Lawyer sues over "Dennis Denuto from Ipswich" reference

The cast of the 1997 film The Castle.
The cast of the 1997 film The Castle. Contributed

AN IPSWICH lawyer is suing a man for $250,000 after his reputation and feelings were hurt when he was compared to lawyer Dennis Denuto from cult Australian film The Castle.

Dennis Denuto was portrayed as the bumbling solicitor who represented the Kerrigan family in court to keep their home from compulsory acquisition.

Most famously Mr Denuto argued in court his client's eviction went against "the vibe" of the Australian Constitution.

Being held in the same esteem as the fictional character does not sit well with lawyer Brett Clayton Smith, who has launched defamation proceedings against a Kenneth Craig Lucht for referring to him as the late 90s movie character. Mr Lucht, a corporate sales director, is the former husband of Mr Smith's daughter-in-law, Sally Smith.

According to a statement of claim filed to the Brisbane District Court, the Dennis Denuto comparison stems from Mr Smith representing Mrs Smith in an unrelated civil court matter.

Mr Smith claims Mr Lucht referred to him as "Dennis Denuto from Ipswich" in an email to Mrs Smith. Mr Smith also alleges Mr Lucht yelled out to his children, who were with their mother Mrs Smith and her partner, words to the effect of: "say hello to Dennis Denuto and Dennis Denuto Junior".

In his statement of claim, Mr Smith states the defamatory statements meant he was unprofessional and inexperienced at law, incompetent and foolish.

The lawyer of 34 years claims the name calling has caused him distress, humiliation and lowered him in the estimation of right thinking people.

Mr Smith also felt extremely "insulted, hurt and upset", court documents reveal. Mr Smith, who is the principal of Brett Smith and Co in Ipswich, is vying for $250,000 in damages for defamation.

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