Defamation case hits Supreme Court

KALAMUNDA Shire President Sue Bilich and her deputy John Giardina are embroiled in a defamation matter on the eve of local government elections.

Cr Giardina has brought a defamation action against the Shire President and her husband over allegations made about him in an unsigned leaflet that was hand-delivered in May to homes in his South East council ward.

As the nomination period for council candidates opened yesterday, the Shire�s two top elected figures were involved in a brief Supreme Court of WA directions hearing in front of Justice Kenneth Martin, where a mediation plan timeframe was set in place.

Cr Bilich, who represented herself in court, asked that the deadline for the next step in the process be delayed until after the election period.

�As of today, this is the first day of local government elections and up until election day on October 17 my workload increases significantly,� she said.

However, Cr Giardina�s lawyer said the timeline first offered by Justice Martin, which gave both parties until the end of September to produce and exchange any related documents, was adequate and need not be further delayed.

Despite both parties agreeing there were only a few documents involved, Justice Martin accepted Cr Bilich�s request and granted her an extension until October 23, one week after election day.

A date for mediation was not set but Justice Martin expected it would occur in November or December.

Cr Giardina is one of three councillors for the South East ward, a large area that includes Kalamunda and Lesmurdie.

The 28-year council veteran intends to nominate for re-election this year.

Cr Bilich is not an election candidate, as her term expires in 2017.

Several Kalamunda residents also contacted the Hills Gazette on Tuesday to raise concerns over a second leaflet currently in circulation.

Cr Giardina told the Hills Gazette he was aware of the �second edition� leaflet posted in bulk batches to homes in his ward from last week onwards.