Ashby lodges appeal against Slipper ruling

James Ashby … seeks to appeal against judgment.
James Ashby … seeks to appeal against judgment.

PETER SLIPPER'S former aide James Ashby has sought leave to appeal against a court judgment which found his sexual harassment claim was a calculated political attack.

In the decision, delivered last month, Federal Court Judge Steven Rares found Mr Ashby's claim was intended to severely damage the former speaker's reputation and enhance Mr Ashby's own career.

Mr Ashby on Friday lodged an application for leave to appeal the judgment with the Federal Court. Mr Ashby's lawyer Michael Harmer, who was also the subject of adverse findings, will lodge a separate appeal on Monday.

In December, Justice Rares dismissed Mr Ashby's case as an abuse of the judicial process.

Justice Rares found the claim was a political attack devised by Mr Ashby with fellow Slipper aide Karen Doane, and with the assistance of former Howard government minister Mal Brough and Mr Harmer.

Mr Ashby had claimed he was the target of ''unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome sexual comments and unwelcome suggestions of a sexual nature'' while working for Mr Slipper between January and March last year.

Justice Rares said Mr Ashby and Ms Doane had decided to assist Mr Brough and the News Ltd journalist Steve Lewis to ''damage Mr Slipper in the public eye and political arena with any information they could find'' and had begun talking to Mr Brough about new job opportunities.

The judge also found Mr Harmer had included irrelevant and spurious allegations in an application on Mr Ashby's behalf, the sole purpose of which was to damage Mr Slipper politically under absolute privilege.

This story Ashby lodges appeal against Slipper ruling first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.