Sydney barrister was presented as ‘crazy dog thief’ by A Current Affair, court told

Chrysanthou said A Current Affair had been described as “gutter journalism” in another court proceeding, but it would be “kind” to describe the current publications as journalism, gutter or otherwise.

“There is nothing in these publications that resembles the work of journalists,” Chrysanthou said. “It was a six-month campaign of what can only be described as harassment of my client.”

Mark Gillespie grabs Oscar the cavoodle at a Sydney park, in a screengrab from A Current Affair.Credit:Nine

Nine denies that Edwards was defamed in the broadcasts. If the court disagrees, the broadcaster has argued the defences of truth and contextual truth.

Chrysanthou said Gillespie went overseas for 18 months to work on cruise ships, leaving Oscar with a relative, and while he was gone the relative refused to allow Edwards to see the dog.

Edwards received advice from a barrister that she had a right to Oscar because she had cared for him, including paying for his upkeep, so she used deception to retrieve him from the “intermeddlers” in December 2019, Chrysanthou said.

She said her client was subsequently characterised as an employee who turned up and snatched the dog, which is “disgraceful”.

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Chrysanthou said Gillespie had “stalked” Edwards’ husband by sitting outside his workplace for hours and following him home on the train in May 2021, which he described in a text message as a “stakeout” for “Operation Cavoodle Capers”.

Barrister Mark Maconachie told the court he worked from the same chambers as Edwards, who was a reader – a barrister receiving training – at the time of the broadcast. The court heard Edwards had previously been a lawyer in the United States.

Maconachie said A Current Affair turned up to the chambers and asked for Edwards while filming, leading to her profile being removed from the website. The briefs Edwards subsequently received were “very, very reduced” and it took her a long time to return to work, he said.

He said Edwards told him: “It’s ruining my life, it’s ruining my practice, it makes me look like a crazy dog thief … none of it is true.”

Maconachie said Edwards told him she wasn’t coping, hadn’t been able to hold down food and couldn’t sleep, and at one stage said she was contemplating suicide.

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Another barrister, Thos Hodgson, told the court he gave Edwards advice in late 2019 that she was entitled to the dog and if Oscar came into her possession, “possession is nine-10ths of the law”.

He said the other co-owner seemed to have “abandoned” Oscar, and the “pampered indoor dog” was apparently being kept outside by Gillespie’s relative.

Previous court proceedings regarding the ownership of Oscar were settled in November 2021 with Edwards declared to be the owner.

The hearing continues.

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