Brittany Higgins fights on against Linda Reynolds defamation claim - as Sharaz waves white flag

Tim Clarke
The Nightly
2 Min Read
Lawyers for David Sharaz have confirmed he will not fight Linda Reynolds’ defamation action anymore, but Brittany Higgins, centre, looks set to fight on.
Lawyers for David Sharaz have confirmed he will not fight Linda Reynolds’ defamation action anymore, but Brittany Higgins, centre, looks set to fight on. Credit: The Nightly/TheWest

Brittany Higgins looks set to battle on to defend the defamation claim against her by outgoing WA Senator Linda Reynolds – but her fiancée David Sharaz has confirmed he is waving the white flag.

During a strategic conference before WA Supreme Court judge Paul Tottle on Friday, lawyers for Mr Sharaz confirmed that his statement that he would “not fight Reynold’s legal actions anymore” still stood.

They confirmed he would not contest her claims during the trial scheduled to begin in July.

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However, his barrister Jason MacLaurin warned that the question of how much damages he might have to pay could still be argued over.

But his “great hope” was that a mediation conference later this month could see Ms Reynolds’ claim against him settled altogether.

“You can fold a good hand,” Mr MacLaurin said.

Former Liberal Party staffer Brittany Higgins and partner David Sharaz.
Former Liberal Party staffer Brittany Higgins and partner David Sharaz. Credit: Mick Tsikas/AAPImage

Lawyers for Ms Reynolds argued that at the next court hearing, Mr Sharaz should be made to appear in person via a video link from France – so they could hear the position “from the horse’s mouth”.

But Justice Tottle declined to order that he appear and instead quizzed his lawyers further.

Mr MacLaurin said he would need to take more instructions. But as it stood, an acceptance of liability would not mean he would just accept any amount of damages.

“It does not mean ‘Have at me’,” Mr MacLaurin said.

Linda Reynolds arrives at the David Malcolm Justice Centre.
Linda Reynolds. Credit: Daniel Wilkins/The West Australian

A settlement in Ms Reynolds’ separate claim against Ms Higgins looks even more unlikely, with her lawyers focusing on the potential start date of the trial, and availability of lawyers who will represent Ms Higgins.

They also said they have now been instructed to accept service of legal papers on Ms Reynolds’ latest legal bid.

That is an application demanding a copy of the Brittany Higgins Protective Trust deed, which she set up in February last year.

That application is an attempt to ascertain who is the trustee, and who to sue in the event Ms Higgins says she cannot pay any damages awarded.

Her legal team is also hoping to probe reports that following the settlement with the Federal Government, Ms Higgins and Mr Sharaz holidayed in the Maldives, and rented a house on the Gold Coast, before setting up the discretionary investment trust

Justice Tottle noted that development, and also said he was flexible as to when the potential trial would start.

The mediation hearing is set down for May 21. Another strategic hearing is set for three days later.

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