12 Apr 2011

Supreme Court to hear defamation case

10:17 pm on 12 April 2011

The Crown has been given approval to go the Supreme Court in an effort to have a defamation action taken by a former Environment Ministry public relations contractor thrown out.

The case arose when Erin Leigh left her job in 2006, claiming the then Climate Change Minister David Parker politically interfered in the ministry's hiring of Clare Curran as her superior.

The Environment Minister at the time, Trevor Mallard, told Parliament that competency issues had been raised relating to Ms Leigh's work.

His comments were protected by parliamentary privilege, but Ms Leigh claims the ministry's then deputy secretary, Lindsay Gow, made defamatory comments about her in his briefings to Mr Mallard.

The Supreme Court will consider whether or not those communications were the subject of absolute privilege.