The ABC’s Media Watch program broadcast a story on Monday about the Federal Government’s super-injunction which clarified two issues from my last post. Firstly the Government’s suppression order was not a super-injunction and secondly the suppression order by Kerry Stokes against me was a super-injunction. This makes it all the more scandalous for the Supreme Court of NSW and Channel 7 of which Mr Stokes is Executive Chairman.
It is not in doubt that super-injunctions and suppression orders of various types are being abused by judicial officers and even in cases such as a bail application for someone accused of murder. The reason I know it was abused in the bail application is because the judge changed his mind a few days later after an outcry by the public.
What is a super-injunction?
Super-injunctions in English law refer to a type of injunction in English tort law that prevent publication of the thing that is in issue and also prevents the reporting of the fact that the injunction exists at all. The term was coined by a Guardian journalist covering the Trafigura controversy. Due to their very nature media organisations are not able to report who has obtained a super injunction without being in contempt of court.
Justice Adams and his non-publication order regarding bail for an alleged murder
Justice Adams issued a non-publication order in the bail hearing for accused murderer Steve Fesus on the 16th June 2014. The non-publication order which is a suppression order was in relation to his judgment granting bail and the legal arguments for and against the bail. It wasn’t a super-injunction but it was never justified given Adams withdrew it himself two days later.
The SMH reported: “An accused wife killer has been granted bail in the first murder case to test the state’s new bail laws.”
“The decision to grant Steve Fesus bail on Monday was like a “slap in the face” to murder victims and their families, said anti-violence campaigner Ken Marslew, whose son was murdered in 1994.”
“Justice Adams’ reasons for granting Mr Fesus bail cannot be published. Crown prosecutor Sally Dowling’s argument against bail and Mr Fesus’ lawyer Dennis Moralis’ argument for bail have also been suppressed.” (Click here to read more)
Two days later and Justice Adams did a massive back flip. The SMH reported on the 18th of June “Justice Michael Adams initially placed a non-publication order on his reasons for granting bail. However, he lifted the suppression order on Wednesday following widespread publicity and outrage from victims’ groups.”
“He said Mr Fesus would not endanger the safety of the community and was likely to show up to future court appearances.” (Click here to read more)
How can a suppression order be justified on a Monday and then 2 days later not be justified. There was clearly no justification in the first place and I believe the likely real reason Justice Adams put a non-publication order on was because of his own personal situation where he has received recent bad publicity and will likely receive more in the near future. The recent bad publicity relates to Justice Adams suing Fairfax Media for defamation (Click here to read more) and I suspect Adams did not want the media attention for letting a suspected murderer out on bail. Obviously it backfired badly with the public criticism and he changed his mind as the media attention turned out to be worse.
So Justice Adams changed his mind because of public criticism? I thought judges were meant to act without fear or favour. Yes it is the same Justice Adams who has made me take down a number of posts for the benefit of Kerry Stokes yet has failed to publish his written reasons almost 2 months later. Adams is big on issuing court orders but light of justifying them with written reasons and that is because he cannot justify the orders.
Kerry Stokes and his super-injunction (Click here to read the previous post where I have been found in contempt and fined for breaching the super-injunction)
On the 14th April 2014 Justice Ian Harrison issued a super-injunction, in my absence and without my knowledge, in defamation proceedings against me by Kerry Stokes. The request for the super-injunction was by Kerry Stokes. It only lasted until 4pm on the 17th of April and still Justice Harrison has not published written reasons justifying it. I have obviously written about this before but one thing I have never done is refer to it as its proper name, that being a super-injunction, as it really only hit home when I was watching Media Watch on Monday. This I believe is important as it really explains the situation very simply while at the same time the term itself helps amplify how dodgy Mr Stokes super-injunction was.
Media Watch and the super-injunction that wasn’t
Media Watch’s story on Monday also pointed out some disturbing facts when it comes to suppression orders. For example “Victoria’s courts which granted this suppression order are renowned for so doing, and they’ve served up 1500 over 5 years, or more than one a day. Which is at least twice as many as the courts in NSW.” (Click here to read more or watch the story)
The first question is clearly why is Victoria issuing more than double the amount of suppression orders as NSW which has a larger population? And as you can see above with Justice Harrison and Justice Adams, NSW can’t even justify the suppression orders they are issuing so how can Victoria justify more the double NSW.
There are a lot more twists and turns to come in this issue with the Indonesian President still demanding answers as you would expect given his name has been trashed globally whether rightly or wrongly. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono says he wants “full transparency” in the case which is more than what Australia wanted. (Click here to read more) For some reason Fairfax are still reporting they cannot report the “suppression order itself” which is not correct as pointed out in the Media Watch show.
I have started my second book which will be on the subject of Kerry stokes and his super-injunction as it is a book that needs to be written because of its broader implications for all Australians if it is left unchecked. It is not just Stokes abusing the system. Plenty of others are as well including the judges of course as the above shows.
Please use the Twitter, Facebook and email etc. buttons below and help promote this post.
And make sure you follow this site by email which is at the top right of this page and about twice a week you be notified when there is a new post on this site.
This site is independent and reliant on donations to keep publishing. If you would like to support the continuance and growth of this site it would be greatly appreciated if you make a donation. Click on the button below to donate via PayPal or go to the donations page for other donation options (Click here to go to the Donations page)
Thank you for your support.