Lawyer suing state for ‘hurtful’ comments

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Jeremy Weston, a senior Crown lawyer, is seeking $200,000 in compensation in his defamation claim against the Deputy Crown solicitor and Queensland State Government.

He alleges that Deputy Crown solicitor Helen Freemantle defamed him at a meeting in February of last year, saying “we won’t get Jeremy Weston to do it because he’ll say something stupid and ridiculous that we’ll have to fix up later”.

The alleged comments were part of a discussion proposing a survey by the Queensland Government Insurance Fund, to obtain feedback from lawyers employed by Crown Law, about the insurer’s staff.  The comments were made during a meeting between representatives from the insurer and senior Crown Law staff.  Weston was not present.

According to a report by the Courier Mail, Weston claims that the comment could be understood to mean he is a stupid or incompetent person and prone to making ridiculous remarks.  He also said that the comments could mean that he could not be trusted with direct involvement with clients of Crown Law, as someone who acted unprofessionally.

The comments, he alleges, caused damage to his personal and professional reputations, distress and embarrassment.

He is claiming damages to vindicate his reputation, to the tune of $150,000 in general damages to reflect the seriousness of the damaged caused, and $50,000 aggravated damages for additional hurt.

Freemantle and the State Government are yet to respond to the claim, which was filed in February.