Priest sues Perth Archbishop
Court action: The Rev. Terry McAuliffe. Picture: Sharon Smith/The West Australian

Controversial priest the Rev. Terry McAuliffe is suing Perth Archbishop Roger Herft for defamation, claiming his reputation was irretrievably damaged by the head of Perth's Anglican Church.

Mr McAuliffe hit the headlines last year when he initially refused to hand back a valuable diamond bracelet he found in Inglewood - instead offering to sell it back to owners Clyde and Lesley Bevan for half its value.

After a public outcry and a severe dressing down from Archbishop Herft, Mr McAuliffe asked the parishioners at St Paul's Anglican church for forgiveness after vandals daubed graffiti and threw a brick through a church window in response.

Mr McAuliffe, a former lawyer, left his position at the Woodlands-Wembley Downs parish in February.

It has now emerged Mr McAuliffe and Archbishop Herft had a history of acrimony dating back years before the bracelet barney.

A defamation suit filed by Mr McAuliffe against Archbishop Herft is still before the courts.

Dating back to when Mr McAuliffe was removed from his position as Archdeacon of Stirling in March 2011, the writ claims that an explanatory letter about his removal sent to all clergy and parishes was "grossly and falsely defamatory" and caused him loss and damage.

Mr McAuliffe also says the defamation was repeated by Archbishop Herft at a meeting of senior clergy in November that year. He claims his removal from the position of archdeacon was invalid and "of no force and effect" - effectively arguing he should be reinstated.

Mr McAuliffe is seeking damages and costs from Archbishop Herft. A court hearing is set for November.

A spokeswoman for Archbishop Herft said he was unable to comment on any aspect of the case or Mr McAuliffe's current position. Lawyers for Mr McAuliffe also would not comment before the next court hearing.

The West Australian

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