The Hong Kong District Court has set aside an anonymity order granted to a woman who had accused Stefano Mariani, a former partner and head of tax at Deacons, of sexual harassment.

The court also ordered Jennifer Baccanello, who still works at Deacons, to pay legal costs to Mariani after she discontinued her sexual harassment claim against him.

Baccanello had secured an anonymity order in October 2023, allowing her name to be redacted from legal filings, before circulating her claim online alleging Mariani sexually harassed her in violation of Hong Kong's sex discrimination laws.

Deacons had previously investigated and rejected her claims against Mariani, with Baccanello confirming in writing her agreement with the conclusion, according to the court decision.

The judge said Baccanello failed to fully and accurately disclose material information to the court when seeking the anonymity order, which is meant to be an exception to the principle of open justice.

"There was some force in the argument...that (her) presentation of the evidence went beyond a simple failure of material non-disclosure, but was a deliberate attempt to mislead the court," the judge wrote.

After reviewing messages between Baccanello and Mariani, the judge commented they appeared to show a consensual romantic affair rather than improper conduct.

Mariani, who moved to Baker McKenzie in 2023, before exiting the firm after the claims against him became public, said he was satisfied with the decision and Baccanello's discontinuance of her "baseless action." He has filed a defamation lawsuit against Baccanello and her husband over emails they sent last year.



Related Articles

EXPLAINER: Does Covishield’s alleged health concerns expose it to legal liability?

by Nimitt Dixit |

COVID-19 vaccine-maker AstraZeneca was in the spotlight in May following the company’s admission in a UK court proceeding of the possibility of a rare side effect, Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS) associated with its vaccines. More than 50 individuals have alleged the vaccine resulted in death and serious injuries from TTS.  

Hong Kong commercial law hub allure damaged by foreign judges row, lawyers say

by Reuters |

The resignations of two British judges from China-ruled Hong Kong's highest court not only raise concerns about the rule of law, some lawyers and experts say, but will further undermine confidence in the city's broader commercial legal sector.

DOCVIT latest PRC firm to launch Hong Kong office

by Charlie Wu 吴卓言 |

Beijing-based DOCVIT Law Firm has expanded its footprint by opening a new office in Hong Kong, the firm's tenth branch overall, amid a growing influx of mainland Chinese legal practices in the city.