Civil claim against Kathy Jackson postponed due to mental health problems

admin | 杭州桑拿
4 Dec 2018

Kathy JacksonThe civil claim against controversial unionist Kathy Jackson, who is being sued for $1.4 million for fraud and theft, has been delayed for a number of months due to her mental health problems.

The Federal Court on Wednesday heard evidence of Ms Jackson’s health problems – certain details of which were suppressed by Justice Richard Tracey.

Justice Tracey said that the evidence of her psychiatrist Irwin Pakula was that Ms Jackson would not be able to deal with her legal issues until mid-January 2015 at the earliest.

Justice Tracey said Ms Jackson was in a medical facility under the care of her psychiatrist as a voluntary patient. The Federal Court had previously heard Ms Jackson was unable to give advice to her lawyers.

Associate Professor Pakula had said Ms Jackson was on medication which made her drowsy but that was over time her condition and ability to concentrate expected to improve, Justice Tracey said, although certain “stressors” such as dealing with legal issues could make it worse.

A mention hearing is set for February 6. Ms Jackson, who rose to prominence for exposing the corruption of Michael Williamson in the Health Services Union, is now being pursued by the union  for corruption herself through this civil action. That  trial had been set for December 1.

Ms Jackson has also had the Royal Commission into union corruption recommend charges against her for making a “false claim” to the Peter MacCallum cancer hospital. The maximum penalty is 10 years in jail.

Ms Jackson’s union  No. 3 branch received $250,000 from Peter MacCallum to settle a back-pay dispute in 2003 and it was then used as seed money for a bank account personally controlled by her. Workers at the hospital did not receive any back-pay.

Her fall from grace has been dramatic after she washailed as “heroic” by Tony Abbott and received an apology from federal parliament earlier this year.

The union’s lawyer Mark Irving told the Federal Court that it  wanted a guardian appointed to represent Ms Jackson’s interests – a request Justice Tracey did not agree to at this stage. Mr Irving also told the court the union was concerned Ms Jackson was trying to sell her house.

Barrister David Pritchard, for Ms Jackson, said this was not relevant to the case. “People sell houses all the time.”

Justice Tracey rejected a bid by lawyers for News Limited for the evidence of Professor Pakula to be reported in the interests of open justice. He said there was a “significant risk” to Ms Jackson’spersonal safety if that wereallowed, due to links outlined by her psychiatrist between her health and publication.

The civil case against Ms Jackson has been affected  by Ms Jackson not abiding by court orders. Justice Tracey has previously described her conduct as “inexcusable”.

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