3 Feb 2009

Former DHB member to drop action against Clark

8:00 pm on 3 February 2009

A former Auckland District Health Board member says he has been vindicated in his defamation battle with former Prime Minister Helen Clark.

Tony Bierre issued a $40,000 defamation claim alleging that Miss Clark suggested he had broken the law.

The writ came against a background of alleged conflicts of interest during a battle between two companies for Auckland's lucrative main pathology contract.

Dr Bierre's lawyer, Mai Chen, has released a letter from Miss Clark saying she accepts that he broke no laws.

Dr Bierre said Miss Clark's statement allows him to finally restore his reputation.

He said it brings to an end a matter that jeopardised his professional career and inflicted significant emotional hardship on his family.

Dr Bierre will withdraw the defamation action, but the dispute that sparked the comments goes on.

The company, Diagnostic Medlab Ltd, first lost the pathology contract to Labtests, which Dr Bierre ran.

Diagnostic Medlab overturned this at a High Court hearing, and Dr Bierre lost his job.

Labtests was able to reinstate itself at the Court of Appeal, which cleared Dr Bierre of wrongdoing.

However, Diagnostic Medlab has sought leave to take the case to the Supreme Court.