Pop star Vanessa Amorosi ‘evasive’ during property battle with mum Joyleen Robinson, court hears

A bitter property battle between Australian pop star Vanessa Amorosi and her mother has escalated in court, as both women’s credibility was attacked by the opposing side’s lawyers.

Ms Amorosi is suing her mother, Joyleen Robinson, in Victoria’s Supreme Court over ownership of an 8ha Narre Warren property in Melbourne’s southeast which lists both women as joint owners on the title.

Ms Robinson is countersuing, seeking the court uphold an alleged verbal agreement, called the ‘kitchen agreement’, which she says was made in 2001 prior to the property’s purchase with Ms Amorosi’s music earnings.

She alleges her daughter offered to buy the then-$650,000 “dream home” for her but she refused and they came to an agreement that Ms Robinson would repay the original purchase price if Ms Amorosi ever needed the money.

Ms Robinson claims she paid her daughter $710,000 in 2014 after selling a separate property because the singer was “struggling”.

Ms Amorosi denies there was ever an agreement, saying the pair had “many” mother-daughter discussions about assets, but the home was always hers and she had let her family live there for 21 years to “take care” of her mum.

The case returned to court on Wednesday as both sides delivered their closing arguments to Justice Steven Moore who will have to decide the outcome of the long-running feud.

Ms Robinson’s lawyer, Daniel Harrison, attacked Ms Amorosi’s reliability and credibility on the stand, pointing to questions he asked her about an Australian Securities and Investments Commission document he alleged she was “deliberately evasive” about.

“I’m inviting your honour to form a view that the way she answered that question three times, or failed to answer that question, was perhaps deliberately evasive and not the answer of an honest witness,” he said.

“She kept saying she didn’t understand the document or couldn’t understand the question – that is the pinnacle of evasion.”

Ms Amorosi’s lawyer, Joel Fetter, on the other hand said Ms Robinson’s conduct between the home’s purchase and now was “entirely ambiguous”.

He suggested she had invented the ‘kitchen agreement’ to claim the home after a falling out with her daughter over money.

“The first time one sees a reference to that agreement is 2015,” he said.

“Tellingly nowhere in this email does anyone in writing say this agreement was formed in 2001.

“The notion there was a deal involving the $650,000 … It’s a very unlikely version of events.”

He said it “speaks loudly” that Ms Robinson’s husband, Peter Robinson, was not aware of the alleged agreement until years later.

The trial continues.

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