Former Australia High Court judge sexually harassed 6 female employees

This article is more than 12 months old

SYDNEY: A former High Court of Australia judge was found to have sexually harassed six female staff members, the court said yesterday, one of the country's most powerful figures to face such recriminations.

Former judge Dyson Heydon, who served on the country's most powerful court from 2003 to 2013, was found to have harassed six former staff members, known as judges' associates, the court said.

The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper quoted the law firm acting for Mr Heydon denying the allegations on his behalf.

The court's statement did not give details or the time of the incidents under scrutiny, but said it was told of "allegations of sexual harassment against a former justice" last year and immediately ordered an independent investigation.

"The findings are of extreme concern to me, my fellow justices, our chief executive and the staff of the court," Chief Judge Susan Kiefel said in the statement.

"We're ashamed this could have happened at the High Court of Australia."

In its statement denying the accusations quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald, law firm Speed & Stacey also said Mr Heydon apologised for any offence caused to the women.

"Any allegation of predatory behaviour or breaches of the law is categorically denied by our client," the newspaper quoted the law firm as saying.

"Our client says if any conduct of his has caused offence, that result was inadvertent and unintended, and he apologises for any offence caused," it added. "We have asked the High Court to convey that directly to the associate complainants."

The court also said it had apologised to the women. - REUTERS