Mr McCarthy said after Mr Bona was mentioned, “within a couple of days Mr Hadley sent a text message to Mr Bona … gaslighting the plaintiff” and denying calling him a “black c—“.
“What’s gaslighting?” Acting Judge James Curtis asked.
Mr McCarthy responded that it was: “Don’t listen to Mr Bowen, he’s crazy, he’s mad, he’s a man of no credit, someone who’s got a serious mental illness”.
The barrister said John Redman, the executive producer of Hadley’s program, later offered Mr Bona’s son a job at 2GB while “acting with the authority of Mr Hadley”.
Mr McCarthy said Mr Redman sent a message reading: “Ray said if Jacob [Mr Bona’s son] wants to come back as a panel operator it’s a done deal. He’ll find him a gig at the station somewhere.”
“These are extraordinary attempts, Your Honour, with respect, to interfere with the proper workings of this court,” Mr McCarthy said.
In an email on Friday evening, Mr Redman said Mr Bona was the one to initiate contact. He said the job offer came after Mr Bona asked if there was an opportunity to employ his son.
Mr McCarthy told the court the names of potential witnesses should not be given to Hadley’s legal team before the trial, because he is a “powerful media figure” who is in a position to exert influence over others.
“We’re not alleging Mr Hadley is going to go over to these witness’s houses and break their legs,” Mr McCarthy said.
Hadley’s barrister, Callan O’Neill, said Mr Bona’s name was “just not mentioned” during a previous hearing and “wasn’t in the transcript at all”. He said the argument Hadley sought to influence a witness was “held together by absolute inference” and was backed up by no concrete evidence.
“It’s an allegation that my client is going to engage in criminal conduct,” Mr O’Neill said. “It’s a pre-emptive allegation of criminal conduct. It’s that high.”
Mr O’Neill said if witness statements were denied to Hadley until the trial, it would amount to “trial by ambush”, which has “been abolished in this court and abolished in all courts”.
Acting Judge Curtis said there was a dispute about whether an inducement was offered, which would remain “up in the air” because he would not determine that issue.
“Mr Hadley is a man of influence in the industry. Whether he would seek to influence those persons who the plaintiff wishes to call, I think that’s a big call,” Acting Judge Curtis said. “That’s a crime. That’s a very heavy onus.”
Mr McCarthy said his client alleges Hadley “had bullied, harassed and intimidated him on no less than 1000 occasions in the period the two worked shoulder-to-shoulder” including by calling him a “spastic”, a “simpleton” and a “f—ing poof”. Each incident is denied by Hadley.
The parties were ordered to take part in a mediation ahead of the estimated six-week hearing.
The case has been set down for trial in May 2021.
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Georgina Mitchell is a court reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.