Seven West Media’s barrister Keiran Smark argued in court on Friday before Justice Ian Harrison that I should be jailed for reporting that Samantha Armytage and Rebecca Gibney were the alleged lovers of SWM CEO Tim Worner and subsequently breaching a dodgy suppression order.
There have been a number of media reports with the SMH reporting:
A rogue blogger who published documents accusing two on-screen identities at Network Seven of having affairs with boss Tim Worner should be jailed for contempt of court, the lawyer acting for the women has urged the Supreme Court.
The women, given the pseudonyms Jane Doe 1 and 2, were named by blogger Shane Dowling during the height of the legal battle between Mr Worner and his former lover Amber Harrison.
Dowling said the case “was a huge free speech, political communication and public interest matter”.
“If Australian courts are going to jail or penalise journalists for doing nothing more than reporting the news then Australia is no better than China or Russia,” he said. (Click here to read more)
Whether or not the suppression orders were legitimate is still to be decided by Justice Lucy McCallum who has sat on her reserved judgment since March this year. The reality is there is no legal justification for the suppression orders and they are just part of another SLAPP lawsuit (Strategic lawsuit against public participation) being run by Seven West Media and Kerry Stokes. It must be noted that Justice McCallum is good friends with Seven’s lawyer Justine Munsie.
The allegations were made by Amber Harrison in legal documents that were tendered to the Australian Human Rights Commission in her battle with Seven and I believe the allegations are covered by the defence of absolute privilege as well as other defences and that is why they have not sued Amber Harrison for defamation. And that is also why Samantha Armytage and Rebecca Gibney have also refused to file affidavits to deny the allegations.
Kerry Stokes, Ryan Stokes and Seven are using Samantha Armytage and Rebecca Gibney as a front to run the legal proceedings against me to try and close the whole story down. This was confirmed by Seven’s lawyer Richard Keegan when he gave evidence in February and ultimately admitted that Seven West Media are paying for the case and that Kerry Stokes has a hands on role managing the case. (Click here to read more)
My motivation for reporting the allegations were clearly journalist as the allegations go far past whether or not Armytage and Gibney had sexual relationships with Worner. The real story is Tim Worner and the Seven West Media directors using $millions of shareholder’s funds to cover-up Tim Worner’s sexual relationships and the question has to be asked has that happened with other women which Amber Harrison’s Australian Human Rights Commission statement suggests.
When Seven are busy pushing the line that they paid Amber Harrison $400,000 (highly inflated by Seven) Seven forget to realise that it is also in effect an admission of a $400,000 fraud by Seven management as they cannot justify paying her that amount of shareholders money. Trying to cover-up a sexual relationship with the CEO is no legitimate reason to spend the money and the Directors should be made to pay the money back and should be investigated by the police. And by trying to jail me Seven are also sending a message to all journalists to not dig too deep into the story as Seven are scared of being exposed.
My motivation for standing up to the dodgy suppression order is standing up to the judicial corruption that allows issuing suppression orders like they are going out of fashion which denies people free speech, political communication and is clearly not in public interest. The battle against against dodgy suppression orders is one I have been fighting since 2014 when Kerry Stokes took out a super-injunction against one of my articles. And more recently in the Capilano Honey matter that was instituted against me in October 2016 which is also being driven by Kerry Stokes as he owns 20% of the company and they bare using his lawyers.
It would be interesting for someone to count how many suppression orders Kerry Stokes, Seven and his other companies have taken out against people over the years because I have no doubt there would be dozens.
Background – I wrote the below background in a previous article on the matter (Click here to read)
On the 18th of December 2016, I wrote an article about Amber Harrison emailing a press release about the abuse of the legal system that Seven West Media conducted over a number of years regarding an agreement she had with the company. It detailed a sexual relationship with the CEO Tim Worner, drug use, fraud and abuse of shareholders’ funds.
I also wrote in the article: “There are reports that Tim Worner has had sexual relationships with at least 4 other staff members at Seven which include an actress and on-air-host. I am reliably told the actress is Rebecca Gibney and the on-air-host is Samantha Armytage.“ (Click here to read more)
Samantha Armytage and Rebecca Gibney instituted defamation proceedings against me which is being paid for by Seven West Media and driven by Kerry Stokes. They also managed to get a dodgy suppression order so they could not be named by the media.
I have continually breached the suppression order because it was blatantly corruptly issued and there is no legal justification for it. The courts are issuing suppression orders like candy and they are corrupt orders. In Victoria, they are currently reviewing suppression orders because they have had the same problem with judges issuing dodgy suppression orders and a review also needs to happen in NSW if not all of Australia.
Contempt proceedings were instituted against me by Armytage and Gibney which again was paid for by Seven West Media and run by Kerry Stokes and I was found guilty.
Justice Harrison’s judgment – 15th March 2017 (Click here to read the full judgment)
Justice Harrison has now heard the sentencing hearing on Friday (21/7/2017). I was not not at the hearing and emailed in written submissions. (Click here to read my submissions)
An old media company trying to jail a new media journalist
Kerry Stokes has a long history of suing anyone and everyone. Ten years ago Stokes sued Channel Nine, Channel 10, Telstra, News Corp and 20 odd other companies in the infamous C7 case. So suing me is no surprise. I wrote about the C7 case in 2011 which upset Stokes as he was caught giving “knowingly false” evidence under oath and he fired off a legal letter which I ignored and used for content for another post.
So Stokes has been on my case for a long time. He’s a nutter so this is really not an old media versus new media battle. It’s about a nutter who should have been exposed years ago for his corrupt business dealings and his abuse of the legal system which will likely be his downfall.
Will the judicial corruption be exposed?
About 30 years ago Australia had a judicial crisis that went all the way to the High Court of Australia with Justice Lionel Murphy being charged and investigated numerous times. That story is about to be given new exposure as the government releases secret files containing new evidence on Monday from a past government inquiry:
On Monday, after 31 years, the nation’s most enduring judicial scandal is set to be reignited when Federal Parliament releases top secret documents from a 1986 parliamentary commission of inquiry set up to determine Lionel Keith Murphy’s fitness to sit as a judge on the highest court in the land. The “Class A” documents were approved for release by Speaker Tony Smith and Senate President Stephen Parry.
The inquiry, which was heard in-camera from May through to August, 1986, was halted when it was revealed that Murphy had terminal cancer. He died in October 1986, aged 64.
Murphy had endured two earlier parliamentary inquiries and two criminal trials. The first found him guilty and saw him sentenced to jail. He successfully appealed and was acquitted at his second trial.
Upon his acquittal, Murphy’s determination to return to the High Court was not greeted enthusiastically by some of his fellow judges, who were rumoured to be threatening to boycott sitting with Murphy. (Click here to read more)
If corruption can be exposed once leading to the highest court in Australia it can happen again and will. And I believe anything that helps shine a light on the judicial corruption such as taking a stand against dodgy suppression orders will help expose the corruption.
Is Australia as bad as overseas?
Journalists and bloggers are jailed around the world on a regular basis so it’s nothing new but for it to happen in Australia would set a new low. Do a search for “journalist jailed” or “blogger jailed” and you’ll see dozens of stories but most relate to dictatorships or communist countries. If I do get jailed then we can no longer criticize other countries for jailing journalists for doing their jobs.
Kerry Stokes having another go
Seven West Media instituted another contempt case against me on Friday for a website that no longer exists and which is now owned by Kerry Stokes but that is another story for another time. Stokes thinks he’s on a role with court victories and won’t stop. But the reality is he is doing nothing more than expose himself and his cronies for who they are and shining a light on their criminal activities.
This story has a long way to go and I’ll stand my ground and continue to fight. As I said I wasn’t at the hearing and emailed in submissions and haven’t been contacted by the court since. But from reading the SMH article I understand the judge will send me the transcript and give me until the 4th of August to file further submissions and then hand down his judgement on sentencing sometime after that.
Legal costs – Please donate
I represent myself in court but the costs are still high with Seven West Media’s and Kerry Stokes continual war of law against me. I now work full-time and in recent times have had to cut back on the number of articles partly due to the time spent dealing with the legal matters. The key elements of the legal battles are about defending the rights to free speech, our rights to political communication and corruption issues that need to be exposed in the public interest. I believe it is a battle worth fighting and if you do as well it would be greatly appreciated if you read below and donate.
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