16 Sep 2011

Litigant 'over the moon' at Supreme Court ruling

2:45 pm on 16 September 2011

A woman attempting to sue the Ministry of Environment for defamation says she is over the moon the Supreme Court has thrown out the Crown's attempt to block the case.

Erin Leigh, a former public relations contractor for the ministry, claims the former general manager, Lindsay Gow, defamed her in 2007during a briefing to the then Environment Minister, Trevor Mallard.

She says the briefing portrayed her as incompetent, irresponsible and overly emotional.

Mr Gow argued his comments were covered by absolute privilege, because they were so closely connected with parliamentary proceedings.

The Supreme Court has ruled, however, that public servants assisting ministers to answer parliamentary questions do not have that protection.

Ms Leigh says that is a major milestone.