The Courier-Mail

Ex-head wants $1.3m

Accused principal sues for leave

- VANDA CARSON

A FORMER school principal accused of embezzling millions from the Queensland private school he founded claims he is owed $1.3m because he did not take a paid holiday or any long-service leave for nearly two decades.

Paul Thomson, 76, is suing Kimberley College Ltd and three of the college’s directors in the Federal Circuit Court in Brisbane, arguing that when he was sacked as principal on June 12, 2018, he was not paid any of his annual leave or longservic­e leave owing for 18 years in the job. He is claiming $1,312,124 from the independen­t college at Carbrook, in Logan, which includes $209,127 for long-service leave.

The school, which is funded by the state and federal government­s and to a lesser extent by fee-paying students, denies Mr Thomson is owed $1.3m and argues that he has “no entitlemen­t” to payment.

It submitted to the court that Mr Thomson “took various periods of paid leave by way of long-service leave” and received entitlemen­ts, or payments, or benefits to the equivalent value during his time at the school.

He was sacked for what Kimberley College alleges was serious misconduct, including the alleged misappropr­iation of “significan­t funds”.

Mr Thomson last year asked the Federal Circuit

Court to rule on his claim for compensati­on for $209,127 in unpaid long-service leave now, before he faces trial on criminal charges, and delay deciding the remainder of his compensati­on claim until after his trial.

No trial date has been set. He was charged by police in September 2019.

Details of Mr Thomson’s claim against the school were revealed in a decision handed down in December by Federal Circuit Court Judge Michael Jarrett. Judge Jarrett refused Mr Thomson’s applicatio­n to stay the rest of his compensati­on claim against Kimberley College until after criminal charges are heard.

He ruled that the case was ready for hearing and should proceed. He also ruled that Mr Thomson had “actively waived” his right to remain silent on issues related to his criminal charges “by engaging in these proceeding­s”.

No date has been set to hear the Federal Court appeal.

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