Judge banned from tobacco case

The High Court has banned a New South Wales judge from presiding over future hearings involving British American Tobacco, on grounds of bias.

When Justice Jim Curtis presided over a case involving British American Tobacco (BAT) and Brambles in 2006, he found the tobacco giant had secretly destroyed documents that linked its products to lung cancer.

After that finding, British American Tobacco wanted Judge Curtis to disqualify himself from hearing a separate case between it and Claudie Laurie, who says her husband died after smoking BAT cigarettes for 25 years.

Justice Curtis refused, saying he would not be biased by the previous case, and the NSW Court of Appeal agreed with him.

British American Tobacco appealed against that decision to the High Court and today the court allowed the appeal.

It found Justice Curtis should be prohibited from hearing any further proceedings in the Laurie case.

source: www.abc.net.au

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