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Health chief spared grills in SA court | Blue Mountains Gazette

South Australia’s chief health officer has avoided being forced to give evidence in AFLW player Deni Varnhagen’s legal challenge to South Australia’s vaccine requirements.

Ms Varnhagen’s legal team has asked the Supreme Court to require Professor Nicola Spurrier to testify about the information she relied on in her role as adviser to the State Emergency Coordinator during the COVID pandemic -19.

Lawyers for Adelaide Crows midfielder told the court the request was not an effort to stand out or “turn the court into some kind of royal commission” and said any cross-examination would be conducted with ” the greatest courtesy”.

Government lawyers argued that a request compelling him to testify should not be allowed because it was against his will and would not add any additional expert evidence.

Judge Judy Hughes denied the request on Thursday.

“I have determined that there is no relevant evidence Professor Spurrier can give on the grounds that have been asserted,” she said.

Judge Hughes said the reasons for the decision would be provided at a later date.

It remains unclear whether South African Police Commissioner Grant Stevens will also be required to testify.

Ahead of the trial, Ms Varnhagen’s legal team issued Prof Spurrier a subpoena requiring him to appear in court on Thursday morning.

A group carrying signs with anti-vaccine messages gathered at the entrance to the Adelaide District Court building, where they shouted ‘shame’ and called for Prof Spurrier to be prosecuted as she entered in the building.

Professor Spurrier then left the building in police custody for a nearby car as an angry crowd of people again expressed their frustration.

The court case challenges the state’s vaccine requirements for healthcare workers.

Ms Varnhagen, who is also a nurse, had to work as a laborer after losing her regular job for refusing a COVID-19 vaccination, the court heard.

The decision to impose the vaccination mandate on state health workers and other public sector employers was made under the SA Emergency Management Act.

Ms Varnhagan says she has not had a nursing shift since November 2021 after refusing vaccination despite receiving text messages asking all eligible nursing staff to help fill the shortages.

The Crows also moved Ms Varnhagen to the inactive list after she refused to be vaccinated.

Ms Varnhagen was joined in the case by several other people.

Australian Associated Press