The defamation battle between Treasurer Troy Buswell and his former lover, MP Adele Carles is set to continue through the State election campaign after Mr Buswell’s legal team rejected a settlement offer.
The ugly spat between one of WA’s most senior politicians and his former partner will be in court this month and beyond, with Mr Buswell determined to seek legal recourse to embarrassing allegations levelled against him by Ms Carles in a series of interviews, press conferences and social media posts.
With the State election scheduled for March 9 this year, the distraction of a potentially vitriolic and highly personal legal stoush continuing through the campaign is looming, after Ms Carles’ lawyer John Hammond confirmed a settlement offer had been rejected.
“It is going through the (legal) system and 2013 will be very illuminating as to what happens with the matter,” Mr Hammond told Fairfax radio.
“I believe and so does my client that the best way for this to proceed is that the matter is settled and it is brought to an end.
“That is what we put to (Mr Buswell) and the offers of settlement have been rejected.
“So the matter will proceed through the courts.”
Premier Colin Barnett had been hoping the public fallout from the private lives of his Treasurer and the independent MP would quietly end.
But his wish was not granted, with Mr Buswell’s legal team currently formulating a full statement of claim.
“That statement of claim will outline all the matters which Mr Buswell alleges are defamatory ... it is progressing its way through the system,” Mr Hammond said.
Late last month, The Sunday Times newspaper was ordered to hand over documents relating to the article it published containing allegations about the behaviour of Mr Buswell.
A subpoena was issued seeking the correspondence between Ms Carles and the journalist, with Mr Buswell’s lawyer Martin Bennett demanding to see all relevant notes which would provide some context for the comments extracted for the story published on December 9.
That story alleged Mr Buswell had acted inappropriately, while drunk, with a prominent Perth businessman.
Ms Carles then allegedly sent a series of highly personal tweets about Mr Buswell, which have since been deleted.
Lawyers for the Mr Buswell filed a defamation writ against Ms Carles soon after, seeking aggravated damages from the former Greens MP as well as a “permanent injunction” against her.
The writ alleges Ms Carles defamed Mr Buswell a total of nine times in interviews with various Perth media outlets, and on Twitter.
It seeks damages, aggravated damages, and interest on the damages. The writ also aims to silence Ms Carles.
“A permanent injunction restraining the defendant from repeating the defamatory comments or words similar thereto,” is the third claim on the writ.
It is understood the defamation case will initially be listed for a court hearing this month.