by on August 8, 1995

Izzy Asper’s Can West Global Communications appear to have rebutted assertions that they are in breach of Australian Broadcasting regulations after they and the Ten Network won a major legal victory over Charles Curran and his Capital Television Holdings.

Mr Curran failed this week to pursue a case he mounted in the NSW Supreme Court against Mr Asper’s Can West, Ten Network and others and agreed to them pay costs of about $1 million.

Mr Curran had sued asserting the defendants had conspired to deprive him and Capital Television Holdings from buying Northern Rivers Television last year. (Capital Television Holdings has no connection with the Canberra Capital station.)

NRTV was ultimately sold for about $18.5 million to a consortium of Telecasters North Queensland, Jack Cowin and Kerry Stokes. (Mr Stokes is chairmain of The Canberra Times.)

A key part of the Curran-Capital case were assertions that Mr Asper and Can West had breached Australian broadcasting law by overstepping the 15 per cent foreign-control provisions. This has led to a inquiry by the Australian Broadcasting Authority, which is yet to hand down its findings.

Mr Asper and Can West have said that they have a 14 per cent voting interest and a further non-voting economic interest in Ten and that the holding does not breach broadcasting regulations.

Mr Asper said in a statement, “Mr Curran has maliciously and frivolously abused legal process to pursue his vendetta against Can West via these spurious and groundless claims. The protective sham of a baseless lawsuit has spread vicious lies about Can West which have been widely reported. Curran has engaged in a witchhunt against us on three continents, costing us and Network Ten millions of dollars in expense, as well as company disruption and damage to our long-earned reputation for integrity in all our dealings. We intend to collect every penny, plus damages, from him and his fellow director-accomplices.

“The current ABA investigation into the allegations of Can West control of Network Ten was launched as a result of mysteriously leaked material from Curran’s allegations in these proceedings. Now that Mr Curran has taken the cowardly way out by refusing to keep his court date with us, we will ask the ABA to expeditiously complete the investigation and issue its findings, so we can put to rest these vicious and baseless allegations arising from these contrived proceedings.”

The Canberra Times contacted Mr Curran for comment yesterday. At the suggestion of his office, Mr Asper’s statement was faxed to Mr Curran yesterday morning, but there had been no response by yesterday evening.

The Supreme Court’s costs order was $550,000 to Ten Network, $150,000 to Can West, $200,000 to Telecasters North Queensland and $100,000 to NRTV-Stokes-Cowin consortium.

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