Hearing continues into Newcastle uni bully row

UNCERTAIN: Michelle Adams wants to return to work.
UNCERTAIN: Michelle Adams wants to return to work.

THE academic at the centre of the University of Newcastle's latest plagiarism scandal will be assessed by a psychiatrist on Monday in an attempt to be allowed to return to work.

Dr Michelle Adams's case went before the Industrial Relations Commission yesterday with an agreement she would attend two doctor's appointments in the coming weeks.

The microbiologist has been on suspension from her job as a senior lecturer since August.

Dr Adams raised an allegation in 2003 that two academics had plagiarised a student's honours thesis and said that she was subsequently bullied and harassed at work.

The 44-year-old says she suffered depression and became suicidal as a result.

The university did not investigate the plagiarism allegation until last year, when the case was eventually proven.

In the Workers Compensation Commission last month the university agreed to pay for Dr Adams's medical treatment for her psychological illness, recredit months of sick leave and reimburse her legal costs.

Dr Adams said yesterday that she had always wanted to return to work, but she now faced an uncertain future.

In yesterday's IRC hearing, which The Herald was unable to attend due to an objection raised by the university's barrister, Dr Adams said it was alleged she had breached a previous agreement not to speak publicly about the case.

She said her lawyer asked that she be reinstated immediately, but was unsuccessful.

"The whole truth needs to come out and there needs to be an independent inquiry. I am speaking out because I don't want this to ever happen to anyone else," she said after the hearing.