The former lover of Seven West Media boss Tim Worner told the Supreme Court she will be “driven into bankruptcy” if she is forced to pay the company’s legal costs.
Amber Harrison has already consented to a gag order, banning her from speaking publicly about her affair with the media boss or releasing confidential information about the company.
Now Seven West is pursuing her for legal costs.
But the former executive assistant who had an ill-fated affair with Seven West Media chief executive Tim Worner argued that any court order against her would be “punitive and pointless”.
Ms Harrison also attacked the Seven Network for engaging in an unrelenting legal battle after she breached a confidentiality agreement to keep details of her relationship with Mr Worner secret and not to release sensitive documents she allegedly took from Seven.
“Seven and I have been involved in a marathon three year, brutal and unnecessarily protracted legal process,” Ms Harrison told the NSW Supreme Court via telephone.
“Seven are professional litigators. Seven’s pockets for litigation are deep and their appetite for it is endless.
“I should not be punished by the court system for taking a stand.”
Ms Harrison also appealed to Justice John Sackar to consider her role as a foster parent when considering Seven’s argument that she foot their legal bill.
“I am a foster parent. If I have costs awarded against me it will affect my future ability to support my family,” Ms Harrison said in her much anticipated statement to the court.
“Seven seeking costs against me will drive me into bankruptcy.”
Seven launches stinging counter-attack
Seven’s barrister Dr Andrew Bell SC launched a forensic objection to Ms Harrison’s statement.
“That statement contains at least 12 wrong, false or misconceived statements and is marked by a very high degree of revisionism,” Dr Bell told the court.
Dr Bell said Ms Harrison’s statement was “code for I have flagrantly breached my contractual obligations.”
He continued on by arguing that Ms Harrison repeatedly breached confidentiality agreements that she was paid to uphold.
“We know nothing about Ms Harrison’s financial circumstances,” said Dr Bell.
“Other than she received in excess of $400,000 from Channel Seven in return for promises that she breached.”
Harrison wants both parties to ‘walk away’
However, Mr Harrison urged Justice Sackar to rule against Seven and to instruct both parties to “walk away” with Seven paying its own bills.
“The cost of this trial was unnecessary. I instructed my lawyers not to run it to save costs,” she argued.
“I invite Seven to reach a workable solution with me. Seven chose to run this trial and they should pay for it.”
Justice Sackar adjourned the case for judgement saying, “I don’t propose to make orders in a fragmented way.”
He told Seven and Ms Harrison that he would reveal his orders on a Friday or Monday.
Ms Harrison’s truncated statement is a result of objections from Seven yesterday, which shredded her planned three-page address to the final four paragraphs only.
Dr Bell successfully objected to Ms Harrison’s original statement, claiming that her planned comments contained inadmissible and potentially scandalous evidence.
Ms Harrison, who released her legal team late last week announcing she would walk away from the court battle with Seven, remains unrepresented.
Follow Peter Ryan on Twitter @peter_f_ryan.