Former NSW Deputy Prime Minister John Barilaro’s chief of staff has been “collateral damage” in a scuffle over documents relating to the lawsuits against Friendlyjordies producer Kristo Langker, said a Sydney magistrate.
Siobhan Hamblin said on Wednesday that she had always intended to fully comply with a court order to produce digital recordings on her work devices, only for Barilaro to resign days after receiving the order.
The resignation left her jobless, without access to various accounts and with the obligation to return her work phone and laptop, Hamblin told the local Downing Center court.
âThe unfortunate timing of the summons issuance and the machinations of dissolving a governmentâ¦ made this time difficult for me personally, as well as the navigation. [these issues]. “
Hamblin was ordered to physically appear in court after Magistrate Jacqueline Milledge last week expressed her displeasure with the way a subpoena was answered and the way Hamblin was portrayed. But on Wednesday, Milledge accepted Hamblin’s explanation and Langker’s lawyers agreed not to press for the documents, which she no longer had.
The summons concerned the prosecution of Langker, 21, who pleaded not guilty to two counts alleging that he stalked or intimidated Barilaro in Sydney in April and June.
The criminal case comes amid a dispute between Langker boss Jordan Shanks and Barilaro who is suing over allegedly defamatory videos posted on Shanks’ YouTube channel, Friendlyjordies.
The national deputy cited the tension of the ongoing libel case as playing “a big part” in his resignation announced on October 4.
Hamblin said on Wednesday that she could not remember her state of mind on October 7 when her lawyers emailed Langker’s lawyers about the subpoena.
âI just lost my job, almost 20 of my employees lost their jobs,â she said. âTo say it was painful would be an understatement. “
Langker’s lawyers later withdrew their opposition to her claim that the subpoena had been honored, agreeing that she could not be compelled to produce documents she no longer had.
Milledge said she was “absolutely satisfied”. Hamblin immediately took the subpoena seriously, brought it to the attention of his employer, the PMO and Cabinet, and had taken private legal advice.
âI think you have been collateral damage in all of this,â she said.
“They [Hamblinâs lawyers] started doing the right things, then it all fell apart, and you got caught in the middle of it all. There has been contempt of court, but certainly not on your part. “
By consent, Hamblin was ordered to pay $ 3,000 in costs Langker spent in Friday’s hearing.
Langker’s legal team are now expected to subpoena the department for documents they say were created in Barilaro’s office before their client was indicted in June.
The case returns to court next Wednesday.