No Court for You! Facebook Litigant May Be Banned from Suing

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The NSW Attorney-General has applied to have a Sydney man declared a ‘vexatious litigant’ after he launched numerous and repeated court actions against his neighbours, leaving them with tens of thousands of dollars in legal bills.

Nader Mohareb is best known for legal action against his Scotland Island neighbour Matthew Palmer, who he sued for defamation over a post on the Island community’s Facebook page. That action was based upon a number of statements Palmer allegedly published, including that Mr Nader ‘may or may not be related to Satan’.

The legal battle has cost Mr Palmer dearly – enormous stress, a great deal of time and almost $80,000 in legal fees.

After the original defamation case was settled, Mr Mohareb then filed a Notice of Motion seeking permission to sue Mr Palmer for perjury, claiming he lied in an affidavit.

That particular application relied upon section 338 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), which reads as follows:

(1) A person is not to be prosecuted for perjury except:

(a) By the Director of Public Prosecutions, or

(b) At the direction of the Attorney General, or

(c) By any other person with leave of the judicial officer who constituted the judicial tribunal before which the perjury is alleged to have been committed.

(2) If it is impossible or impracticable to apply for leave to prosecute in accordance with subsection (1)

(c) The prosecution may be instituted with leave of the Supreme Court.

(3) A person is not to be prosecuted for perjury (except by the Director of Public Prosecutions or at the direction of the Attorney General) unless notice of the proposed prosecution has been given to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The District Court refused Mr Mohareb’s application twice, a decision upheld by the Court of Appeal.

‘Vexatious litigant’

NSW Attorney General Gabrielle Upton says that Mr Mohareb is a vexatious litigant, and is asking the NSW Supreme Court to ‘stay’ (suspend) all or part of any legal proceedings brought by him, and prohibit him from starting any new cases without the court’s permission. The application will be heard on June 7.

“Making an application to restrict a person’s access to the courts is a serious matter that I do not take lightly,” Ms Upton told media.

“I won’t allow our valuable court resources to be wasted, or innocent people to be unfairly pursued at financial and emotional cost.”

Mr Mohareb, who rpresents himself in court, has also filed a claim in the District Court against the Island’s water taxi driver Alexander Kelso for defamation and trespass, accusing Kelso of “waterway rage”; namely, using his Pink Water Taxi to destabilise his own vessel in an attempt to cause Mohareb to fall overboard.

Mohareb has also accused Mr Kelso of a series of incidents that began in early 2013, including repeatedly untying Mohareb’s boat from its mooring, leaving it stranded on rocks at low tide causing damage; puncturing his dinghy; slashing his car tyres; stealing his car number plates and threatening Nader when he failed to put his dogs on a leash.

Mohareb is also suing Kelso for defamation. He has already made numerous complaints to local police pointing the finger at Kelso, but police have decided not to pursue the allegations.

Mr Mohareb is further attempting to sue Church Point ferry driver, Taylor Booth, for trespass. In his claim against Booth, Mohareb alleges the ferry driver “used physical force” to stop him boarding the ferry in October last year, and falsely accused him of being banned from the ferry.

Mohareb’s case against Kelso is due before the court for a short administrative ‘mention’ in the next few days. Proceedings against both Booth and Palmer are scheduled later in June, unless the Attorney-General’s application results in a stay of those proceedings.

Mr Mohareb has vowed to fight the Attorney General’s application, saying he has every right to have his grievances determined by the court system.

Thirty-seven people in NSW have been declared vexatious litigants thus far. An order can be made against those who frequently instigate or conduct proceedings that are an abuse of the legal process, or are conducted in a way so as to harass or annoy, or are without reasonable grounds.

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About Ugur Nedim

Ugur Nedim is an Accredited Specialist Criminal Lawyer and Principal at Sydney Criminal Lawyers®, Sydney’s Leading Firm of Criminal & Traffic Defence Lawyers.

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