Sacked minister Tony Stewart wins first legal victory

| 15.06,09. 01:41 PM |

Sacked minister Tony Stewart wins first legal victory

June 15, 2009 12:40pm

SACKED minister Tony Stewart has today won the right to have his lawsuit against the State Government heard quickly.

The Court of Appeal has signalled it is ready to handle Mr Stewart's lawsuit within three weeks.

"This should be dealt with promptly," Court of Appeal President Justice Allsop said today.

Mr Stewart is suing the State of NSW and barrister Christine Ronalds, QC, over his sacking in November following allegations he had publicly berated his former staffer Tina Sanger at a function and held her down by holding her leg.

Ms Ronalds' report into the allegations formed the basis of his sacking after she found in favour of Ms Sanger.

Mr Stewart's action argues that he was denied natural justice and that the report itself was flawed.

The lawsuit has become an albatross around the Premier's neck with his decision to sack Mr Stewart causing ructions in the Labor caucus.

The Daily Telegraph has previously revealed that Health Minister John Della Bosca is alleged to have warned Mr Rees that the matter would not go away if Mr Stewart was sacked on the basis of the Ronalds Report.

Allegations have since emerged that Ms Sanger made similar accusations against a British university lecturer and that she had worked as a lap dancer.

She has also since been charged with attacking her husband in April and can not live in the family home after an AVO was taken out against her.

One aspect of Mr Stewart's case could affect the NSW constitution if he wins, given it argues that there should be no legal privilege covering the Ronalds Report, despite it having been tabled in parliament which provides protection against legal action.

Justice Allsop, has also asked the legal team representing the government and Ms Ronalds to examine whether Mr Stewart's case could also affect the Commonwealth constitution.


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