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Restraining order on feminist lawyer

February 20 2003

A Tasmanian public servant was yesterday granted an interim restraining order against prominent feminist lawyer and state Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Jocelynne Scutt.

The order was sought by Mark Bastick, of Hobart, who formerly worked with Dr Scutt as a conciliation and investigation officer and has since moved to another office in the same building.

Mr Bastick told the Hobart Magistrates Court yesterday that he was concerned about an altercation occurring with the commissioner.

He also expressed concerns about work he performed for the commission being "interfered with".

Counsel for Dr Scutt, Kate Brown, opposed the contentions outlined by Mr Bastick, saying the basis on which he applied for the order had been removed as he no longer worked in the same office. She said any perceived threat had been removed.

But Mr Bastick said he was concerned he could still come into contact with Dr Scutt in common areas of the building and "an altercation could ensue". "I also seek that the respondent not approach me directly or indirectly in any public area," he said.

In granting the order, magistrate Ian Matterson reminded the court that the people involved were not criminals but were attempting to regulate their lives in relation to each other.

He said Tasmania was meant to be called paradise, but seemed to have more restraining orders in place than anywhere else in the civilised world.

The interim order will run until the completion of proceedings on the matter, with a hearing date set for May 12.

Under the order, Dr Scutt must:

- Keep the peace towards the applicant.

- Not directly or indirectly threaten, harass, abuse or assault the applicant.

- Not approach the applicant directly or indirectly, including by phone, email, facsimile or letter except for specific purposes detailed in the order.