Lobbyist dragged back into Tcard case

Summary:Lawyers for ERG Group subsidiary ITSL intend to bring a new claim against lobbyist firm Hawker Britton as part of the company's counter-claim to the NSW government's lawsuit over its failed public transport smart-ticketing contract.

Lawyers for ERG Group subsidiary ITSL intend to bring a new claim against lobbyist firm Hawker Britton as part of the company's counter-claim to the NSW government's lawsuit over its failed public transport smart-ticketing contract.

transport

(Waiting for the bus image
by Ben Cumming, CC BY-SA 2.0)

The case began back in 2008 when the NSW Government canned the Tcard electronic ticketing system project in which the government had invested a number of years and over $100 million. The government sued ITSL to recuperate the costs and in response, the ticketing specialist counter-claimed for $200 million.

Hawker Britton was initially brought into the case by ITSL on 9 December 2009 because the lobbyist had been working with the ticketing company in its negotiations with the NSW government.

The NSW Supreme Court dismissed this cross-claim on 18 February.

Rather than appealing this dismissal, lawyers for ITSL informed Justice Einstein in a court hearing today that they intended to bring a stronger claim against Hawker Britton. ITSL barrister Wayne Muddle told the court that Hawker Britton had informed ITSL in 2008 that the company could "grovel" apologetically to the NSW government for not delivering on the contract and it would not be cancelled. ITSL did this, but the contract was still cancelled.

Muddle said the aim of the new claim was to establish whether Hawker Britton had misled ITSL or whether the NSW government had misled Hawker Britton.

The matter was not expected to be heard until tomorrow.

In court today, lawyers for the NSW government and RailCorp tendered a number of documents and affidavits requested by ITSL, but a number of the cabinet documents and transcripts were marked as confidential under the rule of "public interest immunity". ITSL is seeking to establish whether these documents can be made public as part of the case.

ZDNet Australia understands that no date for the actual trial has been set yet, but it is expected to be heard around March next year. Should Hawker Britton be brought back into the case, it is likely the trial will be pushed back to the middle of 2011.

The directional hearing continues tomorrow.

Topics: Government, Emerging Tech, Government : AU

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Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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