Big Rob ordered to pay mayor's legal bill
LISMORE identity Big Rob has today been ordered to pay a $6000 legal bill incurred by Lismore mayor Isaac Smith during Rob's failed appeal over an interim apprehended violence order.
The interim AVO was originally granted to Cr Smith in Lismore Local Court in March.
It ordered Rob not to go within 200m of any place where Cr Smith and his family lived or worked.
He was also forbidden from publishing any material naming or referencing the family or their home or motor vehicle and instructed to remove all reference to the Smiths on social media within 12 hours.
He appealed the matter to the District Court, but on May 18 Judge Laura Wells delivered a judgement on the appeal which upheld the interim AVO, finding against Rob.
This left the way open for Cr Smith's legal team to seek costs against Rob, an application which was made on the same day.
Judge Wells had adjourned proceedings to June 8 to allow Rob to have an opportunity to respond in writing why a cost order should not be made against him.
Today she initially reprimanded Rob for failing to appear in court on June 8.
"This court has never received an apology or indication as to why you weren't here," Judge Wells said.
But Rob insisted he had been excused from appearing on June 8, following an email he sent which was eventually located after a short break.
In it, Rob cited university exams, the March flood, and medical issues that prevented him from attending.
He added the following: "Until a decision maker actually looks at the video linked to this matter, it is abundantly clear that I am considered guilty until proven innocent. It is also clear this miscarriage of justice will not change any time soon."
In finding costs against him, Judge Wells said there was "no doubt" the respondent Cr Smith had incurred costs during the appeal process and there was nothing which disqualified him from receiving them.
She said there was "no unnecessary behaviour in the way the respondent and his counsel handled the appeal."
"An order for costs will be and is made."
Rob said he considered the costs "excessive" after being handed an itemised account.
The included the services of a barrister working 17.5 hours for $200 an hour, totalling $3850 including GST, as well as $2156 in solicitors' costs.
The bill totalled $6006.
"How long will you need to pay?" Judge Wells asked.
"As long as possible," Rob replied.
Rob will be back in Lismore Local Court on October 27 to face a Local Court hearing over allegedly breaching the interim AVO.
A hearing over the actual AVO cannot proceed until the criminal matters are finalised.