Ex-MP sued for ‘Jabba’ comparison
FORMER MP Rob Pyne is being sued as part of a multimillion-dollar defamation case lodged by Local Government Association of Queensland CEO Greg Hallam.
Mr Hallam is seeking $2.25 million in damages, plus costs, from four defendants, including $500,000 from former member for Cairns Mr Pyne over a series of allegedly defamatory Facebook posts, including one likening him to a Star Wars villain.
Others named in the claim include Lyn Elizabeth O'Connor and Jason Ward - who were regular visitors to Parliament while Mr Pyne was an MP - and Desmond John O'Connor
In a statement of claim lodged with the District Court last month, lawyers for Mr Hallam alleged the posts likened the LGAQ boss to Star Wars gangster Jabba the Hutt, and questioned his integrity.
Mr Hallam's lawyers alleged the post in its "natural and ordinary meaning meant and was understood to mean" that the LGAQ CEO was a powerful crime boss and operated through the LGAQ as a cartel.
"By reason of the defamatory imputations alleged above, Mr Hallam has been greatly injured in his credit and reputation and has suffered hurt distress and embarrassment," the documents read.
The claim said the posts, including those made by under the "false identity" Elizabeth Kennedy, had impacted on Mr Hallam's health.
The documents claim Mr Hallam held a reasonable belief that he was powerless to correct the "falsity of each such defamatory imputation without worsening the damage he was already suffering and would into the future suffer".
Mr Pyne, who lost his seat of Cairns at the November election, declined to comment on the court case when contacted by The Courier-Mail.
"I am unemployed, I can't afford a solicitor, I can't even afford to shine my shoes, so I can't really do anything about it," he said.
Mr Ward and Mrs O'Connor said they were in the middle of reviewing the claims against him.
"We will formulate a response and a course of action in the coming week.
"Defence will be prepared and comments will be made after everything has been reviewed."
The parties have until February 14 to respond.