Sexologist suing former member, mayor told to 'get advice'

Patricia Petersen says she hopes all sides can resolve the dispute without it going to trial.
Patricia Petersen says she hopes all sides can resolve the dispute without it going to trial. Contributed

IN A multimillion dollar lawsuit, the former political candidate and sexologist who is suing Ipswich's mayor and city council has hit a legal snag.

But Dr Patricia Petersen says she's still confident her damages claim for defamation and "malicious intent" can be settled.

She is suing current Ipswich Mayor Andrew Antoniolli, the city council, and former state member Rachel Nolan.

In January, Dr Petersen said her electoral signs were wrongfully seized and damaged during the 2012 state election campaign.

At the time, she said she lodged a claim - said to be $2.759 million - because her "life, livelihood and reputation have been severely damaged".

She alleged Ms Nolan and Mr Antoniolli - formerly a councillor - misused public office to cause harm to her.

When the lawsuit was announced, an Ipswich City Council spokesman said the claim was referred to the council's insurers.

In Brisbane Supreme Court on Monday, Justice Martin Burns said Ms Nolan and Mr Antoniolli had filed defences.

The procedural application was dismissed and she was ordered to pay costs but the matter overall will continue and has been put on a list for self-represented people.

Justice Burns said Dr Petersen claimed damages for things including assault, misfeasance, defamation and apparently "claimed punitive damages".

"The whole idea is to settle matters before going to trial," Dr Petersen told the court, and it would be "extremely stressful" for everybody if the case dragged on.

Justice Burns said these were reasonable points but added: "You really need to get some advice about the content of your claim."

Dr Petersen told the court she could not afford a lawyer.

"I still aim to negotiate with the other parties out of respect for the court, the other parties, and myself, to settle this dispute as quickly as possible," Dr Petersen said outside court.

"I'm disappointed it hasn't been settled to date. However, I'm still hopeful that the other parties will come to the table and negotiate a fair and reasonable settlement."

Meanwhile, Dr Petersen filed fresh claims in the court.

A new court damages claim file, dated March 9, listed Mayor Antoniolli and Ipswich City Council as defendants.

Dr Petersen founded the Australian Independents party. In 2013, she was a Noosa mayoral candidate. -NewsRegional

Topics:  brisbane court damages claim defamation claim election ipswich city council ipswich mayor justice martin burns lawsuit patricia petersen state politics

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