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Sick celebrity lawyer given slap down by Noosa court

Harrison Ford's lawyer Stuart Gibson loses case involving a Noosa magistrate.
Harrison Ford's lawyer Stuart Gibson loses case involving a Noosa magistrate. Jordan Strauss

THE Hollywood defamation lawyer to stars like Russell Crowe and Harrison Ford didn't like his verbal shellacking from a Noosa magistrate who didn't simply accept his sick note.

Stuart Gibson was told off when he didn't appear in a Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) matter over a dispute of $14,000 in real estate sales commission with Select Noosa Real Estate on February 12.

So Mr Gibson, who was also known as the "Church of Scientology lawyer", fired back and sought leave to appeal the QCAT decision.

He also accused the tribunal member of "bias" and sought to have her recused from hearing the case after he was told, amongst others, "the court is not at your beck and call".

Mr Gibson claimed in his grounds of appeal the "tribunal snapped at him in open court, acted rudely and abrasively, attacked his credibility and defamed him before hanging up (the phone) on him.

But in a judgement handed down in Brisbane by former Chief Justice Tim Carmody, Mr Gibson lost this bid and his leave to appeal was refused.

The court documents, released this week, highlight details of the unusual case.

Mr Gibson and his elderly parents, Walter and Helen, were alleged to owe Select Noosa Real Estate the $14,053 over the $545,000 sale of their 44 Second Ave, Coolum Beach home in April 2015.

PRDnationwide sold the home, but Select Noosa Real Estate argued they had the exclusive listing.

The case was set down for February 12. Mr Gibson, who works in Melbourne, was given permission to represent his elderly parents over the phone.

But then on February 11, Mr Gibson emailed the tribunal advising "he was going home to bed with a virus" and requested an adjournment as he wasn't likely to be well enough to attend the hearing.

The next day, he again emailed the registry confirming he was "still unwell" and asked for it to be adjourned and provide a mobile contact number.

When the hearing was called at 11am, the tribunal rang Mr Gibson's office and was told "he was, or at least had been, in earlier in the morning but had left for the day and was only contactable via email".

The tribunal told Mr Gibson's office manager the hearing would proceed if he didn't make contact promptly.

At 11.10am, the matter was adjourned, but "because of credibility issues" withdrew Mr Gibson's leave to represent his parents by phone and ordered them to all appear in court.

Two minutes later and Mr Gibson was on the phone to the tribunal, which sparked a retort.

"I'm in the middle of a court. You were meant to appear here or be available by 9am," a tribunal member said.

"I rang your offices, they said you were in, but you were in a meeting. Now, I'm not sure - they said that - that may be mistaken etcetera. It hen rang your mobile. I then got messages. This court is not at your beck and call. And to be honest, I think you are just trying to delay these proceedings."

The court document showed the tribunal also noted Mr Gibson's "alleged pattern of not showing up at hearings and causing adjournments for various reasons, including being sick and having to attend to other court-related matters".

It also alleged "he did not sound sick when contacted by the court".

Judge Carmody found Mr Gibson and his parents didn't have "a right to appear remotely" and the tribunal was "perfectly entitled to reconsider the question of the mode of the applicant's attendance at the adjournment hearing, especially if credit was in issue".

He also found the tribunal's comments "clearly reflected scepticism" about Mr Gibson's reasons for non-attendance, but did not defame him.

It is understood the case is now set down for a date in November.

Both Mr Gibson and Select Noosa Real Estate principal Greg Smith declined to comment.

Topics:  defamation editors picks harrison ford noosa magistrates court qcat russell crowe tim carmody



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