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Judge dismisses Shorten 'conspiracy' case

AAP logoAAP 9/12/2016

A NSW Supreme Court judge has dismissed a claim Bill Shorten, as an Australian Workers Union official, conspired illegally to prevent a company takeover.

The federal Opposition leader was the first of five defendants including former Labor MP Kelvin Thomson and ASIC sued by Alan Jorgensen who alleged his business was damaged by a "conspiracy to commit a crime" over a friendly $15.8 million takeover of die-casting company Castalloy Ltd in 1999.

Justice James Stevenson on Friday dismissed the proceedings, saying they were brought out of time and that Mr Jorgensen's claims against Mr Shorten and Mr Thomson were "embarrassing and scandalous and must be struck out".

In his decision, Justice Stevenson said Mr Jorgensen had sought a declaration that Mr Shorten instigated the conspiracy, inciting Mr Thomson to "maliciously defame" him by referring to him in the federal parliament, "as another Christopher Skase in the making".

Mr Jorgensen also claimed Mr Shorten incited a reporter on The Age newspaper to write an article about him and "circulated the contrived, false Age story" to Mr Jorgensen's bankers who appointed receivers and thus destroyed the Castalloy takeover.

Mr Jorgensen alleged that Mr Shorten, when an officer of the AWU, was involved in "many fights" with him and they "became bitter enemies".

But Justice Stevenson calls Mr Jorgensen's allegations to back this up "gratuitous and pointless".

He claimed that Mr Shorten and Mr Thomson "hatched a plan to bring Jorgensen and his companies down" , but Justice Stevenson said Mr Jorgensen had not set out the facts relied on to make that serious allegation.

"The statement of claim does not disclose a recognisable cause of action against any of the defendants," the judge said.

He awarded costs against Mr Jorgensen.

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