The woman who was embroiled in a texting saga with former Australian Test cricket captain Tim Paine has had her bid for sexual harassment compensation thrown out of court.
Renee Ferguson, 47, sought an extension of time in the federal court to launch a sexual harassment claim against Cricket Tasmania, after she took almost three years to file her case.
She wanted Cricket Tasmania to pay her $1m in compensation and apologise over allegations she was sexually harassed by Paine and Cricket Tasmania staff when she worked as a receptionist between 2015 and 2017.
Cricket Tasmania and the staff members deny any wrongdoing and have rejected all of Ferguson’s allegations.
Justice Mordy Bromberg dismissed her application on Thursday, finding she did not provide adequate explanation for the delay and it would probably cause prejudice to Cricket Tasmania.
“I am not satisfied that it is in the interests of the administration of justice to permit Ms Ferguson to make her very late application,” Bromberg said in written reasons.
Ferguson was meant to lodge her claim 60 days after her complaint to the Human Rights Commission was terminated in November 2018. Instead, she applied to the court in November 2021.
She argued her capacity to work and mental health conditions prevented her from lodging the application, but Bromberg said her evidence was “far too general”.
The explanation she was left with was her fear of re-traumatisation, something the judge said he didn’t want to diminish, but he ultimately found her evidence on the matter “fell short”.
“Ms Ferguson has provided no medical evidence supporting the likelihood that she would have been re-traumatised by bringing her application either at all or in a timely fashion,” Bromberg said.
He said his decision did not vindicate Ferguson nor Cricket Tasmania, as the allegations never went to a trial.
Because the interests of justice did not favour Bromberg granting Ferguson an extension, her application would accordingly be dismissed, he said.
The judge reserved costs in the matter.
On Wednesday, a Hobart magistrate listed a court hearing for Ferguson in February next year, when she will contest accusations she stole thousands of dollars and memberships from Cricket Tasmania when she worked as a receptionist.
The matter has been plagued by delays, with Ferguson previously pleading not guilty to 63 counts of stealing and two counts of dishonestly acquiring a financial advantage.
Paine stepped down as Test captain and took a break from the sport in November 2021 in the lead-up to the Ashes series against England after explicit messages he sent to Ferguson years earlier became public.
He said the messages were consensual.