A senior manager at a council publicly shamed in parliament over a racist email which turned out to be a fake is suing her employer.
A senior manager at a council publicly shamed in parliament over a racist email which turned out to be a fake is suing her employer.

Council lawsuit over fake ‘racist’ email

A SENIOR manager at a Far North council publicly shamed in state parliament over a racist email which turned out to be a fake is suing her employer for more than $760,000.

The woman, who the Cairns Post chooses not to name, holds a senior position within the Cook Shire Council and her name was attached to an email circulated publicly in the Cooktown community in 2016.

According to documents filed in Cairns Supreme Court, the council did not take any steps to authenticate for more than five months and it took them almost a year to publicly affirm the letter as fabricated in an email circulated to staff in August 2017.

In that time former Cairns MP Rob Pyne tabled the fake email in state parliament as part of grounds for Cook Shire Council to be placed into administration, along with a second tabling of a document, which included the woman's name.

Rob Pyne at Qld Parliament. Pic Annette Dew
Rob Pyne at Qld Parliament. Pic Annette Dew

She has now launched legal action claiming she suffered significant psychological injuries due to council failing to act for months to vindicate her.

"(She) has lost the opportunity for career progression to the position of chief executive officer of Cook Shire or at other local government authorities in Queensland," documents said.

"The (council) failed to take reasonable steps to avoid the risk of psychiatric injury."

The documents alleged the email had been doctored from a genuine one the woman penned to a local Cooktown cruise company in 2013 which was requesting the waiving of outstanding rates and rent.

It alleged three years later former Cr Charles Martin told the woman a copy of the email was in the public domain and "contained racial slurs against members of the Gungarde Aboriginal Corporation".

The woman allegedly made attempts to confirm she was not the author, including a signed statutory declaration, emails to council chief executive and filed affidavits in court.

The council has yet to file any documents in court and a spokeswoman said the council would not be commenting.

A court date is yet to be set.

Originally published as Council facing lawsuit over fake 'racist' email tabled in parliament


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