Kerry Stokes and Seven have lost their monumental legal battle over allegations that Packer, Murdoch, Foxtel Telstra, Optus and AFL interests had conspired to wreck the C7 pay TV initiative. Justice Sackville has been scathing.
Two hundred million dollars to lawyers. 85,000 documents. 120 sitting days. Brutally antagonistic legal conniptions disrupting business.
And for what? Justice Sackville, his verbal judgement screened live on ABC Online, belted Kerry on every single point of contention.
He accused Seven of “more than a hint of hypocrisy”. As the ABC notes, he said
“It is difficult to understand how the cost incurred by the parties can be said to be proportionate to what is truly at stake, measured in financial terms,” he said.
“In my view the expenditure of $200 million and counting on a single piece of litigation is not only extraordinarily wasteful, but borders on the scandalous.”
Before passing judgement on costs, he has asked the parties to make brief submissions. He did what he could to warn Stokes against an appeal, saying
“Even now, it is not too late for the parties to bring these protracted and excessive proceedings to a conclusion by mutual agreement, and thus avoid the costs and uncertainties of the appellate process. In the light of my findings of fact and conclusions of law the parties should be able to assess realistically their prospects on appeal.
They should also take into account that the transactions that gave rise to this litigation are long past and have been overtaken not only by later events but by a changed commercial environment in the industries in which they operate”
In other words: this is history, get over it.