoon been ordered to pay all of Channel Seven’s legal costs following her ongoing dispute with the broadcaster.
Justice John Sackar ordered Harrison to pay Seven’s costs in the NSW Supreme Court. Harrison was not present to hear the verdict.
The costs have been estimated to range anywhere from $250,000 to well over the $1 million-mark.
The Judge today described the case as having “been engulfed in a vitriolic atmosphere”, but said it was “necessary and appropriate” for Seven to be compensated for their legal costs.
“The defendant (Harrison) has not satisfied me of any grounds for why she should not pay the costs,” Sackar said, his comments reported on News Corp sites.
“The allegations from both sides whether entirely true or not have often been personal, scandalous and sadly ripe for media and public consumption.
“In relation to the question of costs, I think there should be an order that the defendant pay the costs on an indemnity basis.
“If I may add, litigation is a serious business with serious consequences for plaintiffs and defendants, winners and losers alike.”
On 7th July Harrison announced she would no longer be taking any action against Seven in the NSW Supreme Court for failing to provide a safe workplace; however, this opened her up to having to foot Seven’s substantial legal bills.
Harrison’s tweets from this afternoon:
Harrison has agreed to a court-ordered gag that prevents her from talking publicly about her affair with Seven CEO Tim Worner or releasing sensitive documents that are allegedly in her possession.
“I have made a realistic assessment of the court case and am choosing not to run it on Monday. I’ve asked my legal team not to represent me,” Harrison tweeted at the time.
Last week, Harrison told the court via telephone hook-up that she has no means to pay Seven and would most likely declare bankruptcy. Harrison described any costs as “punitive and pointless” because she couldn’t pay it anyway.
“Seven and I have been involved in a marathon three year, brutal and unnecessarily protracted legal process,” Harrison said.
“Seven have half a dozen lawyers in the room today. Seven are professional litigators, their pockets for litigation are deep and their appetite for it is endless.
“They are getting their injunction, their trial, their win and all the orders they seek.
“Seven seeking costs against me will drive me into bankruptcy. I am a foster parent and if I have costs against me, it will affect my family.
“I should not be punished by the court system for taking a stand,” she said.
However, Seven’s QC Andrew Bell said the court knew nothing of Harrison’s financial situation only that the broadcaster had paid her a $400,000 payout despite breaching the conditions of the termination – namely surrounding confidentiality and speaking to media.