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Australia: Folau case set for trial in early 2020

Israel Folau – Image: therugbychannel.it

(Reuters) – Israel Folau’s unfair dismissal case against Rugby Australia and the New South Wales Waratahs will head to trial in February, 2020, if no settlement is reached beforehand.

Fundamentalist Christian, Folau, is fighting the termination of his four-year contract in May, after he posted a meme on social media that said hell awaited ‘drunks, homosexuals, adulterers’ and other groups.

The lawyer for the former Australia fullback faced the Federal Circuit Court in Melbourne on Tuesday for a directions hearing, where chief judge, Will Alstergren, encouraged the parties to settle their dispute through mediation on December 13.

Should mediation fail, the case would proceed to trial on February 4, 2020.

Folau, who has cast the legal challenge as a fight for religious freedom, is seeking an apology from Rugby Australia, the right to resume his international career, and up to A$10 million in compensation.

“It’s been publicly acknowledged by Israel and his team that he still seeks that apology and that’s still very important to him,” Folau’s solicitor, George Haros, told reporters after the hearing.

“That would come a long way to resolving the dispute.”

The 30-year-old raised more than A$2 million in public donations for his legal fight with the backing of a local Christian lobby. […]

-Sonali Paul

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