Judge reiterates arrest threat in chocolate stoush
THE mother and son behind a well-known Queensland family chocolate business at the centre of a "Shakespearean" legal fight, have both been warned by a judge that they face a real prospect of arrest and time behind bars.
In the Federal Court in Brisbane this morning Justice John Logan told chocolate millionaire Chris Thomson, 31, from Lutwyche, and his mother Pam Thomson, from Noosa Heads, that they risked a visit to the cells in the court basement if they continued with their "high stakes game".
Today's warning was the second time a Federal Court judge has used the prospect of jail to emphasise the seriousness of repercussions if allegations of breaching court orders were proven.
Last Monday another judge, Justice John Reeves told Mr Thomson, that accusations he had breached a court order were "very serious" and possible consequences may include "being arrested and being put in custody, it's a very serious matter and he might need legal advice".
"I had thought to have (Pam Thomson) and Mr Thomson escorted by the court officer to the basement to where the cells are just by way of familiarisation, but that might be regarded as excessive. It's a high stakes game here but it is no game at all. That's the point do you want to press the button?" Justice Logan asked of Mrs Thomson's barrister Dimitrios Eliades.
Mr Eliades asked to adjourn the case briefly, then returned to court saying he wished to continue with his application saying he had documents that "clearly" showed Mr Thomson had used the NCF (Noosa Chocolate Factory) name and logo in breach of a court ordered ban.
Justice Logan strongly urged the parties to take the case to mediation on November 5 with top silk Andrew Crowe QC.
Mr Crowe has agreed to work for free to help the family resolve their differences.
Mr Thomson told the court he had "been trying to mediate" the dispute with his mother since April, when he was removed as a director of NCF.
Justice Logan said he could "see no good" for either side "coming out of" hearing the application brought by Mrs Thomson.
The pair are fighting over whether Mr Thomson had breached orders by failing to give his mother's company "access to the old website" of the Noosa Chocolate Factory.
Mr Thomson denies the claims.
Mrs Thomson has also accused her son of "flagrantly" impersonating her business, the NCF, after he resigned as a director of Tobias Qld, in April.
Tobias Qld, is a company wholly owned by Mrs Thomson which claims to own the business name of Noosa Chocolate Factory.
But Mr Thomson disputes, this, arguing he registered the business name in 2009.
Mrs Thomson, a former aged care nurse from Noosa Heads, has gone to court in bid to block her son from selling similar chocolate labelled with the NCF logo and claiming to be the "founder" of the NCF.
The case continues.