BAYSWATER mayor Terry Kenyon has won the first battle in a bitter, drawn-out defamation case against two of his councillors.
Cr Kenyon is suing councillors Mike Anderton and Mike Sabatino over information that appeared in articles in the media in 2009 and 2010.
The articles, related to CCTV footage of Cr Kenyon carrying a bottle to a room of ratepayers, had been sent to the Crime and Corruption Commission by Crs Sabatino and Anderton. The CCC later referred the matter to the WA local government department.
Last week, WA Supreme Court judge Rene Le Miere ruled Cr Kenyon had proved the two councillors had effectively published the information by leaking the CCC submission to the media. Only two witnesses testified during the trial, the Sunday Times’ Glenn Cordingley—who wrote the January 2010 story, “Booze bribery claim mayor denies breach”—and Bayswater CEO Francesca Lefante.
The court learned that in December 2009 former mayor Lou Magro met with Mr Cordingley at a coffee shop, where they discussed the CCC submission and Mr Magro, a political ally of Crs Sabatino and Anderton, gave the journalist a copy.
Crs Kenyon, Anderton and Sabatino have not testified.
In a complex case that has been festering since 2011, Cr Kenyon must now prove the articles, which first appeared in the Voice, then the Sunday Times and WA Today, defamed him.
The Voice understands Crs Anderton and Sabatino have already spent around $50,000 each in legal fees.
Another pre-trial hearing is scheduled for April.
by STEPHEN POLLOCK