By senior business correspondent Peter Ryan
Seven West chairman Kerry Stokes and director Jeff Kennett have been criticised by a NSW Supreme Court judge for their public comments that vilified former employee Amber Harrison.
Ms Harrison had launched a high-profile social media campaign against Seven West Media, releasing documents and details about her affair with chief executive Tim Worner, including claims he snorted cocaine during one of their encounters.
Giving his reasons for extending a gag order against Ms Harrison, Justice McDougall said Mr Stokes and Mr Kennett had “descended into accusation and counter accusation” and that comments from Mr Kennett on Twitter were “not well advised”.
“Seven was using, and is working to continue using, the injunction to vilify Ms Harrison at a time when she (Ms Harrison) could not respond.”
Justice McDougall was referring to Mr Kennett’s Twitter feud with Ms Harrison on February 14, after Seven won an interim injunction to stop Ms Harrison from releasing confidential Seven documents.
Mr Kennett was also critical of Ms Harrison in an interview on the ABC’s AM program on February 14, ahead of Mr Worner delivering a 91 per cent fall in Seven West’s half year profit.
However, Justice McDougall was also critical of Ms Harrison’s behaviour in leaking confidential Seven documents as he explained his reasons for extending the injunction.
“Ms Harrison made it clear that she is reckless or indifferent to the collateral damage of others,” he said.
Justice McDougall said he was satisfied that Ms Harrison had breached at least some of her confidentiality obligations relating to her former employment at Seven.