19 Sep 2011

Supreme Court ruling welcomed

9:22 am on 19 September 2011

A whistle-blower accused of incompetence in Parliament by former Environment Minister Trevor Mallard says a Supreme Court ruling means greater protection for people like herself.

Mr Mallard was referring to Erin Leigh, a former contractor who resigned from the Ministry of Environment in protest over the appointment of Clare Curran to a ministry contract, saying it amounted to political interference.

The Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal by Lindsay Gow, a former deputy secretary of the ministry who advised Mr Mallard.

Mr Gow argued he could not be sued for defamation by Ms Leigh because he was protected by absolute privilege in the same way as the minister.

Ms Leigh says she cannot afford to sue, but feels pleased that anyone else who's been defamed now has legal rights to sue.