‘Strange dude’: Court reveals texts between Annabel Crabb and friend of Porter accuser

ABC presenter Annabel Crabb had a “boiling sense of rage and grief” when she learned an old debating colleague who accused federal minister Christian Porter of rape had taken her own life, according to messages detailed in court documents.

In a series of messages released on Wednesday, as part of the Federal Court case where Mr Porter’s barrister was barred from representing him, Ms Crabb wrote that the former attorney-general was a “strange dude” and the woman who took her own life would be moved to know her friends were seeking justice for her.

Jo Dyer (left) leaves the Federal Court last month.Credit:Louie Douvis

Jo Dyer, a producer and festival director, stopped high-profile silk Sue Chrysanthou, SC, from representing Mr Porter in his now-discontinued defamation case against the ABC, which he brought after a story was published detailing that a cabinet minister had been accused of rape. Mr Porter strenuously denied any wrongdoing.

A woman, known only as Kate, had told friends that Mr Porter raped her in the 1980s when they were both teenagers. She took her own life in June last year, before she had made a formal police statement.

Text messages have been released between ABC journalist Annabel Crabb and the friend of a woman who accused Christian Porter of rape.

Ms Dyer successfully argued Ms Chrysanthou was privy to confidential information about Kate and Mr Porter because the barrister gave her free legal advice in relation to an article in The Australian that mentioned Ms Dyer.

On Wednesday, Justice Tom Thawley made orders in the case including requiring Mr Porter’s legal representatives to destroy any documents containing the confidential information. A series of text messages between Ms Dyer and Ms Crabb were attached to the court order.

Ms Dyer responded on Twitter, writing that the ABC’s defence to Mr Porter’s defunct defamation case is what should be released, “rather than a few texts between mates”.

In the messages, starting shortly after Kate took her own life, Ms Crabb wrote that she was “completely poleaxed … even though I hadn’t seen her for so long and didn’t know her all that well to begin with”.

“It’s really coalescing with the stories of those [Dyson] Heydon women just fading away out of the law… leaves me with such a boiling sense of rage and grief,” Ms Crabb said. “I’m glad she at least managed to talk to a lot of people, some never get that. What a strange dude CP is. And how amazingly arrogant to think you can mistreat people and get away with it for ever.”

Ms Dyer responded that Kate was a “shining star” and it was “devastating” that her life was “very troubled for so long”.

The text messages referred to Christian Porter as a “strange dude”.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

“Regardless of whether it’s exclusively or only collaterally because of CP’s entitled arseholedom, it similarly fills me with rage. She deserved such a different life,” Ms Dyer wrote.

The pair then exchanged various other messages, including arranging for Ms Dyer to go to Ms Crabb’s home to be interviewed for Four Corners while Ms Crabb was not there.

Ms Crabb wrote that she had been at an event with Federal MP Paul Fletcher and “he didn’t know about Kate … he responded to the news a bit unreadably”.

“I definitely do not think Paul knew anything,” Ms Crabb said.

Ms Dyer wrote that she wondered how many in the current government knew of the allegations, “given how widely Kate was consulting”.

The messages were released after lawyers for News Corp sought leave to appear in the case. The publisher’s lawyer argued more information should be disclosed because it was a matter of “extreme” public interest due to the involvement of Mr Porter, the former attorney general.

The case is expected to return to court for further directions in July.

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