Owen Hughes leaving the Federal Court in Brisbane.
Owen Hughes leaving the Federal Court in Brisbane. Liam Kidston

Solicitor appeals decision over sexual harassment claims

A BANGALOW law firm boss who was successfully sued by a former employee for sexual harassment will appeal the decision.

Owen Hughes, the principal of Beesley and Hughes Lawyers, was ordered to pay Catherine Mia Hill the sum of $170,000 in a Federal Circuit Court decision last month.

Ms Hill sued her former boss over repeated requests for a relationship, uninvited hugging and twice entering her bedroom while they were on a work trip.

While Hughes had claimed none of his conduct amounted to sexual harassment, Judge Salvatore Vasta found it "unequivocally" was in his May judgment.

Hughes has since lodged an appeal with the Federal Court of Australia.

His notice of appeal was lodged with the court on June 21, and was amended last week.

Ms Hill began working as a paralegal with Beesley and Hughes Lawyers in May of 2015.

Hughes argued Ms Hill had been "flirty" with him, but Judge Vasta found she was a "forthright and honest" witness.

During the case, the court heard Hughes used personal information about Ms Hill, obtained while he was acting as her lawyer, as leverage in an ongoing barrage of attempts to coerce her into a relationship.

Judge Vasta said in his judgment Hughes' actions were a "very grave example of sexual harassment".

There has so far been no court date listed for the appeal to be heard.