A decision from a Supreme Court judicial registrar in a civil case involving a victim of paedophile priest Gerard Ridsdale has revealed a push against costs for extensive subpoenas.
The plaintiff, whom The Standard has declined to name, alleges they was sexually abused by Ridsdale when they were a teenager.
Ridsdale is currently in prison after being convicted for these crimes, as well as dozens of other child sexual offences.
The plaintiff is suing the Ballarat Catholic Diocese, as well as Catholic Church Insurance Limited and the Office of Professional Standards, also known as Towards Healing, alleging that since Ridsdale was an employee, the Diocese was negligent and liable for Ridsdale's actions.
The plaintiff served subpoenas to CCI and Towards Healing for documents relating to Ridsdale's offences, to which the organisations objected on cost grounds - CCI sought $28,253 and Towards Healing $37,000, and stated the search for documents may be unreasonable.
However, Judicial Registrar Julie Clayton wrote in the decision that Towards Healing was seeking costs in objecting to the subpoena that "significantly exceed" the costs it sought to respond to the subpoena.
"It seems perverse that an organisation which is prepared to comply with a subpoena, provided its costs are met, will spend more than six times that amount in objecting to the subpoena," the decision reads.
"I am ... satisfied that the objections would have been partially successful but the plaintiff would have been entitled to production and inspection of some documents pursuant to the subpoenas.
"Given my finding that the plaintiff would have been successful in compelling production of documents on the subpoena, I find that the costs of CCI and Toward Healing in complying with and objecting to the subpoena are costs in the proceeding."
The case continues.
Affected by this story? There is help available.
You can phone the Ballarat Centre Against Sexual Assault, in Sebastopol, on 5320 3933, or free-call the crisis care line 24 hours on 1800 806 292.
Or phone Lifeline on 13 11 14, the Blue Knot Foundation on 1300 657 380, or Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277.
- Beyond Blue 1300 224 636 or beyondblue.org.au
- Suicide Callback Service: 1300 659 467
- Mensline: 1300 789 978 or mensline.org.au
- Survivors of Suicide: 0449 913 535
- headspace Ballarat (for 12-25s and parent support): 5304 4777
- Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
- Soldier On: 1300 620 380
- Ballarat Community Health: 5338 4500
- QLife: 1800 184 527 (Support for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people)
- Family violence: 1800 RESPECT
- Veterans support: Open Arms on 1800 011 046 or openarms.gov.au
- Ballarat Mental Health Services: 5320 4100 or after hours on 1300 247 647
- For Aboriginal crisis support: Yarning SafeNStrong, 1800 959 563 (noon to 10pm)