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The Barrister Trying To Shake Loose from the Whaleoil Case

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Brian Henry’s attempts to extricate himself from the Whaleoil defamation has become a question of the case that won’t go away.

A Newsroom story reported that the “unorthodox advocate” has been trying to remove himself from the three year old defamation case following Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater’s stroke last October.

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As a result of Slater’s stroke and bankruptcy the so-called ‘maverick barrister‘ (right) has been unable to instruct him and his client is no longer able to be sued.

However he has been unable to convince Justice Palmer ruled that he would need to continue to represent Slater, although a hearing is set for late July. The defamation case is brought by three medical professionals along with Sir Douglas Graham’s son, PR man Carrick Graham and former National MP Katherine Rich, head of the Food and Grocery Council.

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The claim relates to paid blog posts that attacked them, but the eight judgment on the matter, which was delivered last week, said a “litigation guardian” should be appointed or a court hearing regarding his illness should be held, failing which Slater should “face the consequences of the plaintiff’s current application.”

In April Justice Palmer decided there was no “medical evidence on the basis of which I could be satisfied Mr Slater was then incapacitated so that I could appoint a litigation guardian for him.”

He terminated Henry’s appointment as counsel assisting the court.

In June Henry filed a further memorandum with the court saying “no party is instructing him, no person is taking responsibility for his fees, he has no professional responsibility for the plaintiffs’ issues, he is attending court and filing responses out of courtesy to the court and he renews his application for leave to withdraw.”

Henry had earlier told the Court he “is making his submissions on behalf of Mr Slater personally on the basis of Mr Slater’s instructions. He seeks leave to withdraw from acting for the first defendant because the first defendant is Mr Slater’s bankrupt estate, on behalf of which he is not instructed.”

However he told Justice Palmer if that was not accepted, he would want to respond to the plaintiff’s application next week “on behalf of Mr Slater in person.”

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