Filmmaker Phoebe Stuart-Carberry refused to hand over the film to Domino’s in court today
A Sydney woman who made a short film which alleges Domino’s Pizza breaches a rival’s GPS delivery tracker patent narrowly avoided being charged with contempt of court after she refused the court’s order to hand over a copy of the film to Domino’s.
Phoebe Stuart-Carberry was ordered to hand over a copy of the film today after Domino’s was granted an injunction last week barring its publication, amid claims she has used the film to threaten Domino’s company CEO Don Meij with blackmail.
But appearing in the NSW Supreme Court this morning clutching a copy of her film, Phoebe Stuart-Carberry defied repeated demands from sitting judge, Justice Des Fagan, to hand the disk over to the pizza chain.
Several hours after the hearing, Stuart-Carberry relented and submitted a copy of the film to the court.
The stoush comes amid a legal battle between Domino’s and small firm Precision Technology over the pizza firm’s use of GPS tracking technology on its delivery drivers it says infringes its patents.
Stuart-Carberry appeared without representation and, at times on the verge of tears, told the court she was being “bullied” by Domino’s and did not understand why she had to hand her work over to the pizza company.
Justice Fagan warned Stuart-Carberry that Domino’s had a right to see the contents of the film and that her refusal to provide access could potentially have grave implications.
“In that disk there may be the most severe defamation,” Justice Fagan warned. “I will direct that Domino’s may see it … you are requested to please hand it over.”
Justice Fagan warned Stuart-Carberry she was bound by law to hand over the film and questioned what issue she had with handing it over to the court, noting that her use of the world “bullying” was a “pejorative” term and that publication of the film would be a serious contempt of court.
When Stuart-Carberry again refused to hand over the film, Justice Fagan called for an adjournment and for Stuart-Carberry and Domino’s to discuss the matter further, asking Domino’s’ barrister Richard Potter to make clear to her the implications of her actions.
“You will be in contempt of court and be liable to imprisonment,” Justice Fagan said.
After a brief adjournment the hearing resumed with Potter telling the court he had explained the situation to Stuart-Carberry “to the best of my ability” but that she continued to refuse to hand over the film.
Justice Fagan said he was reluctant to apply an order for contempt of court and said the ongoing injunction against the publication of the film went some way to meeting Domino’s objective – which is to prevent the film being broadcast publically.
Instead, he said it would be left to Domino’s to decide if it wanted to pursue contempt of court action against Stuart-Carberry.
Having previously threatened in emails to Dominos to publish the film regardless of court orders, Stuart-Carberry told the court she would not publish it under the current orders.
Justice Fagan questioned whether a “film” actually existed or if it would be damaging to Domino’s, but continued to assert the right of the company to view the film.
“I seriously doubt there is anything of significance on this film,” he said.
Justice Fagan left the existing injunction against publication in place indefinitely while Domino’s lawyers said they would seek advice from the company on whether it wished to pursue a contempt of court action against Stuart-Carberry for refusing to hand over the film.
Justice Fagan also reserved costs and the matter was adjourned to another hearing on March 8; however, several hours after the hearing Stuart-Carberry relented and said she would comply with the order to hand the film over.
Stuart-Carberry’s film focuses on GPS tracking device company Precision Technology, which is engaged in a case against Domino’s which claims the company has infringed on a number of patents relating to Precision Technology’s GPS tracking system.
Precision Technology worked with Domino’s during the early development of its pizza delivery tracker system prior to the technical development contract being later awarded to another supplier. Precision Technology is claiming both patent infringement and unpaid invoices from Domino’s; claims Domino’s has rejected.
Domino’s has offered no comment on either proceedings.
Stuart-Carberry, whose employment has been largely in the not-for-profit sector, has taken to describing herself as an “activist” in relation to the creation of the film and attracted headlines in the past after accusing the Nine Network of lying to her after she took part in auditions for the reality show Married at First Sight.
Stuart-Carberry claimed, after taking part in pre-show interviews in the lead-up to the production of Nine’s Married at First Sight that she was surprised to find her image used in promotional material for the show.
She accused the Nine network of lying to her about use of her likeness, claims Nine has rejected.