Besieged land developers Allen Caratti and Tina Bazzo have failed to keep their evidence secret in a $12 million loan skirmish as they gird themselves for a battle potentially 50 times bigger. Lawyers for Ms Bazzo and Allen Caratti made a list-ditch bid on Monday to stop lawyers working for Allen Caratti’s older brother John Caratti watching the couple testify and be cross-examined in a fight with their last-ditch financiers. And in secrecy moves rejected by Supreme Court judge Michael Lundberg, the couple’s legal team also failed to kick journalists out on the basis John might read about the testimony in news reports. Guarantees allegedly held by financier Reliance Capital are linked to a swathe of contentious residential land development projects embarked upon by Ms Bazzo and Allen in the 2000s. John and Allen have been locked in a Supreme Court battle since 2008 over a land-rich family partnership set up by their late father Sergio ‘Mick’ Caratti and believed to hold assets worth upwards of $500m. John claimed that Allen breached his fiduciary duty to the partnership by acquiring new business interests through other structures, including companies linked to Ms Bazzo. By the late 2000s, Ms Bazzo and Mr Caratti accumulated heavily-geared land holdings with a gross value potentially exceeding $1 billion, including prized Esperance farms. But their fortunes withered last decade in WA’s chronic residential property slump. The Bazzo-directed flagship Gucce Holdings is now caught up in liquidations funded by the Australian Taxation Office. Allen Caratti and Ms Bazzo will this week give the Supreme Court their version of events from when companies linked to Reliance bosses Tony and Steve Masel began financing Gucce and some battling suburban projects in 2013. Arguing the court be closed for the couple’s evidence, barrister Alan Rumsley said a lawyer working for John Caratti’s senior adviser Mintie Tantaprasut was taking notes in the back of the court during legal argument last week. Mr Rumsley said evidence was being collected by John to be used in other litigation and claimed he would still be able to learn what was said from news reports if journalists were not kept out. Mr Rumsley withdrew the application to close the court for Allen’s evidence after Justice Lundberg suggested that the John learning about testimony was a “natural effect of any litigation”. But the barristers pushed ahead with the application to close the court for Ms Bazzo’s evidence based on medical evidence provided last year that led to Justice Lundberg ordering extra breaks when she gave evidence. When asked to explain the lateness of the application to the court, Mr Rumsley said he did not appreciate until Saturday the likely impact of John’s lawyers watching Ms Bazzo give evidence. The elder brother’s close scrutiny of this case “is part of what is going on — it is not isolated”. “Ms Bazzo’s concerns is about what she will be reading tomorrow,’ Mr Rumsley said. The orders were opposed by Reliance. Rejecting the secrecy push, Justice Lundberg said no evidence was presented to warrant the court shifting from its primary position of open justice. Allen and Ms Bazzo might not start testifying until Wednesday as lawyers continue on Tuesday to argue about pleadings and evidence.