Palmer's nephew 'waives' rights due to Bulgaria exile

Clive Palmer's nephew Clive Mensink is set to stand trial in his absence for contempt of court over the liquidation of Queensland Nickel.

The Federal Court in Brisbane on Thursday dismissed an application by Mensink to end or indefinitely pause proceedings against him.

Mensink's barrister Peter Dunning had argued the court did not have jurisdiction over his client as he had not been personally served notice to appear.

On Thursday, Justice Darryl Rangiah found Mensink was possibly in Bulgaria and all reasonable efforts to personally serve him with legal paperwork had been made by the Federal Court registrar.

Mensink left Australia in June 2016, months after the collapse of the Palmer-owned Queensland Nickel.

He has not returned since.

Mensink was the sole registered director of the company when it folded with debts of $300 million, causing the loss of hundreds of jobs at its Townsville refinery.

In 2017, a judge ordered a warrant be issued for Mensink's arrest relating to his failure to attend court to be questioned over the company's demise.

Mensink had been due to stand trial on April 27 this year following two failed appeals in 2022.

Mr Dunning had argued that the trial should not proceed in his client's absence because that would contravene his fundamental right to a fair trial.

Justice Rangiah said it was uncertain if or when Mensink would return to Australia and there was public interest in hearing contempt of court cases without undue delay.

"In my opinion, Mr Mensink’s conduct amounts to a voluntary waiver of his right to be present at the trial," Justice Rangiah said.

He said if he accepted Mensink's arguments, people could avoid prosecution for contempt of court by hiding their physical location.

"This is one of those exceptional cases where the court’s discretion should be exercised to proceed with the trial in Mr Mensink’s absence," Justice Rangiah said.

Mensink was ordered to pay the registrar's costs.

Justice Rangiah set a case management hearing for January 31, 2024 to proceed with the trial.

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