Wednesday, 15 April 2015
Champagne Jayne: the last day of battle – Monday 13th April 2015
Pierre Taittinger and Jayne Powell
On Monday 13th April the respective legal teams set out their concluding arguments. As before I am indebted to Graeme Lofts for his report on the proceedings. On this final day Jayne was represented by a new legal team: Natalie
Hickey and Evelyn Tadros, who Graeme and his wife, Dianne, felt were very effective.
Federal Court of Australia, Melbourne, Monday April 13, 2015
'The battle between the Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne (the CIVC) and Australian wine educator and media personality Rachel Jayne Powell, better known as Champagne Jayne resumed in the Federal Court of Australia, Melbourne on Monday April 13 with the presentation of closing submissions by lawyers for both sides. Ms Powell’s new team of barristers, Natalie Hickey and Evelyn Tadros, argued that the CIVC had failed to provide sufficient evidence that Champagne Jayne had engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct by mentioning sparkling wines other than Champagne in her presentations. No new evidence was admitted and much of the day’s proceedings consisted of references to previous cases and legalese.
On several occasions the judge, Justice Jonathon Beach, admitted that he could see nothing wrong with the use of the name Champagne Jayne. He believed that the question to be answered was whether or not Ms Powell had mislead, deceived or confused her audiences – whether at functions or on television, her website or on social media such as Twitter. A lot of the argument from both sides centred on who the audience was and what proportion already understood that sparkling wine could only be called Champagne if it comes from the Champagne appellation of France.
The CICV’s search for incriminating tweets amongst thousands of tweets on Jayne’s Twitter account was questioned by her barrister Natalie Hickey and she explained how Twitter worked and argued that it was a conversational medium in which comments were made in an instant and any individual tweet was almost always fleeting. She explained that it was impossible to gauge the wine knowledge of Jayne’s Twitter followers and the use of a few isolated tweets out of thousands was not evidence of misleading conduct.
Ms Hickey also argued that the segments of videotapes of Jayne’s presentations by the CIVC’s legal team to demonstrate misleading conduct were carefully selected and only partially represented the presentations and a videotape of a whole presentation would show that Champagne Jayne had clearly distinguished between Champagne and other sparkling wines.
The judge has adjourned the case and in due course will advise both parties of his decision. It is understood that his decision may not be reached for several months.'