A whistleblower has been barred from continuing a malicious media campaign against his former employer, as he is prosecuted for leaking documents revealing alleged money laundering through NSW poker machines.
Troy Stoltz – a former ClubsNSW compliance auditor – last year denounced widespread and “alarming” non-compliance with money laundering laws in pubs and clubs across the state.
ClubsNSW is now suing him in Federal Court for breach of trust, arguing that Mr. Stoltz disclosed confidential information to advance his own business interests and obtain employment with competitors.
Lawyers for ClubsNSW claim that Mr Stoltz has since waged an “inflammatory media campaign” against the organization and deliberately distorted the legal process in hopes of pressuring it to drop its lawsuit.
“I never expected that I would be financially ruined and my reputation ruined by reporting a crime to my employer, ASIC and politicians,” Mr Stoltz said in a June Guardian Australia article, presented in court as proof of his crusade.
ClubsNSW argues that Mr Stoltz claimed the organization was an intimidating company that tried to gag a whistleblower, tried to bankrupt him for revenge and also tried to silence the media.
“We want to make it clear from the outset that the plaintiff is not seeking to suppress or silence the media coverage of this case,” lawyer Christopher Withers SC told the court.
“And neither does the plaintiff seek to prevent the first defendant from speaking publicly on matters related to gambling or money laundering.
“What worries the applicant (…)
The ClubsNSW was forced to adopt additional security measures, at a significant cost, in part because of threat messages it received as a result of Mr Stoltz’s media activities, his lawyers said.
They demanded that the court prevent Mr. Stoltz from describing or publicly commenting on ClubsNSW’s motives for the trial or his conduct during the proceedings.
Its publication or distribution of any correspondence received from lawyers acting for the ClubsNSW must also cease, they argued, as should statements “calculated to intimidate, harass or exert improper pressure”.
Mr Stoltz did not dispute the evidence of his media campaign, but argued that no injunction should be granted.
Although he is not convinced of the need for several requested general orders, Judge David Yates, in a judgment handed down Wednesday, agreed that an order was necessary to reduce the “mischief” of Mr Stoltz.
He also noted that Mr. Stoltz did not, at any time during the proceedings, actually make any legal claims regarding the protection of whistleblowers.
“Mr. Stolz sought to generate the public account, through the media, that the plaintiff made his allegations …
“The evidence suggests that the purpose of this conduct was not only to generate sympathy for Mr. Stolz’s cause, but also to instigate public condemnation of the applicant.
“The dispute over whether (…) the plaintiff has the right to take such action is a question which should be resolved by the court, and not overrun by pressure exerted (…) by the court of public opinion.”
He issued an order prohibiting Mr. Stoltz from making statements about the conduct of the ClubsNSW or its lawyers that are calculated to intimidate, harass or improper pressure on the organization.
Mr Stoltz is also suing ClubsNSW, bringing a libel action and a workers’ compensation claim alleging that he suffered psychological harm as a result of his employment.
Australian Associated Press