THE lawyer who warned off the ABC by vowing to sue Aunty’s books division if it published the controversial Alan Jones biography Jonestown has finally made good on his threat. But high-profile Sydney solicitor Mark O’Brien is not bringing a defamation action on behalf of the aggrieved radio broadcaster. Instead, he is representing a former NSW detective with close links to Jones mentioned in the Chris Masters bestseller
O’Brien filed a writ in the NSW Supreme Court yesterday against Masters and publisher Allen & Unwin, telling Strewth the book made allegations “of a very grave nature against Tim Priest based upon significant errors of fact”. Expect more colour today when Priest’s statement of claim detailing exactly what he doesn’t like about Masters’ book â€“ where he features prominently in more than one chapter â€“ is filed in court. Allen & Unwin picked up the project earlier this year, leaving the ABC open to criticism that it wasted $100,000 of taxpayers’ money on the book. So far, the book has sold more than 24,000 copies, putting paid to the ABC’s claim at the time that publishing the book would “almost certainly result in a commercial loss”. O’Brien, meanwhile, brings his first high-profile case to new firm Johnson, Winter and Slattery, after spectacularly defecting from Gilbert & Tobin last month, taking all of his team with him.