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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 November 2005, 10:14 GMT
Neighbours star wins sacking case
Neighbours has been running for 20 years
A former star of Australian soap Neighbours has won damages of AUS$196,709 (84,416) after a judge ruled he was unfairly sacked.

Shane Connor, who played Joe Scully for four years, sued Grundy Television over his axing from the long-running soap.

The company had claimed Mr Connor was aggressive towards other cast members and fell asleep on set.

A judge ruled that while he had been given a final warning he should not have been sacked five months later.

"The actions of Grundy were not only personally distressing but also did significant damage to my professional standing and career," Mr Connor said in a statement.

"I have asked my lawyers to examine the court's findings and advise me of any other legal action I may wish to consider."

Mr Connor, who is to appear in panto in Stoke this Christmas, was sacked from the daytime soap in September 2003 on the grounds of negligence.

'No evidence'

Victoria State Supreme Court heard he had been repeatedly warned about his behaviour on set and for turning up for work with hangovers. He had previously overcome an amphetamine addiction.

His final written warning came five months before his contract was terminated after Grundy claimed he fell asleep and failed to follow direction.

But judge Robert Osborn decided Grundy did not have grounds for dismissal at the time of the sacking.

"There is no evidence the plaintiff went to sleep," he said.

"There is no evidence he was absent from the set when required. There is no evidence the plaintiff disobeyed any direct instruction," he added.

Grundy said it was considering appealing against the ruling.

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