NT Spectators – ‘Injury’ case settles for for excess of 3.4 million


NT Spectator Injury Case at RedNATS Event Alice Springs Raceway settles for $3.4 million and sends clear message to organisers as to the impact of breach of duty of care

A number of Northern Territory and Western Australian Claimants have settled a class action in the Federal Court of Australia at Sydney for an amount of $3.4 million in damages and insurance benefits, with the case highlighting the extent of personal injuries suffered as a result of serious injuries sustained by spectators at the Alice Springs Inland Dragway on 3 September 2017.

The case was conducted by Greg Walsh OAM of Greg Walsh & Co Solicitors of Oatley in Sydney. The initial advice provided to the Claimants was to the effect that the circumstances of the accident was one which arose as a result of a motor vehicle accident arising from a burnout competition, when pure methanol fuel generated by the competitor in the course of the competition, ignited rubber detritus situated in close proximity to the spectator watching the event. As a result, a number of spectators were severely burnt and others suffered psychological injury.

Greg Walsh met with the Claimants in Darwin and accepted instructions on a ‘no win no fee’ basis and also agreed to pay the disbursements of the Claimants. Greg Walsh made the decision not to seek to engage a litigation funder, so as to avoid the Claimants losing up to 60% of any verdict or settlement.

The case was brought against Car Festivals Pty Ltd, Summernats Pty Ltd and Northern Territory Major Events Company Pty Ltd.

Greg Walsh acknowledged that the litigation was extremely hard for and involved enormous effort of not only his part, but that of his staff and with the support of the Claimants. Greg Walsh was of the opinion that the injuries suffered by the Claimants arose not as a result of a motor vehicle accident, but as a result of a breach of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and in negligence. This meant that the very restrictive conditions of the Motor Accidents Compensation Act (NT) did not apply.

If the Claimants had continued with their claims under MACA, they would have been only entitled to very limited compensation and also real practical difficulties in the nature of medical assessment and treatment. Greg Walsh was able to, for instance, arrange for Associate Professor Haertsch AM to assess the Claimants. Professor Haertsch treated that wonderful Australia, Turia Pitt, in respect of her catastrophic burn injuries. Greg Walsh was also able to have the Claimants examined by an eminent Sydney forensic psychiatrist, namely Dr Peter Klug and this was of considerable assistance to them.

If persons suffer any personal injury, whether it arises from a sporting event, motor vehicle accident, work related accident, bullying, then they should contact Greg Walsh and his team.


Jury acquits Brother David Curtin on historical sex charges

Goulburn Post – A solicitor has strongly criticised a police investigation after a retired Christian Brother was acquitted of historical sexual/indecent assault this week. 

Brother David Michael Curtin, 67, of Mulgoa, was found not guilty by a jury in Downing Centre District Court.

Read more…


FACS accused of lying about abuse documents being destroyed in blaze

The Daily Telegraph – COMMUNITY services have been accused of lying for years that crucial documents were destroyed in a blaze before detectives found them intact in just a day. Read more

Louise Thomson has been slammed by a court for running up legal costs

A multimillion-dollar breakup involving a wealthy hotelier has claimed another scalp as his trustee in bankruptcy is left with a $350,000 legal bill.

Louise Thomson has been slammed by a court for running up legal costs and her own fees of hundreds of thousands of dollars when she didn’t need to while administering the bankrupt estate of hotelier Les Young. Meanwhile, four years after a court ordered Mr Young, 75, to pay his ex-wife Joanne Young $3 million, she is yet to see a cent of the money.

The saga began when Mr Young declared himself bankrupt after the Supreme Court in 2013 awarded Ms Young the payment.
The court found Mr Young had wrongly thrown her out of her home at his Wiley Park hotel, put down her two terriers Fluffy and Molly, maliciously told police she had stolen from him and taken off with her best friend, Josephine Smith.

Mr Young and Ms Smith lived in a $5 million harbour side penthouse but instead of putting it on the market to pay Ms Young, Ms Smith, whose jewellery alone has been valued at $850,000, was found to have defied a court order by putting it up as security for a $5.8 million loan for one of her companies to buy the Lucky Australian Hotel at St Marys.

Westpac Bank has since put the hotel into receivership after learning the Pyrmont apartment should never have been used as collateral.

Now Ms Thomson, who was appointed to sort out Mr Young’s bankruptcy, has been found by the Full Court of the Federal Court to have breached her duties as a trustee.

Despite knowing that Ms Smith was the main creditor of the estate, in one move criticised by the court Ms Thomson sent Ms Smith a report by snail mail which arrived five days after the date set for a deadline.

She could have sent it by email, the court found.

The court also found that she had improperly incurred around $350,000 in legal costs on top of $250,000 in remuneration and had done a deal with a litigation-funding agency who would get 35 per cent of what she recovered as part of the bankruptcy.

“That conduct was a breach of her statutory duties,” the court said.

The three Full Court judges said all her accounts dealing with Mr Young’s bankruptcy had to be signed off by the court and she has to personally pay the costs of the latest case, estimated to be around $350,000.

She concealed information and was obfuscating, the court said

A new trustee in bankruptcy has been appointed.

“Warring spouses, a de facto partner and money provide all the necessary ingredients for confrontation and disputes,” Justice Geoffrey Flick said.

“Add a bankrupt husband, his attempts to divest himself of property to his de facto partner and the inadequate discharge by a trustee of her duties as a trustee in bankruptcy and litigation becomes inevitable.” Ms Thomson had denied wrong doing.

Chief Report
Daily Telegraph

R V Adam Filippone – [2017] SCNT

Adam Filippone was charged with murder and being accessory after the fact of murder arising from the death of Peter Murphy on Sunday 17 August 2008.

Greg Walsh represented Adam Filippone in the successfully defence of these charges which were heard over five (5) weeks in a trial conducted in the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory at Alice Springs. The trial was presided over by Justice Blokland and a Jury.

The charges against Adam Filippone had an extraordinary history as he had been, years earlier, cleared at a committal hearing conducted in Darwin. Police were successful in obtaining a coronial inquest and in 2013 Adam Filippone was charged with murder of being accessory after the fact by x-officio indictment. The killer of Peter Murphy was Greg Russell, an acquaintance of Adam Filippone, who worked as a tiler together with his wife Donna in Alice Springs and various other places in the Northern Territory. The Crown theory was that Adam Filippone, because of his closeness of his relationship to Greg Russell, was involved in the killing or otherwise assisted him after the killing.

On the day of the disappearance ofPeter Murphy, Adam Filippone was working at the Target Plaza redevelopment at Alice Springs as a tiler. He started work around 7:30am and was still at the plaza until about 5:30pm to 6:00pm. The Crown’s theory was that Greg Russell and the Accused had met Peter Murphy sometime just after 1:00pm and had driven him from Alice Springs approximately 95kms away to the Plenty Highway where he was assaulted, killed and then buried. They then returned to Alice Springs arriving at about 3:12pm. If the Accused’s alibi was correct he could not have been present when Peter Murphy was murdered.

In order to obtain evidence against Mr Filippone a Senior Police Officer, Detective Sergeant

Richardson, went to extraordinary lengths to co-opt on Wendy Hassett, the then partner of

Greg Russell, to make admissions not only against himself but also against Adam “Wog” Filippone. Wendy Hassett who had been actively involved in cleaning a gun that may have been used in the murder at the direction of Greg Russell together with his daughter Gemma Beattie had been alerted to reward money being available by Richardson. In lengthy conversations, none of which were recorded or a note made, Richardson played a central role in influencing Hassett to purchase a recorder and then record a dying declaration of Greg Supreme Court ofthe Northern Territory

Russell. He drew a map identiWing the approximate burial site and in what could only be termed and orchestrated conversation implicated Adam Filippone being present. The next morning when Hassett left their house Russell took his own life in the garage. Hassett returned home with her mother in the car and ran over Russell’s body.

The Crown case relied upon a “Motley” of witnesses including the estranged wife of Peter Murphy, one Tamara Murphy. She had secreted a gun for Greg Russell who had lived at her house for some time. She did so even though she had children in the house. She gave to Greg Russell the gun on the morning of 17 August 2008. She had spoken to Greg Russell about her estranged husband including discussions with him involving his death.

Tamara Murphy had actively encouraged Greg Russell yet was never charged with any criminal offence. Her evidence was severely undermined in a withering cross examination by Phillip Boulten SC with whom Greg Walsh appeared in the trial. She, like many of the Crown witnesses, were utterly destroyed in cross examination and in particular as to her motives against her estranged husband Peter Murphy. There was no doubting that she had a romantic interest in Greg Russell and even denied a photograph which clearly showed her on the bonnet of Greg Russell’s car pleading with him not to leave her home during her birthday party and her ‘undying’ love for him.

A critical part of the Crown case was the reliance of the Crown upon tower telephone records. According to the Crown Prosecutor, David Morters, these demonstrated conclusively that the Accused was not working at the plaza site on the afternoon of 17 August 2008. However experts called by the Crown conceded that this was a real possibility that having regard to the configuration of the towers at Alice Springs, mobile phone calls could be received which could not conclusively establish where the call had emanated from. This fact was always known to investigating Police and the Crown Prosecutor. Remarkably, investigating Police did not seek to obtain critical phone tower records relating to Peter Murphy’s phone nor other witnesses who were working with Adam Filippone on the 17th of August 2008. These records were in existence up until approximately 2015 and despite the investigations being ongoing for many years, Police conveniently took no steps to obtain these vital records.

Adam Filippone’s wife Donna gave evidence. The Jury deliberated after lengthy directions by Justice Blokland and after approximately a day and a half returned their verdicts of not guilty as to each of the charges.

NTNews – Adam Filippone found not guilty of murder of Peter Wayne Murphy in Alice Springs Supreme Court – Adam Filippone found not guilty of murder of Peter Wayne Murphy in Alice Springs Supreme Court

Turia Pitt and RacingThePlanet

Greg Walsh acted for Turia Pitt who was injured in a fire while competing in an Ultramarathon in the Kimberley region of Australia. Mr Walsh commenced proceedings and the case against RacingThePlanet was resolved on confidential terms satisfactory to both parties.

ABC News – Ultramarathon runner Turia Pitt, burnt during race in Kimberley, WA, reaches multi-million-dollar settlement.

The Guardian – Ultramarathon burns victim Turia Pitt settles with race organiser.