By MICHAEL BENNETT
Sat 6 June 2009 - West Australian
A father is suing the lawyer who represented his former partner in a custody dispute for $1 million alleging that she defamed him in an email to the judge hearing a Family Court battle.
The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, said he had gone through "five years of hell" and had restricted access to his daughter, who is under 10. He can see her for 32 hours a fortnight.
In the Supreme Court writ, the man claims the lawyer used deceptive and misleading tactics in her legal presentation "in order to gain unwarranted triumph" in court appearances. It claims that the defamation, alleged to be contained in an email sent from the lawyer to the judge's associate, caused the judge to form a regretful opinion of him and take a strong stand against him.
"The defamation damaged the plaintiff's reputation in the court, caused him many moral losses … in addition to reduction of contact time and (the) relationship with his daughter," the writ said.
The man, who is representing himself in the action, said in the writ filed last week that the defamation caused "immense amounts of stress" as he tried to gain rights for contact with his daughter, the time when he was without his daughter cannot be replaced and "the quality of time is inequitable with any amount of money".
The plaintiff asks for compensation for the pain and suffering from the stress he endured because of the action of the defendant," it said.
"The plaintiff asks for $1 million compensation." The lawyer said the claim would be defended and there would be an application lodged to have it thrown out of the Supreme Court next week.