WA Labor’s John Carey sues former City of Vincent contractor for defamation

Perth MLA John Carey is heading the Perth City Summit.
Perth MLA John Carey is heading the Perth City Summit.

LABOR’S Perth candidate John Carey has started legal proceedings for alleged defamation against a former City of Vincent contractor.

There were reported allegations at the weekend that Lincoln Stewart contacted the Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC) last month and lodged a complaint with the Fair Work Commission (FWC) against the City after it banned him from the Beatty Park Leisure Centre, where he operated his sport massage business.

Mr Stewart told the Guardian Express he could not comment on the matter regarding the CCC or FWC and he had not received notice from Mr Carey or his lawyers in regards to a defamation case.

The news comes just days after Mr Carey stepped down as Vincent mayor to focus on his campaign ahead of the March 11 State Election.

Premier Colin Barnett yesterday distanced his party from the saga.

“I do not know the details of the situation surrounding John Carey,” he said. “There have been rumours, I understand, for some time but the Liberal Party is not in any way involved. This has nothing to do with the Liberal campaign to hold the seat of Perth.”

Perth MLA Eleni Evangel said she had not engaged in any conversation over the issue.

“I absolutely give you an assurance that when these conversations have come up with me, I have disengaged and not participated in any hearsay or conversations,” she said.

“There are conversations going on in the community and when I am approached regarding this issue, my immediate response is ‘I don’t want to be involved in this, it’s not an issue for me’.”

She said she did not know Mr Stewart.

Vincent chief executive Len Kosova said it was an operational decision to cease the contract with Lincoln Stewart Fitness in October 2016.

“The decision was made following a review of the Beatty Park Group Fitness Program, and due to the diminishing reliability in the contracted services being offered by Lincoln Stewart Fitness, the resultant declining popularity of the class, and identification of other opportunities for use of the group fitness room,” he said.

“The decision in no way involved any councillor, including former Mayor John Carey.”

Mr Kosova said Mr Stewart had made several claims and allegations regarding Vincent personnel and management of Beatty Park Leisure Centre.

“The City through its legal representatives subsequently advised Mr Stewart to cease making false statements,” he said.

Mr Kosova said alleged aggressive behaviour by Mr Stewart led to the City banning him from the Beatty Park Leisure Centre.

The FWC and CCC could not comment on Mr Stewart’s complaint.