A long-running legal battle between two former CBH directors — one who is now WAFarmers president — will drag on for the foreseeable future after a mediation session in WA’s Supreme Court this week failed to reach an outcome. The former chairman of Australia’s biggest co-operative Wally Newman launched legal action against his one time board colleague John Hassell in July over explosive claims Mr Hassell made in a letter to the board, in print and radio interviews, and at CBH’s annual general meeting. Countryman understands there was expected to be an outcome during mediation in WA’s Supreme Court on Tuesday, but the parties were unable to come to a resolution. The pair served on the CBH board for almost a decade until Mr Hassell stepped down in 2018 to focus on running for a Federal political seat. In a writ filed in the WA Supreme Court last year, Mr Newman, a Newdegate farmer, claimed his former fellow director defamed him over two matters between December 2019 and February 2020. The legal action comes after Mr Hassell, recently elected WAFarmers president, gave a series of interviews in early 2020, accusing Mr Newman of making sexist comments towards a woman at a grains conference in Melbourne in 2017 and not honouring what Mr Hassell alleged was a subsequent agreement to step down from the board. The writ did not say what the defamatory claims were, but each of the stories Mr Newman claims contained defamatory material centre on the allegations he made the sexist remarks during a grains conference in Melbourne in 2017, a revelation made public by Mr Hassell in the lead-up to the CBH grower elections in February. Mr Newman alleged in the writ the first defamatory matter was contained in a letter to CBH directors just before Christmas 2019, and also broadcast by Mr Hassell in a radio interview with ABC journalist Emma Field on February 14 2020. Mr Hassell is also alleged to have spoken in other interviews, which were also cited in the writ. Mr Newman and Mr Hassell served on the board together for nine years but towards the end of that term were part of what Countryman understands were two separate factions of the board. Together, they fought off a multimillion-dollar pitch to CBH grower members by Australian Grains Champion to corporatise the now 87-year-old co-operative. Speaking to Countryman on Tuesday, Mr Hassell said he “felt flat the issue wasn’t resolved” but declined to comment further. Mr Newman, who resigned from the CBH board last year, did not return calls. A date for the next mediation has not yet been set.