Journalists ordered to hand over emails
Helen Liu ... claims documents relied on by Fairfax journalists were fabricated. Photo: Peter Rae
LAWYERS for the businesswoman Helen Liu have won the right to see some redacted versions of emails sent between journalists at The Age and their confidential sources in her quest to prove documents detailing her alleged corrupt payments were forged.
The redaction will protect the identity of the journalists' sources.
Ms Liu, a Labor Party donor and benefactor of the former defence minister Joel Fitzgibbon, says documents relied on by the journalists, including a list of ''money paid'' for unstated purposes to 22 people, were fabricated.
The Chinese-Australian property developer is seeking orders in the NSW Supreme Court that would in effect compel three journalists - Richard Baker, Nick McKenzie and Philip Dorling - to reveal their source or sources of information for stories detailing her relationship with Mr Fitzgibbon.
Yesterday the Supreme Court Judge Lucy McCallum ordered Baker to hand over to Ms Liu emails exchanged between himself and his sources as he researched and wrote two articles that appeared in Fairfax Media newspapers, including The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, in February last year.
While he accepted that the identities of the sources would at this stage be redacted, Bruce McClintock, SC, for Ms Liu, said the emails may indicate that ''The Age was duped by a hoax''.
''There might be a question [from Baker to the source] of how did you get these documents? Maybe he never did ask. That itself is relevant.''
But Tom Blackburn, SC, for The Age, accused Mr McClintock of going on a ''gigantic fishing expedition''.
''He says he wants those documents because they will shed light on the issue of whether The Age was the subject of a dupe … that is a triumph of optimism over reality,'' he said.
''It's the documents that speak for themselves.''
This week Baker told the court he believed the 135 pages of Ms Liu's private papers sent to him as attachments in seven emails were authentic.
Mr McClintock said a handwriting expert would be called to give evidence today that letters written in Chinese and purported to have been sent to senior bank executives were not Ms Liu's handwriting.