Sunland appeal judged to be 'hopeless'

Gold Coast developer Sunland has been handed another legal defeat, with the Court of Appeal ordering that special costs should be paid after finding its argument at trial was "hopeless" and conducted in "wilful disregard of the known facts and law".

Gold Coast developer Sunland has been handed another legal defeat, with the Court of Appeal ordering that special costs should be paid after finding its argument at trial was "hopeless" and conducted in "wilful disregard of the known facts and law".

The court also dissolved an injunction against Fairfax Media that had blocked the publication of a confidential internal Sunland document. However, the publication of the materials is still blocked by a second order granted by a different judge.

It is the latest decision in a more than four-year legal battle over a controversial $63 million waterfront property deal in Dubai involving Sunland and Australians Matt Joyce and Angus Reed. Joyce and Reed (in absentia) were recently found guilty of fraud and sentenced to 10 years' jail in Dubai.

Earlier this month, the Court of Appeal rejected Sunland's attempt to reverse three judgments against it by the Supreme Court related to the developer's bid to recoup $14 million in damages.

On Thursday, Chief Justice Marilyn Warren and Justices Robert Osborn and Cameron Macaulay ordered Sunland to pay the costs of Joyce, Reed and other parties for the substantive appeal, costs appeal and a hearing to introduce "new" evidence.

"Sunland's appeal was essentially a reiteration of its case at trial," the judgment said. "In our view, it is open to the Court to find that Sunland ought to have known its appeal was hopeless."

In a separate decision, the court also dissolved an injunction granted against Fairfax Media preventing the publication of confidential Sunland documents obtained by journalist Ben Butler.

However, the publication of other materials by Fairfax Media is still blocked by a second order granted by a different judge.

Sunland has sought leave to appeal to the High Court.

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