Murphy court case over 'unpaid $600K' takes big toll on Mick

FED UP: Truck owner Mick Barfield says a three year court battle has taken a huge toll on his life and his labour hire business.
FED UP: Truck owner Mick Barfield says a three year court battle has taken a huge toll on his life and his labour hire business. Rokatruck

WHEN Mick Barfield was at his lowest, caring for his two dogs was the only thing that kept him going.

A three year court battle has left him financially drained and emotionally broken.

Mr Barfield, who owns Mackay Labour Hire, spoke to The Morning Bulletin from a Rockhampton roadside, where his truck is plastered with signs expressing his anger.

It's a last ditch effort to put his case forward as he takes the mobile signage around Central Queensland.

Mr Barfield started his labour hire business over a decade ago, but said he had to sell several pieces of equipment to finance his legal action against JM Kelly Project Builders.

He said work had also slowed during the period.

"I had a good little business," he said.

"I had up to 250 people working for me."

In late June, JM Kelly boss Geoff Murphy advised that company, and two others, would be liquidated.

At the time, Mr Murphy said operations would continue as normal.

The liquidation has effectively halted Mr Barfield's legal action, which included a three-day trial in the Mackay District Court from June 13 to 15 according to Queensland Courts records.

Mr Barfield claims he is owed over $350,000 in unpaid invoices, including interest, as well as legal costs.

The final judgement on that matter is still pending.

This week, Mr Murphy rejected the claims made on Mr Barfield's signs, which have been positioned throughout Rockhampton and Yeppoon, saying there was "no validity" to them.

Mr Barfield said the long court process had taken a large toll on his personal life and affected his mental health.

He said there had been some relief when the trial concluded, but news liquidation had stayed proceedings "makes me feel like I want to die".

Topics:  jm kelly labour hire

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