‘Cheater’ defamation saga to drag out for months, as forgery questions put on ice

The bitter defamation battle between two warring exes over claims of sex addiction has been put on ice for several months after the Victorian lockdown caused the County Court trial to be adjourned.

The judge-only trial between Constantine Arvanitis and Selina Holder was adjourned until September, blowing out the end date of a legal saga that was originally supposed to take eight days.

Selina Holder and Constantine Arvanitis are fighting out a defamation battle in the courts.Credit:

The case was already on track to last much longer than that, with the first witness, Mr Arvanitis, yet to finish giving evidence after seven days of hearings.

New trials remain suspended in Victoria due to the latest COVID-19 restrictions, while those already under way were permitted to continue.

However border restrictions between Victoria and NSW have added an extra complication to the defamation trial, with Ms Holder and her legal representatives based in Sydney.

The preference is for the case to continue in person rather than online, as Mr Arvanitis has already been subjected to questioning in the courtroom with the media and public present.

Selina Holder outside court.Credit:Justin McManus

The break may give both parties the clear air needed to settle. If not, the large legal bills already incurred will increase.

One defamation lawyer not involved in the case recently told The Age that the cost of running a County Court trial would be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for each side.

Before the trial was postponed, Mr Arvanitis last gave evidence in court on May 26 about whether he forged a letter to get access to a child he had with Ms Holder.

It was part of questioning she hopes will prove her defence that the defamatory imputations claimed by Mr Arvanitis are true.

Mr Arvanitis has told the court he has not seen his daughter since December 2016.

The court heard that the allegedly fraudulent letter had the signature “Ren Sorrento” and an email address of a consultancy business that ended with “gmail.com.au”.

Because Google does not use a country’s domain in its email addresses, Mr Arvanitis was asked if he had faked the letter.

Mr Arvanitis, who earns about $170,000 a year as an IT consultant for NAB, rejected the assertion based on his knowledge of computers.

“No, your honour, I would never make the mistake of gmail.com.au,” he said. “Never, I just wouldn’t. I know what gmail.com is.”

Constantine Arvanitis.Credit: Supplied

Mr Arvanitis said the document was created by his fiancee, Melanie Thornton, and a friend whom he knew as Renato, to help him get access to his daughter.

The court also heard that the letter had been created on a laptop belonging to Mr Arvanitis.

“All that proves is someone used my laptop and my version of Word to create the document,” he said. “I asked her [Melanie] to help me to get access to my daughter, so she did that.”

Mr Arvanitis is suing over an unrelated letter allegedly sent by Ms Holder and two other ex-girlfriends to Ms Thornton making claims he was a sex addict, violent and a cheat. He has claimed that those women, who allegedly wrote “we are the sisterhood” in the letter, are out to destroy him.

He is also taking action over a separate legal document sent to his future sister-in-law, breast cancer surgeon Dr Chantel Thornton, that included other allegations that he denies.

Mr Arvanitis claims his relationship with Dr Thornton and her husband, luxury car dealer Srecko Lorbrek, was soured by the defamatory document.

The hearing will resume on September 13.

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