Christian Porter’s defamation barrister, Sue Chrysanthou, faces legal action

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A friend of the woman who accused Christian Porter of rape has made a Federal Court bid to stop Sydney barrister, Sue Chrysanthou, SC, from acting for him in his defamation case against the ABC, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Jo Dyer, who was a debater with the woman in the late 1980s, filed an urgent application in the Federal Court, seeking an order to restrain Ms Chrysanthou from acting for Mr Porter on the basis that she previously advised Ms Dyer in a separate matter.

Ms Chrysanthou, who has acted successfully for a string of famous clients including actor Geoffrey Rush and Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, is part of the star legal team Mr Porter has assembled in his defamation case against the ABC and journalist Louise Milligan. His team is headed by prominent silk Bret Walker, SC.

The former attorney-general, now the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, is suing the ABC and Milligan over a February 26 online article alleging an unnamed senior cabinet minister faced a historical rape allegation from 1988. Mr Porter was not named but he alleges he was identifiable.

Christian Porter is suing the ABC and journalist Louise Milligan for defamation.

READ MORE: Sue Chrysanthou is one of three laywers helping Christian Porter sue the ABC for defamation.

Ms Dyer was a good friend of the woman who alleged Mr Porter, then aged 17, raped her when they were both student debaters. The woman was aged 16.

In documents filed in court and seen by the SMH, she seeks an order restraining Ms Chrysanthou from acting in the case on the basis that “the order is necessary to prevent prejudice to the proper administration of justice, and to preserve confidentiality and legal professional privilege.”

Appearing for Ms Dyer at an urgent hearing in the Federal Court in Sydney on Wednesday, Michael Hodge QC said Ms Chrysanthou was “in a lawyer-client relationship with Ms Dyer and there is the real and obvious possibility that the information disclosed in the course of that relationship will have relevance to Mr Porter’s proceedings.”

According to the SMH, Mr Hodge said there was the possibility of misuse of confidential information, but also the “possibility of apprehension of the interference with the administration of justice” if Ms Chrysanthou continued to act for Mr Porter.

Sue Chrysanthou has acted successfully for a string of famous clients including actor Geoffrey Rush and Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

Appearing for Ms Chrysanthou, barrister Noel Hutley, SC, said his client “will give evidence that she has in effect no substantive recollection of what is said to have been reported to her” by Ms Dyer.

“That’s been the subject of correspondence between solicitors… My client’s position is she is a member of the bar. She is an officer of the court. She will do anything that the court thinks she ought to do.”

The matter is expected to be heard in the week beginning May 24, shortly before a crucial hearing in Mr Porter’s defamation case.

In a statement released via his solicitor, Rebekah Giles, Mr Porter said: “It has been widely known for two months that Sue has been acting as my counsel in this well-publicised matter – yet the action has come shortly before court appearances on significant issues in the proceedings and over eight weeks after they were commenced.

“I am therefore concerned about the timing of this application. Ms Chrysanthou is one of this country’s pre-eminent defamation advocates. It is a critically important right for any citizen in legal proceedings to choose his or her own counsel.”

Source: Sydney Morning Herald.

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