UPDATE DEC 18: The bailiff served all documents on the Tunks this morning at their home address, says Mr Munn.
UPDATE DEC 12: A spokesperson for the Department of Defence said today it is aware that a Defence employee who is a member of the Australian Public Service is involved in a private defamation case. This issue does not involve the Department. This is a private matter between the Defence employee and the plaintiff.
The Department understands that an individual attempted to access the Pine Gap facility in order to serve documents on Mr Tunks but was refused entry to the site because it is a high security facility. Following this incident, the Department encouraged our employee to deal with this matter.
By ERWIN CHLANDA
What do the US spy base Pine Gap and the Alice Springs Child Care Centre have in common? They are both shielding people from a legal process by denying access to serve Supreme Court documents on their employees.
So claims Alasdair Munn, the plaintiff in a NSW defamation action which has Russell Crowe, Peter Holmes a Court and the Rabbitohs on the periphery.
Mr Munn, a computer consultant, says he has been defamed in social media postings by an employee of the kindergarten in Bath Street, and her husband, a mid-ranking Australian Navy officer, who works at Pine Gap.
The local cops had a bit part in the drama, which has its origins in a dispute between opposing factions at a Sydney based NRL club, distantly involving Mr Munn: He says he told police he was having difficulties serving a statement of claim on the couple. The cops said they couldn’t help, but last Saturday dispatched two wallopers to the Sydney-bound plane on which Mr Munn was a passenger. He was then leaving the Alice after being blocked by the kindy and Pine Gap.
The doors of the Qantas jet had already been closed but the police demanded access to Mr Munn, to talk to him about allegations of trespass made by the kindy.
He had been there, politely asking to see the staff member on whom he wanted to serve the court papers, but was told she wasn’t there and he left again.
When Mr Munn told police officers the true situation on the tarmac of the Alice airport, and that others in their organisation knew all about it, they eventually apologised profusely and let him go.
The plane got away 15 minutes late, after Mr Munn had been embarrassed in front of a lot of passengers.
He says Pine Gap also denied access to a bailiff wanting to serve papers, of which the Alice Springs News Online has a copy. The head of security later called the bailiff in for questioning to determine how Mr Munn had been able to track their employee to the top secret base, claims Mr Munn.
Pine Gap, the police and the kindergarten have not responded to requests for comment.