Landmark court case prompts defamation advice for doctors

MEDICO-legal experts have moved to reassure doctors that they will be legally protected from defamation if they offer evidence about colleagues under mandatory reporting laws.

The advice comes as the profession awaits the outcome of a landmark court case in which a psychiatrist, Dr Julian Parmegiani, is being sued for defamation by Dr Yolande Lucire.

Dr Parmegiani wrote to the NSW Medical Board in August 2008 accusing Dr Lucire, also a psychiatrist, of lying when giving expert evidence in a court case in which he was also testifying.

Dr Parmegiani alleged that he saw Dr Lucire deny under oath, when questioned, that she had conditions on her registration. 

He successfully defended Dr Lucire’s defamation action by claiming absolute privilege when reporting to the Medical Board, but Dr Lucire has since appealed the ruling, with the matter appearing before the NSW Court of Appeal last week. Dr Lucire accuses Dr Parmegiani of