An inquiry by the High Court has found that former High Court judge, Professor Dyson Heydon, to have sexually harassed six young women associates.
Heydon is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Sydney. It is unclear at this point when, if ever, he terminated teaching duties.
Chief Justice of the High Court, Justice Susan Kiefel, has apologised personally to the victims.
An investigation by the Sydney Morning Herald uncovered several other allegations of sexual harassment by the former judge.
The investigation uncovered that, in 2012, a former USyd student, Chelsea Tabbar, was sexually harassed by Justice Heydon when acting as his associate. In the Herald article, she states that she left law afterwards because she believed the “the culture was broken from the top down.”
The investigation also uncovered that, in 2015 while on a visiting professorship to Oxford University, Justice Heydon had been subject to a complaint by a student.
The Herald’s investigation states that Justice Heydon’s harassment was an “open secret” in legal and judicial circles.
Honi has reached out to the University seeking comment regarding when, if ever, Heydon stopped teaching, whether he is going to be stripped of his Emeritus Professorship, and whether they were aware of allegations of sexual harassment.
In late 2017, barrister Charles Waterstreet was exposed by New Matilda as sexually harassing prospective research assistants, including USyd Law student Tina Huang.
Afterwards, the University banned Waterstreet’s jobs from advertisement on the USyd CareerHub website following a protest by the USyd Women’s Collective.
In a statement issued this morning, the Dean of Sydney Law school, Simon Bronitt said, “I wish to express my solidarity and support for the victims who have been abused by former High Court Justice Dyson Heydon. The High Court’s administrative review has exposed a pattern of abusive and unprofessional behaviours over his tenure on the Court.”
“I wish to commend the courage of our alumna, Chelsea Tabart, one of our best and brightest students, and other female Associates, in righting these wrongs – they no longer need to suffer in silence.”
“The failure of many institutions in our community to prevent this type of abuse, to provide real remedies for those affected, and to prevent re-victimisation by the legal process itself, must be addressed. The rule of law means, at its core, that no-one, however high and powerful in their office is above the law.”
Further, a University spokesperson said, “Our thoughts are with the women involved. We do not tolerate harassment of any kind on our campus.
Professor Heydon was last employed by the University in 1981. He has no on-going employment relationship with us.
As is the case with many retired members of staff, he was appointed an Emeritus Professor some time ago. It is not an employment relationship and does not involve any remuneration.
We are currently reviewing his appointment to that title in consultation with our Law School.”
More to come.