ACC Minister Judith Collins begins court action against Labour MPs Trevor Mallard and Andrew Little for defamation today.
The High Court list for Auckland yesterday named Judith Anne Collins v Trevor Colin Mallard and Another for first call before Justice Geoffrey Venning.
Collins has accused the two MPs of defaming her in relation to a leaked email from former National Party president Michelle Boag.
Boag had emailed Collins about a case involving ACC claimant Bronwyn Pullar, who blew the whistle on ACC inadvertently releasing her details about thousands of ACC claimants.
Defamation cases often take some time to come to court with both sides jockeying to set the terms of the case.
Today’s hearing is a face-to-face conference for lawyers to plot out the case’s timetable and sort out how it is going to be run.
Both sides have retained senior and experienced counsel with Collins being represented by Queen’s Counsel Julian Myles and Mallard and Little represented by Wellington lawyer John Tizard.
Collins is not seeking damages – just a declaration that the statements made were untrue and defamed her, and of course her costs.
UPDATE: The application by Mallard and Little for a stay of proceedings until the report of the Privacy Commissioner is done was declined by the Judge. The settlement hearing is in November (the report is due in September anyway, but could of course be delayed) and the trial in February 2013.
Tags: Andrew Little, defamation, Judith Collins, Trevor Mallard