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Tas abuser told to pay victim’s legal fees

A child sex abuser in Tasmania forced to pay more than $5 million in damages to his victim has been ordered to also cover court costs arising from “prolonged” and “unnecessary” legal proceedings.

The male victim, who cannot be named, was abused by art collector John Wayne Millwood in the 1980s as a 10- to 15-year-old.

Millwood was convicted and jailed for four years over the assaults in 2016 and released on parole in 2019 after serving just over half the sentence.

The man was in December awarded $5,313,500 in damages following civil action in the Supreme Court of Tasmania.

In a judgment handed down this week, Justice Alan Blow ordered Millwood to pay the man’s legal fees.

Lawyers representing the man say the figure will likely approach $500,000.

Justice Blow wrote the way Millwood conducted his defence made the civil proceedings prolonged and unnecessary and caused “great stress” to the man.

Millwood, who is in his 70s, pleaded consent on the part of the man “even though, as a matter of law, consent was not a defence and even though he had previously pleaded guilty to the criminal charge”.

“It is significant that the plaintiff was psychiatrically vulnerable, that the defendant knew that and that that was the defendant’s fault,” Justice Blow wrote.

“In all the circumstances, I think it would be unjust for the plaintiff not to be fully compensated for his costs of pursuing his action.

“I therefore order that the defendant pay the plaintiff’s costs of and incidental to the action on an indemnity basis.”

In a statement, the man said he hopes the judgment would lay the foundation for better understanding of the impact of legal proceedings on survivors of childhood abuse.

The man confronted Millwood about the abuse in 1999.

Millwood escalated contact with the man in the years following and would stand outside his office and contact him via phone.

Millwood made unpleasant remarks about the man in the comment sections of newspapers and on social media, claiming he was delusional and mentally ill.

The man said Millwood doubled down from prison, writing letters claiming he was the victim of a set up and conspiracy.

Damages awarded to the man included more than $1.5 million for loss of past earning capacity and $2 million for future earning capacity.

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