Ex-mayor be­ing sued for $430,000

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

FOR­MER Dou­glas Shire mayor Mike Ber­wick is be­ing sued for $430,000 as dam­ages for defama­tion by a com­pany as­so­ci­ated with well-known de­vel­oper Jeff Mccloy.

Wonga Beach Vil­lage Pty Ltd owned and op­er­ated a busi­ness known as Wonga Beach Aqua­cul­ture Re­sort Pty Ltd un­til De­cem­ber 16, 2010.

The com­pany’s state­ment of claim said that a let­ter writ­ten by the de­fen­dant, Michael Ber­wick, on Novem­ber 16 or 17, 2005, was then sent on to Des­ley Boyle who was then a mem­ber of the Queens­land Par­lia­ment and Min­is­ter for the En­vi­ron­ment, Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment and Women.

The com­pany claims the let­ter de­fames it.

The com­pany fur­ther claims that on Novem­ber 17, 2005, Mr Ber­wick did a ra­dio in­ter­view where he re­peated much of what was writ­ten in his let­ter in an in­ter­view with John Mcken­zie on Easy Lis­ten­ing 84.6 AM.

The com­pany said the na­ture of the in­ter­view given by Mr Ber­wick was in­tended to cause it dam­age and to sully its rep­u­ta­tion.

A fur­ther let­ter writ­ten on Novem­ber 23, 2005, by Mr Ber­wick was then sent on to Ian Camp­bell, who was then a mem­ber of Fed­eral Par­lia­ment and Min­is­ter for the En­vi­ron­ment and Her­itage.

The com­pany also claims this let­ter was pub­lished with­out pro­vid­ing it with the op­por­tu­nity to respond to the con­tent prior to its pub­li­ca­tion.

Mr Ber­wick then wrote an­other let­ter on or shortly prior to May 25, 2006, that was pub­lished in the Port Dou­glas & Moss­man Gazette which the com­pany claims was only pub­lished with the sole pur­pose to dis­credit Mr Mccloy and his busi­ness.

The com­pany is su­ing Mr Ber­wick for $300,000 as dam­ages for defama­tion and seek­ing $131,308.21 for in­ju­ri­ous false­hood and in­ter­est.

When the Gazette ap­proached Mr Ber­wick he said: “No com­ment.”

The Gazette also tried sev­eral times to speak with Mr Mccloy at his New­cas­tle of­fice but was un­suc­cess­ful.

In 2008, Mr Mccloy set­tled a defama­tion claim he had brought against Mr Ber­wick. Mr Mccloy claimed that he had been de­famed in a let­ter writ­ten by Mr Ber­wick and pub­lished in the Gazette.

Photo by NEIL WEAVERS

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