The Federal Court has ordered Christian Porter and his former defamation barrister to pay more than $430,000 in legal costs.
Late on Wednesday (19 January) afternoon, Mr Porter and his barrister Sue Chrysanthou SC were ordered to pay Jo Dyer $430,200 in legal costs, relating to a May 2021 finding that Ms Chrysanthou could not continue working for the former attorney-general on his defamation case because of a “danger of misuse of confidential information”.
The costs were awarded to the friend of the woman who accused Mr Porter of rape, Jo Dyer, who submitted that her previous lawyer-client relationship with Ms Chrysanthou would advantage Mr Porter’s defamation case against the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and its journalist Louise Milligan. Mr Porter has continued to strenuously deny the allegations against him.
In handing down the judgment, Justice Thomas Thawley said: “Ms Chrysanthou gave evidence that she did not remember the confidential information … [but] there is nevertheless the risk of subconscious use of confidential information. A fair-minded member of the public would say she should not act for Mr Porter.”
In June 2021, when the costs order was originally handed down, Mr Porter argued that while he should pay costs, it should be 70 per cent only. However, in the Federal Court’s view, there was “insufficient reason to disturb the ordinary rule”.
In the weeks following the June costs order, Mr Porter filed appeal documents against Justice Thawley’s findings in the Federal Court.