Peter Dutton’s lawyers question Shane Bazzi’s costs figure which was revised down after an ‘error’ was discovered

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Lawyers for Peter Dutton person “hypothetically” questioned whether Shane Bazzi’s lawyers presented a “sham” measure for $233,000 of costs, aft they were forced to revise down the “real bill” for the defamation lawsuit to $155,510.

Bazzi’s counsel said that an “error” was discovered successful an earlier connection to the tribunal and the caller connection corrected the record, but said the mistake was “not important enough” to warrant delaying the costs hearing.

After Bazzi’s triumph successful the afloat national court successful the defamation case, the brace person been locked successful a conflict implicit costs which Dutton’s lawyers accidental could uncover the exile advocator “was ne'er liable for anything” arsenic his lawyers whitethorn person agreed to beryllium paid lone immoderate helium raised done crowdfunding.

On Friday, the afloat national tribunal granted Dutton’s exertion to adjourn the costs matter, mounting up a November show-down successful which the Liberal leader’s lawyers volition question to cross-examine Bazzi and his lawyers astir the interest arrangement.

Dutton’s barrister, Guy Reynolds, said contempt Bazzi’s solicitor earlier claiming a December measure proved costs of $233,000, an affidavit connected Thursday revealed that the “real bill” dated 14 October “is for $155,510, oregon the nonstop magnitude of the crowdfunding for the trial”.

At a proceeding connected Friday, Bazzi’s counsel explained that the earlier bill, issued little than a week aft the defamation proceedings implicit Bazzi’s “Dutton is simply a rape apologist” tweet, contained a $50,000 discount.

Reynolds told the tribunal helium whitethorn request to cross-examine Bazzi and his solicitor.

“It whitethorn good beryllium the lawsuit that the bills that person been provided connected appraisal are sham bills … with the anticipation besides that the interest agreements betwixt Mr Bazzi and his solicitors are shams,” helium said.

“So that the existent presumption whitethorn good be, that nether the statement … Mr Bazzi was ne'er liable for anything, and alternatively the statement was that immoderate came successful by mode of crowdfunding was what the solicitors would … receive.”

Reynolds said helium was “only talking hypothetically” but if determination were “no liability” betwixt Bazzi and his solicitors, past the exertion for costs would beryllium “an maltreatment of process” and “potentially … thing acold much serious”.

Reynolds said the “error” discovered by Bazzi’s assembly successful its earlier costs connection to the tribunal was “said to beryllium thing to bash with a billing system”, Reynolds said.

Bazzi’s counsel resisted the exertion for adjournment, arguing that the correction issued astir the measure was “not important enough” to warrant it and determination was “not immoderate applicable prejudice” to the interests of justice.

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Justice Michael Wigney said helium was “puzzled” arsenic to what the mistake was and however it occurred. He said the “burning question” was however the discount came about.

Justice Steven Rares said the caller connection was “very spare” connected details astir what had happened.

“There is conscionable nary mentation astir however the earlier measure was sent for precisely the magnitude deposited successful the spot account,” Rares said.

“I deliberation Mr Reynolds is entitled to person immoderate mentation astir that and question immoderate accusation – it goes straight to what the billing statement was.”

Bazzi’s barrister countered that wealth raised done crowdfunding was held successful spot to wage his ineligible bills, and whether his statement with his lawyers was capped astatine the magnitude raised it was “still a liability and inactive 1 that gives emergence to costs”.

He rejected Dutton’s statement that paying Bazzi’s costs would magnitude to a “windfall”, arguing it is simply a “reimbursement” for funds expended for the case.

“You whitethorn beryllium right, but we request to cognize the facts,” Wigney said.

The tribunal granted Dutton an adjournment, with subpoenas for documents apt to travel earlier a November hearing.

The tribunal agreed to an exertion from Bazzi’s lawyers to merchandise $50,000 paid by Bazzi arsenic information for costs, due to the fact that helium had won the appeal.

Dutton has sought to appeal to the precocious court successful a bid to overturn the nonaccomplishment successful the defamation case, though the tribunal has not decided yet whether to instrumentality the case.

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