find the latest legal job
Partners and Senior Specialist Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Australia
· Earn 70% of billings and fixed referral incentives · Full practice flexibility & freedom
View details
Partners and Senior Specialist Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Australia
· Earn 70% of billings and fixed referral incentives · Full practice flexibility & freedom
View details
Litigation Associate / Senior Associate
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Sydney NSW 2000
· 4 years + PQE · Varied work
View details
Commercial Litigation Lawyer
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· 3 - 7 years PAE with very strong technical skills · Technical and personal development
View details
Senior Lawyer
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Haymarket NSW 2000
· Play an integral part in launching Employsure's law firm
View details
Rayney defamation suit stalled again

Rayney defamation suit stalled again

Barrister Lloyd Rayney’s defamation suit against the State of WA has been put on hold until an impending appeal of his murder acquittal is dealt with by the courts.

The WA Supreme Court yesterday (15 January) dismissed Rayney’s application to force the State to file an amended defence in response to defamation allegations. The application was an attempt to prompt orders for discovery and inspection in the civil proceedings, which had remained dormant since April 2010 pending the outcome of Rayney’s murder trial.

Justice James Edelman acknowledged that the trial decision required the State to amend its defence. But he backed his decision to reject the application by arguing that it would be impractical to launch separate trials when issues raised in the criminal case, which includes an appeal, will influence the defamation suit.

“It is appropriate in the interests of all parties that the application for leave to appeal in relation to the wilful murder and manslaughter charges be concluded before any substantial decisions – such as holding separate trials of liability and quantum – be made in this defamation proceeding,” Edelman stated in his judgment.

Rayney lodged a defamation lawsuit against the WA Government in 2009 claiming he was “greatly injured” when, in 2007, police officer Senior Sgt Jack Lees allegedly identified him as the “prime” and “only” suspect in his wife’s death.

In November last year, weeks after being acquitted of wilful murder and manslaughter, Rayney stated his intention to proceed with the defamation case in the Supreme Court. Rayney, who had high-profile clients including Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting, blames the comments made by Lees for alleged damage to his legal career.

In addition to compensation for distress and anxiety, Rayney is seeking aggravated damages for loss of revenue, loss of expected future earnings and loss of the opportunity to be appointed senior counsel, which could cost the WA Government millions of dollars.

Toby Nisbet, a lecturer at the School of Law & Justice at Edith Cowen University, told Lawyers Weekly in November that the murder acquittal does not make the civil suit an open-and-shut case.

“Different considerations and different burdens of proof apply [when deciding] whether naming Rayney as the prime and only suspect was, as a matter of law, defamatory and without a defence.”

Meanwhile, Rayney has provided an undertaking to the Legal Practice Board of WA that he will cease engaging in legal practice. The industry body, which governs who can practise law in the state, confirmed to Lawyers Weekly last year that it was examining Justice Brian Martin’s judgment in the murder trial, which accused Rayney of giving false evidence to a court while under oath.

If the perjury charges are pursued, Rayney could be struck off the roll of legal practitioners, according to Nisbet.

Rayney was arrested and charged with the murder of his wife Corryn, who worked as a Supreme Court registrar, in December 2010, more than three years after her body was found in Perth’s Kings Park.

Like this story? Read more:

Book commemorates diamond milestone for WA law society

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

Rayney defamation suit stalled again
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
new role with SA judicial appointment, scales of justice
Jan 15 2018
Worker's comp expert takes on new role with SA judicial appointment
An Adelaide barrister has been appointed deputy president of the South Australian Employment Tribuna...
Scales of Justice, NSW Bar Association
Jan 16 2018
New case management approach won’t beat backlog: NSW Bar Association
The New South Wales Bar Association says a new case management approach will fail to make a signific...
Jan 12 2018
E-discovery predictions for 2018
Promoted by Law In Order The outlook for early adopters of e-discovery in legal looks bright in 2...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...