Rolah Mccabe Leak Lawyer Sues For Defamation
Tuesday April 8, 2008
THE lawyer who leaked documents about the way legal firm Clayton Utz handled the Rolah McCabe tobacco case is suing the Law Institute of Victoria for defamation.Christopher Dale, a former senior partner of the firm and a former president of the Law Institute, is demanding compensation over a letter written by Clayton Utz managing partner David Fagan. It was published in the Law Institute Journal last April.Mr Fagan wrote to complain and to correct what he claimed were inaccuracies in a report the previous month about a public prosecutors' investigation into alleged misconduct by former Clayton Utz lawyers in 2002.Clayton Utz defended British American Tobacco against lung cancer victim Mrs McCabe. Internal Clayton Utz documents that alleged former senior partners had engaged in serious misconduct in their handling of the case were leaked to The Sunday Age in 2006. Attorney-General Rob Hulls referred them to the Office of Public Prosecutions.Mr Dale later revealed himself as the source of the leak. He had been expelled from Clayton Utz in August 2005 after 19 years with the firm. He claimed he was dismissed on "trumped-up charges" and that the real reasons for his sacking were his pursuit of lawyers in the firm and his falling out with Mr Fagan. Clayton Utz claimed he was sacked over other matters. Mr Dale has said his leak was motivated by conscience not revenge.Law Institute president Michael Brett-Young said the institute had not yet received the writ but would defend the matter. It has been filed in the Supreme Court and asks for unspecified damages and costs.
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