Wed. May 29th, 2024

David Sharaz bows out of Linda Reynolds defamation fight, says he ‘can’t afford legal costs’

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell May21,2024
Brittany Higgins’ fiance David Sharaz has thrown in the towel in his defamation battle against Liberal senator Linda Reynolds, as his partner fails to convince a court her case should be delayed because of her mental health issues.
The former defence minister, who plans to retire from politics at the next election, is suing both her former political staffer and Sharaz over a series of social media posts she says have damaged her reputation.
The case returned to the Western Australian Supreme Court on Tuesday to hear Higgins’ application to vacate the trial listed for six weeks in late July.

During the hearing, Sharaz tweeted he would no longer fight the case, which was confirmed by his lawyer Jason MacLaurin SC.

“Despite our best efforts, Linda Reynolds has not accepted attempts to resolve this matter through mediation and Brittany may now be exposed to another trial. It will be her third,” Sharaz said on social media.
“I cannot afford to pay legal costs to defend myself over a six-week trial.
“As a result, I have today informed the court that I will not fight Reynolds’ legal action anymore.
“I now appeal for Senator Reynolds to settle her litigation against Brittany, a rape victim, by agreeing to disagree and putting all of this behind them.”
Outside the court, Reynolds’ lawyer Martin Bennett said the tweet was insulting, aggravating and an “attention-seeking stunt to manipulate the media”.

“That’s what Mr Sharaz does best,” he said.

Two people walking outside, one of whom wears a dark blue suit, the other a brown coat.

Linda Reynolds is suing both her former political staffer Brittany Higgins and David Sharaz over a series of social media posts she says have damaged her reputation. Source: AAP / Mick Tsikas

Bennett agreed it was perversely ironic that Sharaz would make the announcement in a tweet while his defamation action over tweets was being heard.

“It seemed to be staged … You’ve seen the terms of the post — it’s another attack on Senator Reynolds,” he said.

‘He lives in a chateau’

He also raised doubts over Sharaz’s claim he couldn’t afford to continue the case.
“He lives in a chateau. He hasn’t got a job and he’s got a QC … and two solicitors representing him,” he said.
Bennett said the case against Sharaz would proceed even if he is not represented in court and Reynolds would prove her damages.
“If he’s impecunious as he asserts in France, he’ll go bankrupt,” he said.
Higgins’ lawyer Leon Zwier had asked the court for her trial to be vacated saying her mental health had suffered due to the Bruce Lehrmann and Channel 10 decision handed down earlier in the month and the publicity that followed.
He said it was difficult for her to instruct her lawyers and there was some evidence raised during the proceedings that would need to be assessed and could impact the case.
Zwier said the ongoing mediation between the parties should be allowed to proceed without the spectre of a trial looming over it.

Justice Paul Tottle said the parties were likely to be best served by the matter being brought to a conclusion sooner than later.

Background to the case

Reynolds is suing Sharaz over tweets he made and a Facebook comment in 2022.
Among the defamatory imputations claimed against Sharaz’s tweets were that Reynolds pressured Higgins not to proceed with a genuine complaint to police, “is a hypocrite in her advocacy for women’s interests and empowerment”, interfered in Bruce Lehrmann’s trial and bullied Higgins.
Reynolds claims she was also defamed by Sharaz’s reply to a comment on her Facebook page that asked how she was still in politics having “destroyed” Higgins.
The commenter added, “You’re a monster who deserves to be in jail”.
Sharaz responded: “Thanks for reminding her. I hope she hears this every day until she dies”, the senator’s statement of claim says.

The case will return to court for a strategic conference on 10 May.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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2 thoughts on “David Sharaz bows out of Linda Reynolds defamation fight, says he ‘can’t afford legal costs’”
  1. Does this mean David Sharaz is entirely giving up the fight against Linda Reynolds? Or is there still a possibility of a resolution without a trial?

    1. It appears that David Sharaz has made the decision to end his legal battle with Linda Reynolds. At this point, he has stated that due to financial constraints, he can no longer continue to defend himself in court. It remains uncertain if an out-of-court resolution is still on the table.

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