Burnett councillor in court to defend civil complaint
A South Burnett Councillor has faced Kingaroy Magistrates Court to defend an application for a Peace and Good Behaviour order.
Division Six Councillor Scott Henschen appeared in the Kingaroy courthouse house today (March 5) to respond to an application made by Judith Ann Schulz, his former campaign manager.
Cr Henschen was represented in court by K & F Solicitors' Andrew Kelly, who requested an adjournment to file applications including to strike out the matter.
"It's our intention to make some preliminary applications your honour … At this stage, we are contemplating making an application to strike out the proceedings. Also, to make an application for security for costs," Mr Kelly said.
Laura and Jack Newbery were also respondents to the application, and were likewise represented by Mr Kelly.
Documents submitted to court in the matter were obtained by the South Burnett Times, and reveal Ms Schulz alleged the following as the facts of the complaint, that Scott Henschen allegedly: Assaulted the complainant at Hotel Cecil in Wondai, destroyed intellectual property, procured another person to harm at "the windfarm" on November 8, 2020, cut down business signs from Cleggs Fencing or procured another person to do so.
Magistrate Andrew Sinclair questioned Mr Kelly as to when the applications would be made, noting parts of Ms Schulz application appeared to lack grounds for an order to be issued.
He also referenced a recent ruling by Judge Claire SC in the District court, which found there was an inherent jurisdiction in the Magistrate's Court to strike out "defective complaints".
"I must say just on the first blush, the complaints and summonses, in respect with the Newbery's at the very least, seem entirely devoid of any grounds for issuing them," Magistrate Sinclair said.
Mr Kelly said he held the same belief for the complaint against Cr Henschen.
Magistrate Sinclair said he was willing to hear arguments to strike out the complaint today.
"I can probably strike them out now. I'm perfectly prepared to it hear it now if the parties are ready," he said.
However Mr Kelly told the court he was not ready to make arguments, and also noted the parties might engage in counselling in the matter.
He also noted to the court that the Justice of the Peace who signed the applications, Jane Erkens, was also listed in some of the affidavit material as a witness.
Magistrate Sinclair also raised issue with a white folder which had been handed to the court in relation to the case.
"There is no capacity for any party to follow any material to the court whenever they feel like it. It should not have been handed to this court," Magistrate Sinclair said.
"I will order a brief of evidence if we get that far, I will keep the material on file, but it hasn't been read - it's not part of the complaint, it's not referred to in the complaint and whatever is in it won't affect the validity of the complaint.
"The complaint and summons will have to rise and fall on their face."
Ian Dempster, from Wonderly and Hall Solicitors, represented Ms Schulz at the hearing and told the court he "had no awareness of that".
Magistrate Sinclair said it was akin to "a police officer giving me a brief of evidence and asking me to read it".
The matter was adjourned to April 9 at noon, with Mr Kelly directed to file any applications within two weeks, and Mr Dempster to respond to them with in a week of the filing.