Judge bins 'misconceived' COVID-19 lawsuit

·2-min read

A lawsuit challenging NSW's COVID-19 health measures has been rejected by a Federal Court judge who called the case ambitious and creative but misconceived.

Nurse Loretta Kikuyu launched the case in December 2021 a few weeks after she was fired for refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

In tossing the lawsuit on Wednesday, Justice Michael Lee said if Ms Kikuyu was correct in her claims, states and territories would be barred from taking their own actions in a public health emergency.

"The logical consequence of (Ms Kikuyu's) contention is that between 18 March 2020 and 17 April 2022, every measure taken under all State and Territory laws to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19 was invalid and inoperative," he wrote.

"Whatever else this argument lacked, it did not lack ambition."

In what was described as a "legally misconceived" lawsuit, Ms Kikuyu claimed that public health orders by Health Minister Bradley Hazzard and former NSW Health secretary Elizabeth Koff were inconsistent with the Commonwealth Biosecurity Act and the Australian Constitution.

"(Ms Kikuyu's) interpretation of the Biosecurity Act is not only wrong, but would be striking, as it would destroy the ability of the States and Territories to formulate tailored measures for their respective jurisdictions," Justice Lee said.

The judge noted the publicity that the June hearing had, filling three courtrooms in the Sydney Federal Court building and attracting more than 4000 viewers through the online link.

Because of public commentary behind the case, some of which was instigated by Ms Kikuyu's lawyers at the Sydney-based Maatouks Law Group, Justice Lee felt compelled to dispel some misconceptions that had spread about the lawsuit.

The case was not about the wisdom of the state or commonwealth governments and their response to COVID-19, nor was it about individual liberties, vaccine mandates or holding public officials to account, he wrote.

Mr Hazzard and Ms Koff have flagged that they will seek a special costs order to cover expenses incurred in defending the lawsuit.

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