Australian Business Review

Amber Harrison to address court

Andrew Bell (R) described Amber Harrison as “arrogant” and “malicious”. Picture: Renee Nowytarger.
  • The Australian
  • 6:08PM July 10, 2017
    Reporter
    Sydney

    “UPDATE: Justice John Sackar has told Sydney’s Supreme Court he will give Amber Harrison the opportunity to make submissions on her case out of an “abundance of caution”. He instructed Andrew Bell SC, who is acting on behalf of Seven West Media, to get in touch with her to arrange a time for tomorrow.

Ms Harrison, a former executive assistant at network Seven, has been embroiled in a vicious court battle with her old employer after releasing details of her affair with Seven West Media boss Tim Worner last year.

A three-day hearing which commenced in Sydney’s Supreme Court this morning heard that Ms Harrison had declined to be present while lawyers for Seven applied for a permanent order to restrain her from speaking publicly about the matter.

Ms Harrison, who, in a shock move last week, dismissed her legal team, subsequently asked to be heard via telephone hook-up, which Justice Sackar agreed to.

Mr Bell claimed Ms Harrison had shown “disregard for the court orders for months” and urged Justice Sackar not to let her go off-script, only allowing her to address the orders she opposed including the indemnity costs sought, the declaration and the judgement.

“We’re concerned that there will be ex cathedra statements made which will go beyond what ought to be the confined basis under which the invitation was extended,” Mr Bell said.

Justice Sackar adjourned the case until 10am tomorrow, when Ms Harrison will address the court.

“She can certainly be heard on the matters to which she takes objection but as far as general statements are concerned, we will have to wait and see,” Justice Sackar said.

Earlier, the court heard Ms Harrison told friends over email about wanting to “kill him” and plotted her revenge in the same way as she had with a previous relationship.

Ms Harrison, a former executive assistant at network Seven, has been embroiled in a vicious court battle with her old employer after releasing details of her affair with Mr Worner last year.

A three-day hearing which commenced in Sydney’s Supreme Court this morning heard that Ms Harrison had declined to be present while lawyers for Seven applied for a permanent order to restrain her from speaking publicly about the matter.

The court heard Ms Harrison had used her connections in the media industry on another occasion to allegedly engage in a “malicious campaign” to humiliate a former lover at commercial radio station Nova.

Sydney barrister Andrew Bell SC, who is acting on behalf of Seven, told the court Ms Harrison had boasted to friends in a series of emails about a campaign she had waged against her former flame.

“This is not the first time she has engaged in attempts to use the media to humiliate someone with whom she had had a relationship,” Mr Bell said.

“In one email, she says: ‘So you can imagine I was understandably pissed off, I needed some revenge, I needed to level the playing field so I put my network of amazing friends to good use’”.

Amber Harrison. Picture: Supplied
Amber Harrison. Picture: Supplied

Ms Harrison allegedly told her friend: “I splashed it across the papers for three-weeks …. the story is legendary so much so that Media Week ran a piece saying anyone would think there’s an orchestrated media campaign out to get (the former lover)”.

“That was me. The revenge came from me”.

Mr Bell told the court Ms Harrison had told a friend, known as ‘Timmo’, of her plans.

“Hey Timmo. I want to kill him. Seriously, I’m plotting my revenge and will make Nova look like a turkey slap,” Ms Harrison allegedly said.

Lawyers for Seven subpoenaed 135 phone calls made from Ms Harrison’s private mobile phone to members of the media, 38 of which were in excess of ten minutes, with one call lasting as long as 58 minutes.

Mr Bell said the material collected was evidence of the “orchestrated media campaign” Ms Harrison had boasted.

“Here is a person who can only be described as hugely malicious,” Mr Bell said.

He claimed Ms Harrison displayed “enormous arrogance” in her attempts to discredit Mr Worner and her former employer through a calculated campaign.

Ms Harrison, who is unrepresented in this week’s hearing, was not present in court today, but tweeted her reactions as the case progressed into the afternoon.

She tweeted that she “would like to be heard” in relation to Seven’s application, despite agreeing to the gag order on Friday.

Seven’s lawyers are seeking costs from Ms Harrison and an undertaking that she refrain from speaking publicly about her alleged affair with Mr Worner in the future.

Seven are also seeking that Ms Harrison pay the entirety of the organisation’s legal bills.

Mr Bell told the court Ms Harrison had breached a confidentiality agreement she had signed with Seven’s lawyers, for which she had received a “significant sum” of money.

“It’s to be emphasised that Ms Harrison was paid a very significant sum under this deed in return for these contractual promises,” Mr Bell said.

“These are not obligations that were imposed on her, they were negotiated”.

Mr Bell claimed Ms Harrison had been represented by an experienced law firm and had signed a contract, promising to return company property and not make disparaging comments about her former employer.

“This was a matter where she had independent advice and there was a quid pro quo,” he said.

“The complaint in this case is about one party’s fundamental failure to observe obligations she had agreed to”.

The hearing will resume tomorrow at 10am.”