The woman at the centre of Tim Paine’s cricket sexting scandal has had her sexual harassment case against her former employer thrown out of court.
Renee Ferguson, 47, sought an extension of time in the Federal Court to launch her harassment claim against Cricket Tasmania, after she filed her case two years and 10 months after the deadline.
Ms Ferguson was pushing for the cricketing body to apologise and pay her $1million in compensation in an action she launched in November, 2021.
She claims she suffered inappropriate sexual conduct and discrimination while working as a receptionist there between 2015 and 2017.
Ms Ferguson had 60 days to lodge her claim in the Federal Court following the conclusion of her complaint to the Human Rights Commission in November, 2018.
Instead, Ms Ferguson submitted her paperwork three years later, claiming her inability to work and mental health conditions had stopped her from submitting her application in time.
She said she was ‘trying to avoid revisiting the traumatic experiences’ with Cricket Tasmania, but did not submit medical evidence of her conditions nor trauma.
Cricket Tasmania and Tim Paine strongly deny the claims.
Renee Ferguson, 47, (above), who received Tim Paine’s infamous sexts which he claims were consensually exchanged. Her sexual harassment claim against Cricket Tasmania was thrown from court due to her late filing
Cricket Tasmania say it was only made aware of the allegations 16 days after Ms Ferguson was charged by Tasmanian police in May 2018 with 63 counts of stealing $16,466 from the sporting organisation.
Ms Ferguson has previously pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Justice Mordy Bromberg dismissed the extension application on Thursday, saying the delay would likely cause prejudice to Cricket Tasmania.
‘I am not satisfied that it is in the interests of the administration of justice to permit Ms Ferguson to make her very late application,’ he wrote in written reasons.
Ms Ferguson (above, outside Hobart Magistrates Court) had 60 days to lodge her claim in the Federal Court after her complaint to the Human Rights Commission ended in November of 2018 but it took her three years to file the application
Tim Paine (above) was captain of Australia’s test cricket team from March 2018 to November 2021 – ending after his resignation was effectively forced by Cricket Australia in the wake of the sexting scandal
‘Ms Ferguson has provided no medical evidence supporting the likelihood that she would have been re-traumatised by bringing her application either at all or in a timely fashion,’ he said.
The dismissal means Ms Ferguson won’t be able to pursue her case against the sporting body and that Tim Paine himself will not have to give evidence at a trial.
However, the Justice noted his ruling did not vindicate the claims of either Cricket Tasmania nor Ms Ferguson, as the allegations were not tested at trial.
Justice Mordy Bromberg dismissed the compensation case from Federal Court but advised the ruling didn’t vindicate either party’s allegations as they were not tested at trial
Tim Paine (above attending the Allan Border Medal with his wife Bonnie) has strongly maintained the sexts to Ms Ferguson were consensual. Ms Ferguson claimed she was harassed by multiple staff at Cricket Tasmania
Tim Paine (pictured with wife Bonnie) has released a book on the treatment he received from Cricket Australia in the wake of a sexting scandal
Because the interests of justice did not favour Justice Bromberg granting Ferguson an extension, her application would accordingly be dismissed, he said.
The judge reserved costs in the matter.
Paine has admitted he had sent private and lewd messages, including a photograph of his penis to Ms Ferguson, but the star wicketkeeping batsman has maintained the messages were consensually exchanged.
Paine stepped down from his role as captain of the Australian men’s test team in November, 2021 after the explicit messages became public.
The allegations rocked the cricketing world in the lead-up to the summer’s test series against England for the coveted Ashes trophy.
Paine was one of four Cricket Tasmania staff whom Ms Ferguson made harassment claims against.
On Wednesday, a Hobart magistrate listed a court hearing for Ferguson in February next year, when she will contest accusations she stole thousands of dollars and memberships from Cricket Tasmania when she worked as a receptionist.
The matter has been plagued by delays, with Ferguson previously pleading not guilty to 63 counts of stealing and two counts of dishonestly acquiring a financial advantage.