Australia

Fart bullying case: Engineer contests A$1.8m court ruling

Businessman points at colleague Image copyright iStock
Image caption The Supreme Court of Victoria has until Friday to get to the bottom of the case

A worker in Australia who claims his ex-supervisor repeatedly broke wind at him has appealed against a court ruling that found he was not bullied.

David Hingst said his former colleague Greg Short would "lift his bum and fart" on him up to six times a day.

He sued his former company for A$1.8m (£0.97m; $1.28m) last year, but the Supreme Court of Victoria found there was no bullying.

Mr Hingst, 56, said the flatulence had caused him "severe stress".

'He would fart and walk away'

Mr Hingst, who was a contract administrator based in Melbourne, sued Construction Engineering in 2017 but the case was thrown out in April 2018.

He appealed that decision, and was heard by the Court of Appeal on Monday.

"I would be sitting with my face to the wall and he would come into the room, which was small and had no windows," Mr Hingst told the Australian Associated Press (APP).

"He would fart behind me and walk away. He would do this five or six times a day."

At the original hearing last year, Mr Short said he didn't particularly recall breaking wind near Mr Hingst but "may have done it once or twice, maybe".

However, he denied he was doing it "with the intention of distressing or harassing" Mr Hingst.

Mr Hingst would refer to Mr Short as "Mr Stinky" and sprayed deodorant at him, the court heard.

According to news outlet news.com.au, Mr Hingst claimed Mr Short had behaved that way as part of a conspiracy to get rid of him, and said his time at Construction Engineering caused him psychiatric injuries. At his earlier court appearance, he said Mr Short had verbally abused him about his work performance and made bullying phone calls where he branded Mr Hingst "an idiot".

Mr Hingst said he had not received a fair trial and felt the judge in charge of his previous case was biased against him.

But Justice Phillip Priest said on Monday that the trial judge seemed to have shown "remarkable latitude".

"The very distinct impression I get is you were given every opportunity to put your case," he said.

The Court of Appeal will deliver its ruling on Friday.

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