Lawyers for Alan Bond yesterday sought to accelerate the failed tycoon…

Lawyers for Alan Bond yesterday sought to accelerate the failed tycoon’s bid to sue freelance journalist Paul Barry over an article published in News Limited newspapers last month The Australian reports.

The article, published in Sunday papers across the country on June 3, explored Bond’s attempts to revive his career and his fortune through the Lesotho Diamond Company.

Labelling the article “misleading and deceptive”, Bond and Lesotho are suing Barry, News Limited (publisher of The Australian), News Digital Media Pty Ltd and Nationwide News Pty Ltd under the Trade Practices Act rather than the traditional route of defamation law.

“This action will explore a little litigated section of the Trade Practices Act that tended to afford protection for media organisations,” Bond’s lawyer, Martin Bennett, said outside the Federal Court in Perth yesterday. Mr Bennett, also appearing for Lesotho, said the case would explore section 65A of the act and examine whether the protection extended to Barry “as a freelance journalist”.

In court yesterday, Mr Bennett said Barry was trying to delay the case by seeking another month to respond to the statement of claim.

Yonnene Pearce – appearing for Barry and News Limited – said this was not a “run-of-the-mill” case and they needed more time to prepare and brief specialist counsel.

Judge Robert French granted an extension to August 15 and a return to court on September 12.

Mr Bennett said a damages figure had not been reached but Bond had suffered distress over the article. “Both Mr Bond and the Lesotho Diamond Company say the articles were misleading and deceptive – misrepresented what in fact occurs both within the company, Mr Bond’s dealings with the company and the nature of the diamond tenements that are being explored,” Mr Bennett said.

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