Federal Court Judge Darryl Rangiah this morning said a four-day civil trial on whether Brett Thomas, managing director of Kingston-based TFH Hire Services Pty Ltd (TFH), sexually harassed former marketing manager Ashleigh Martinovic would begin on either September 29 or October 12.
Federal Court Judge Darryl Rangiah this morning said a four-day civil trial on whether Brett Thomas, managing director of Kingston-based TFH Hire Services Pty Ltd (TFH), sexually harassed former marketing manager Ashleigh Martinovic would begin on either September 29 or October 12.

Footy sponsor facing ‘threesome’ sex sleaze claims

THE trial of a young woman who accused a millionaire Queensland businessman of propositioning her for a "threesome" with his wife and grabbing her bottom at his company's office is an "all or nothing" case, and is set to be heard later this year.

Federal Court Judge Darryl Rangiah this morning said a four-day civil trial on whether Brett Thomas, managing director of Kingston-based TFH Hire Services Pty Ltd (TFH), sexually harassed former marketing manager Ashleigh Martinovic would begin on either September 29 or October 12.

Mieke & Brett Thomas
Mieke & Brett Thomas

The trial will be limited to deciding whether Mr Thomas sexually harassed Ms Martinovic, the court heard at a directions hearing conducted via phone today.

Only if Mr Thomas is found liable would an assessment of damages be considered, and if he is cleared of the claims he won't have to pay a cent, the court heard.

"The way the matter is currently pleaded, it is very much an 'all or nothing' case," Shannon Moody, counsel for Mr Thomas and companies TFH and Black Listed Collections Pty Ltd, submitted to Justice Rangiah.

Ms Martinovic's claim is seeking $815,793 in damages claiming persistent sexual harassment continued over 15 months.

TFH was last year in the spotlight over a controversy over its six-figure NRL sponsorship and its decision to pull the pin on its long-term sponsorship of the Gold Coast Titans, citing Ryan James's "embarrassing" and "offensive" Welcome To Country gaffe during the Grand Final.

Mr Thomas later backflipped on his decision to kill the sponsorship deal.

Ms Moody told the court that she no longer wished to issue subpoenas forcing Ms Martinovic to hand over her full psychiatric history for the past decade.

Ms Moody said she instead wished to have the court's approval to issue subpoena's to doctors Ms Martinovic saw while working for TFH and Black Listed Collections in 2017 and 2018.

TFH and Black Listed Collections argue in their defence to the claims that they are not liable for Mr Thomas' conduct because Mr Thomas did not work for them when he is alleged to have harassed Ms Martinovic, claims Ms Martinovic denies.

Ashleigh Martinovic
Ashleigh Martinovic

They also argue that Mr Thomas was never Ms Martinovic's direct boss or manager, claims she denies.

Mr Thomas has denied propositioning Ms Martinovic for "threesomes" with his wife and another employee on more than one occasion.

The 52-year-old refutes claims he touched the 24-year-old on the buttocks in the office more than once, made lewd comments to her during work meetings and slept with a co-worker after a Titans game in Sydney just metres from Ms Martinovic.

Ms Martinovic claims the persistent sexual harassment has left her unable to work.

Ms Martinovic states she could hear Mr Thomas and a female staffer having sex on the bed beside her in a Sydney hotel room.

The case returns to court for a directions hearing on July 31.

Originally published as Titans sponsor facing 'threesome' sleaze claims



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