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George Pell convicted

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Pies4shaw 



Joined: 08 Oct 2007


PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:34 pm
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There is no discrete offence of "scandalising the court". But, of course, "scandalising the court", like the other things alleged, is a kind of contempt. It's a little outdated, though - I don't recall when a contempt conviction was last secured for that in Australia. Quick guess - maybe Norm Gallagher? Here's the High Court's pronouncement in that case: http://www7.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/cth/HCA/1983/2.html
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K 



Joined: 09 Sep 2011


PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:39 pm
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I would be careful not to treat all the media outlets the same too. Some with their screeching headlines about "something we aren't allowed to tell you", etc. were almost daring the OPP to charge them. They should get what they asked for.
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Pies4shaw 



Joined: 08 Oct 2007


PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:46 pm
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Weren't those headlines factually accurate? There was something and the media outlets were not allowed to tell anyone what it was.
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K 



Joined: 09 Sep 2011


PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:53 pm
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I previously tried to look them up and failed. Maybe I'll try again, but I think the headlines were hinting at what they weren't allowed to say. I guess the exact wording matters.

As for "factual accuracy", if they just said "Pell found guilty of sex charges", that would also be factually accurate.
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K 



Joined: 09 Sep 2011


PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:57 pm
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Well, the first thing I found on a (new) search just then was this (courtesy of ABC News):



I don't know if those were the worst...
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K 



Joined: 09 Sep 2011


PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 4:09 pm
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BBC's take, 26 February:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-47366083

"It made it illegal to report that any trial was taking place. Even saying that the suppression order existed was prohibited. It allowed reporting that Pell was facing abuse allegations, but nothing more specific.
...

Did everyone follow the rules?

That may be subject to legal debate but the judge expressed fury about some reporting.
...

In a specially convened court hearing on 13 December, Judge Peter Kidd said he was "angry" about media reports though he did not mention specific outlets.

"Given how potentially egregious and flagrant these breaches are, a number of very important people in the media are facing, if found guilty, the prospect of imprisonment and indeed substantial imprisonment," he told lawyers for the prosecution and defence."
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K 



Joined: 09 Sep 2011


PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 4:18 pm
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WaPo, December 12:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/a-top-cardinals-sex-abuse-conviction-is-huge-news-in-australia-but-the-media-cant-report-it-there/2018/12/12/49c0eb68-fe27-11e8-83c0-b06139e540e5_story.html

"Suppression orders — almost unheard of in the United States — are fairly common in Australia. But they are true anachronisms in the digital age, where information, thankfully, can’t be shut up in a padlocked barn.

In the meantime, publications worldwide are treading carefully, as they try to avoid legal trouble.

One of the first to publish a story on the conviction was the Daily Beast, a major news site based in New York City.

Editor in chief Noah Shachtman told me that he waded carefully into the dangerous legal waters.

“We understood there could be legal, and even criminal, consequences if we ran this story,” said. “But ultimately, this was an easy call. You’ve got a top Vatican official convicted of a horrific crime. That’s major, major news. The public deserves to know about it.”

Shachtman said the Daily Beast did its best to honor the suppression order, consulting with attorneys here and in Australia, and even “geo-blocking” the article so that it would be harder to access in Australia, and keeping headlines “relatively neutral.”



[The article claims the suppression order is "offensive". That is a ridiculous claim. It's not a permanent suppression. It's just until all legal matters have been resolved. She sounds like she has no idea about or interest in due legal process.

And why does WaPo file this sort of thing under "lifestyle"??]


Last edited by K on Mon Apr 15, 2019 4:23 pm; edited 2 times in total
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David Libra

Rose with a violent heart


Joined: 27 Jul 2003
Location: où surréal côtoie

PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 4:19 pm
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On what grounds other than "the law's the law" do you think these newspapers should be prosecuted over this? Frankly, I think Kidd needs to pull his head in and, if need be, the laws regarding suppression orders should be revisited. In no sensible world were these front pages in contempt of court.
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K 



Joined: 09 Sep 2011


PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 4:21 pm
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The biggest concern (maybe the only concern) in my opinion is that reporting can prejudice potential future jurors. That's not a new claim. This has always been a worry. The whingers, as I've said before, sound more worried about being able to say whatever they want than they are about possible mistrials, etc.
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K 



Joined: 09 Sep 2011


PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:39 pm
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'Prosecutor Stephen O'Meara QC agreed to file a more detailed statement of claim to outline the specific allegations.

Justice John Dixon said the question in his mind was whether the case should be heard as a single trial, 36 separate trials or "something in-between".

Dr Collins said that would become clearer once prosecutors had set out the allegations in greater detail.'


https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-15/george-pell-guilty-verdict-coverage-media-contempt-case/11002760
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stui magpie 

Oh the Premiership's a cakewalk


Joined: 03 May 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:47 pm
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It's an interesting one, freedom of the press vs the law of the land, each with a semi valid argument.

The suppression order apparently forbade mentioning that there was a suppression order, so headlines that something happened that we aren't allowed to tell you about is the click bait, shit stirring response by the media, as was the Lawyer X scenario with them publishing more than enough personal details to allow anyone with access to Google to figure out her name.

I know we don't have a right to free speech in our constitution, I don't believe we have anything formal about freedom of the press either.

IIRC Derren Hinch spent time in Gaol for contempt of court after releasing details about a paedophile (I'm still slightly confused how that didn't disqualify him from being elected to the senate) so there is form in Journalists defying the court.

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David Libra

Rose with a violent heart


Joined: 27 Jul 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 8:03 pm
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I do support suppression orders to an extent and understand why they exist, but I think there's a big difference between reporting on a suppressed case, reporting on the fact you can't report on a suppressed case and reporting on the fact you can't report on the fact that you can't report on a suppressed case. By the last category, which is what the newspapers were basically doing here, the issue at hand was no longer Pell but super suppression orders themselves and their effect on freedom of speech and information. That very much is a discussion in the public interest, and I think the chances of those front pages genuinely prejudicing the case (simply by reporting that there was something they couldn't report on) were minuscule.
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K 



Joined: 09 Sep 2011


PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 8:19 pm
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They were alerting and almost encouraging readers to try to Google it and find out the details elsewhere. Those readers were all potential future jurors.

When the NY Times calmly complies with the law, I don't know what good excuse local media have for not doing so.
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David Libra

Rose with a violent heart


Joined: 27 Jul 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 8:48 pm
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But I think it's entirely arguable that they were complying with the law, and that Kidd is taking an extremely draconian view of what constitutes contempt. The Google thing is a misdirection (if they were actually exhorting people to google the case, that would be one thing; but the worst possible claim is that people might get curious and google it of their own volition – which is absurd given the context of the suppression order's near total practical impotence to begin with). Of course we'll have to wait and see what the court finds, but I do think it offends principles of justice for any journalists or editors to see jail time over this. It's a totally different case to Hinch wilfully disregarding a suppression order and naming a defendant.
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K 



Joined: 09 Sep 2011


PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 8:55 pm
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But Kidd didn't charge them with contempt. That was the OPP. (You could claim they were influence by Kidd, I guess.)

One of the headlines said: "You may have read the story online already." Another article talked about "Google searches for the person's name". If those were not "actually exhorting people to google the case", what is?
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