02:12, March 29 337 0 theguardian.com

2019-03-29 02:12:05
Court dismisses $1.8m bullying case brought by man accusing boss of breaking wind

An Australian appeals court on Friday dismissed a bullying case brought by an engineer who accused his former supervisor of repeatedly breaking wind toward him.

The Victoria state court of appeal upheld a supreme court judge’s ruling that even if engineer David Hingst’s allegations were true, flatulence did not necessarily constitute bullying.

But David Hingst, 56, has vowed to take his case to the high court.

He had sought $1.8m in a suit against his former employer Construction Engineering, but a judge blasted the case out of the supreme court last year.

Hingst applied to appeal the case, saying “flatulence was a form of bullying” and his ex-colleague Greg Short was a serial farter.

The court of appeal ruled against Hingst on Friday, refusing to grant him leave to appeal and ordering him to pay the defendant’s legal costs.

“The application will be refused, with costs,” Justice Phillip Priest said.

In response, Hingst promised to take the case further. “I’m taking it to the high court,” he told the judges.

Hingst did not speak to reporters as he left court, with an item of clothing held over his mouth and face.

On Monday, Hingst gave details of the alleged bullying, saying Short would come into his small, windowless office several times a day and break wind.

“He would fart behind me and walk away. He would do this five or six times a day,” he said outside court.

He also said Short had abused him over the phone, used profane language and at times taunted him with gestures.

“He thrusted his bum at me while he’s at work,” Hingst told the judges.

Hingst, who has represented himself throughout the 18-day trial and the appeal process, sought leave to appeal on several grounds.

He claimed he did not get a fair trial as he felt under pressure from supreme court Justice Rita Zammit when questioning witnesses, and felt the judge was biased against him.

But Priest on Monday said the judge seemed to show “remarkable latitude” to Hingst during the trial.

Hingst said he suffered a psychological injury as a result of the bullying and has not returned to work since he was dismissed from Construction Engineering a decade ago.

His $1.8m claim includes compensation for lost past and future earnings, having previously earned a salary of about $100,000 for his design and engineering work on building projects.