Federal Politics

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Slipper had Ashby suicidal, court told

THE former adviser to Peter Slipper is suffering from ''chronic and pervasive mental health symptoms'' and has considered driving head-first into a truck, with the actions of his former boss the primary cause, a psychiatrist says.

Mr Slipper's behaviour towards James Ashby was ''highly personalised, provocative, sexualised and occasionally of a threatening type'', a consultant psychiatrist, Jonathan Phillips, said in a psychological report released to the public yesterday along with a tranche of other documents.

Dr Phillips found that Mr Ashby was suffering from an ''adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood''.

''The main cause for Mr Ashby's psychological decompensation in late 2011 early 2012 was the psych trauma which he experienced in his personal relationship with Mr Slipper,'' he said.

''I believe it can reasonably be stated that … Mr Ashby's clinical decompensation has been caused by the actions/activities/comment of Mr Slipper in a situation where there was a great power imbalance between the two persons.''

The report also notes that, during the course of two consultations with Dr Phillips in June this year, Mr Ashby reported feeling ''withdrawn and fearful'' and experiencing ''a strong wish to drive his car in front of an ongoing truck''.


Mr Ashby reportedly said the reason he had not done so was ''because it would involve trauma for the truck driver''.

The 33-year-old reported he was drinking up to six standard drinks a night in the form of pre-mixed bourbon drinks and was suffering from a host of physical symptoms which he attributed to his plight, including ''blood in his urine, almost constant nausea and recurrent diarrhoea''.

''He now lives with a sense of fear, particularly that he never be alone because of the risks that might occur in that situation,'' Dr Phillips said.

''Perhaps Mr Slipper's actions on their own do not amount to much but when the Speaker's behaviour and text messages are taken together, they appear not to have been of a proper professional type … but highly personalised, provocative, sexualised and occasionally of a threatening type.''

Mr Ashby is also said to be angry about what he describes as his ''exposure'' in The Australian, describing himself as having been ''outed'', with inference that he was a ''filthy homosexual''.

Dr Phillips provided what he described as a ''caveat'' to his report: ''The applicant on several occasions joined in a text conversation with the Speaker which was somewhat provocative and sexualised … I believe that it has to be said that at least at certain times the applicant added to the frisson of the interchange.''

He also noted his findings were based entirely on the version of events and the symptoms reported to him by Mr Ashby and that he had no corroborating evidence.

Text messages between the two men also came to light in the documents filed in court, including one message in which Mr Ashby reprimanded Mr Slipper for asking about his sex life.

The texts, sent last November before Mr Ashby started working with Mr Slipper, included one from Mr Slipper asking if Mr Ashby had consummated his relationship with a man he was romantically involved with.

Mr Ashby wrote back ''inappropriate'', before going on to say, ''I'm not revealing anything of my real personal PERSONAL life Pete, there's things in my life I don't share and that's one of them''.

* Support is available for anyone who may be distressed by calling Lifeline 131 114, Mensline 1300 789 978, Kids Helpline 1800 551 800.