Former Canberra Hospital workers have reinstated the claim for damages by the Court of Appeal | Canberra Times

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A lawyer for a former Canberra Hospital worker accused a court member of “dealing with ‘poison’ against all persons I have represented” in an attempt to overturn a decision on the worker’s claim. In September 2018, the former worker filed a claim for compensation for “anxiety, stress, high blood pressure, diabetes and depression”, which she attributed to stressors at the hospital. Comcare – the national authority for occupational health and safety and compensation for work injuries – handed down a verdict against her at the end of 2018, where the administrative appellate court upheld the decision. Her non-legal lawyer Peter Koyla then filed a motion with the court to review the decision. However, she failed to attend conferences and hearings between May 2019 and April 2021, and the case was further delayed after Mr Koyla could no longer represent her due to illness. The court ordered her to provide more information about her intent and ability to continue the review, but she did not comply. In May this year, the defendant, who is the ACT government, requested that the case be dismissed, prompting the court to order a preliminary hearing. The former worker presented a medical certificate stating that she was unable to represent herself legally and that she was experiencing financial difficulties. She asked the court to dispense with the hearing “in its entirety”, arguing that it lacked content and that it was “so unreasonable that no reasonable person would consider filing such an application”. During the hearing in July, when she was to appear unrepresented, she was absent. The court tried to contact her several times before rejecting her application for review. Five days later, Mr Koyla made a request that this application be reopened. He claimed that one of the members of the court “has acted with ‘poison’ against all persons I have represented”. MORE NEWS: “He has either made a decision that is visibly wrong for us to charge unnecessary costs and fees by going to an appellate court in complete breach of international conventions that Australia has signed,” Mr Koyla said. He asked for “an immediate reinstatement of the application and that the appeal be dealt with by a reconstituted court where he can no longer adjudicate in the case or cases”. The government opposed the reinstatement, saying the former worker was given sufficient notice that her application could be rejected if she failed to appear for any hearing. It said there was no reasonable basis and the allegation that a tribunal member was “married to all persons” had no evidence. It also said the reinstatement would be unfair and uneconomical as the government would have to devote more time and resources to the cause. The court decided at the end of December to reopen the application. Senior Member Linda Kirk said that if the case was justified and not heard, the prejudices of the former worker would outweigh the resources that the government had already committed to the case. Ms Kirk said the court was satisfied she had a “reasonable case to advance”. She said, however, that the former worker’s failure to comply with court instructions “is consistent with a pattern of non-attendance at scheduled conferences and hearings throughout the course of the case.” She said the lack of attendance at scheduled conferences and hearings indicated her “apparent indifference to the importance of these events in the development of her application for notification” and that they did not help the court. Our journalists work hard to deliver local, up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:



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