“On March 17, Justice Brereton in the Supreme Court of NSW stated there is a seriously arguable case that Seven Network has engaged in conduct that constitutes an interference with Network Ten’s agreement with Mr Stephens.

“In light of recent events, and this case, Network Ten is not prepared to be bullied. Network Ten believes Seven Network has induced breach of, and interfered with, its contract with Mr Stephens.”

It is believed Stephens was on painkillers while recovering from a hip operation.

Ten is pursuing Seven in the Supreme Court of NSW for interfering with the contract Stephens had signed with the network. Seven is arguing Stephens had a change of heart and did not have a clear mind, after initially accepting the job at Ten.

In a statement yesterday, Seven said Stephens “decided to remain at the Seven Network, despite Network Ten’s public announcement on March 7 that he would be joining Ten and was critically important to Ten’s turnaround strategy”.

“Yesterday in the Supreme Court, Justice (Paul) Brereton not only refused Ten’s application for interlocutory relief against Seven and Mr Stephens but also ordered Ten to pay Seven and Mr Stephens’s legal costs,” the statement read.

After declaring yesterday that Stephens would begin work on June 9, Ten’s statement today appears to accept Stephens is lost but the court battle has just begun.