Justice Lucy McCallum has used the George Pell child sex abuse matter as an example of suppression orders that don’t work because she says the judgment has been published on the internet by international media even though there is allegedly suppression orders which has stopped the Australian media from reporting it?
I say “allegedly” because I have not seen any suppression orders regarding the matter and I asked the court for a copy of the suppression orders as per the below emails and they have failed to give me a copy even though they knew I was about to publish this article.
Justice Lucy McCallum is the defamation list judge for the Supreme Court of NSW. All defamation matters in the Supreme Court go before her for directions and she is meant to be the number one expert for suppression orders in NSW.
I have looked online and immediately found articles by international media saying what the decision in the George Pell child sex abuse case was. I am not in a position to say whether those articles are true or not the same as I cannot confirm whether there are suppression orders on the matter although the Australian media’s coverage of the case has been non-existent for months which suggests there might be suppression orders. But that is not the point of this article. The key issue here is if there are suppression orders then why haven’t they been lifted or at least modified given the international media coverage and even Justice Lucy McCallum has seen fit to openly speak about the issue in court in front on numerous journalists. And of course there is the bigger issue of whether suppression orders should have been issued in the first place if they were issued but that can be dealt with at a later time.
My main source that there is suppression orders on the George Pell matter is Justice Lucy McCallum and my main source that the suppression orders are futile and a waste of time and that it is ok and legal to talk about it is also Justice Lucy McCallum. Although the Victorian County Court is refusing to confirm anything including whether there are suppression orders in place. There is plenty of reports online but what is true or not I do not know.
Justice McCallum’s comments in court
I was at the Supreme Court of NSW in Sydney on the 17th of January 2019 for Craig McLachlan’s defamation case against Christie Whelan Browne, Fairfax Media and the ABC. McLachlan had applied to have his defamation matter stayed as a few days earlier he had been charged in Victoria for sexual assault offences. McLachlan was granted as stay but during the course of the hearing the issue of suppression orders was debated on part of the evidence before the court. I thought Justice McCallum said that “suppression orders don’t work” and then said ”the George Pell matter is an example where the public can go online and find the decision in the matter from international media who have reported it.”
I put questions to Justice McCallum and the court responded via their CEO Chris D’Aeth who also attached transcript of that part of the hearing. The transcript had McLachlan’s lawyer Stuart Littlemore QC saying words to the effect that “suppression orders don’t work” and Justice McCallum agreeing and then responding with the George Pell example in line with what I had remembered. So Justice McCallum had agreed that suppression orders don’t work but never actually said it which was my mistake.
As a side issue I asked Stuart Littlemore a few questions on video after court but he refused to answer. (Click here to watch the video on Twitter.) (You will need to unmute the sound on Twitter)
Below is the email chain between myself, Justice Lucy McCallum’s chambers and the CEO of the court Chris D’Aeth.
From: SHANE DOWLING
Sent: 24 January 2019 12:56
To: Nicole Sinclair <email@example.com>
Subject: Media request – George Pell comments by Justice McCallum
Dear Justice McCallum
I was in court for the Craig McLachlan matter on the 17th of January 2019 and heard comments you made about suppression orders and George Pell.
You said that “suppression orders don’t work” and said ”the George Pell matter is an example where the public can go online and find the decision in the matter from international media who have reported it.”
Can you confirm what you said and that it was said in open court so it is covered by absolute privilege and it is OK for me to report it.
Can you please respond ASAP so I can publish
As I perviously wrote McLachlan’s lawyer Stuart Littlemore QC said words to the effect that “suppression orders don’t work” not Justice McCallum but she agreed and then used the George Pell example.
McCallum responded to my above email via Chris D’Aeth in the below email.
From: Chris D’Aeth <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: 25 January 2019 10:35
To: Shane Dowling
Subject: RE: Media request – George Pell comments by Justice McCallum
Dear Mr Dowling,
I refer to your email to the chambers of Justice McCallum.
The relevant portion of the transcript is attached. As with all court transcripts, copyright in this transcript is reserved to the Crown. The reproduction, except under authority from the Crown, of the contents of this transcript for any purpose other than the conduct of these proceedings is prohibited.
The Court cannot provide you with legal advice however I would refer you to section 29 of the Defamation Act 2005. As a spectator observing proceedings you would not be protected by absolute privilege and any report you may write would have to be a ‘fair report’ within the meaning of section 29. I suggest you seek independent legal advice on this issue.
Chris D’Aeth | Executive Director & Principal Registrar | Supreme Court of New South Wales
Law Courts Building, Queens Square, 184 Phillip Street, Sydney NSW 2000
GPO Box 3 Sydney NSW 2001 | Tel: 1300 679 272
I wrote a follow-up email as per below:
From: SHANE DOWLING
Sent: 25 January 2019 11:11
To: Chris D’Aeth <email@example.com>
Subject: RE: Media request – George Pell comments by Justice McCallum
Dear Mr DÁeth
I have follow-up questions.
You refer to the section 29 of the Defamation Act 2005 in your below email. Why? Who would potentially sue for defamation? Justice McCallum?
I have not had a response to the above email.
I also wrote to the Victorian Magistrates Court and asked them about the suppression orders and what Justice McCallum said and they wrote back telling me “This matter is now with the County Court and it is their suppression order that is in place.“
So I sent an email to the County Court as per below:
From: SHANE DOWLING
Sent: 25 January 2019 09:36
Subject: George Pell suppression orders – media question
I am a journalist and plan on writing an article about the George Pell suppression orders and specifically comments made by Justice Lucy McCallum of the Supreme Court of NSW.
I was in the NSW Supreme Court for the Craig McLachlan defamation matter on the 17th of January 2019 and heard comments made by Justice Lucy McCallum about suppression orders and George Pell.
Justice McCallum said that “suppression orders don’t work” and said ”the George Pell matter is an example where the public can go online and find the decision in the matter from international media who have reported it.”
Is it OK if I publish what Justice McCallum said given it was said in open court and is covered by absolute privilege?
The County Court responded as per below:
Sent: 25 January 2019 09:51
To: SHANE DOWLING
Subject: Re: George Pell suppression orders – media question
Dear Mr Dowling,
The Court is not able to provide any advice about this order. If you consider it appropriate, you may wish to seek independent legal advice.
Media & Communications Team
County Court of Victoria
250 William Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000 | T 03 8636 6614
E firstname.lastname@example.org | W www.countycourt.vic.gov.au
I wrote the below follow-up email:
From: SHANE DOWLING
Sent: 25 January 2019 10:04
Subject: RE: George Pell suppression orders – media question
Can you send me a copy of the order you refer to below?
I haven’t had a response from the County Court and don’t expect one given they failed to respond on Friday.
Justice McCallum is a hypocrite
Justice McCallum issues suppression orders all the time that we now know she knows don’t work. The question has to be why? The answer is money talks.
If there are suppression orders will Justice Lucy McCallum be charged with contempt?
If there are suppression orders for the George Pell matter will she be charged with contempt of court in Victoria. That’s a question that needs to be answered.
Will Justice Lucy McCallum sue me for defamation.
In Chris D’Aeth’s response to me on behalf of Justice McCallum he says: “As a spectator observing proceedings you would not be protected by absolute privilege and any report you may write would have be a ‘fair report’ within the meaning of section 29.“
It shows the Supreme Court and Justice McCallum have given me the green light to write this article as long as it is a “fair report“.
But what if Justice McCallum doesn’t regard it as a “fair report”? Will she sue for defamation? I have already accused Justice McCallum many times of taking bribes and being a suspected paedophile which she knows and she is still hearing the Capilano Honey / Ben McKee defamation and injurious falsehood matter against me so I doubt any defamation lawsuit would ever happen. But it is amusing for the court to imply that Justice McCallum might sue me for defamation.
The George Pell matter will likely have a big influence on where suppression orders do and don’t go in Australia and Justice McCallum’s comments and the context that she said them in is an issue that needs raising.
Please use the Twitter, Facebook and email etc. buttons below and help promote this post.
Kangaroo Court of Australia is an independent website and is reliant on donations to keep publishing. If you would like to support the continuance of this site, please 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)
If you would like to follow this website, you can by email notification at the top right of this page and about twice a week you will be notified when there is a new article.
Thank you for your support.
Categories: Justice Lucy McCallum
The State will win. Without suppression orders the path for the truth is redirected; and the suppression of the truth will be achieved through public trials, as in Communist China and Russia.
I have been very interested for many, many years in the goings on of the Catholic Church in Australia, regarding it’s cover up of sexual crimes by clergy within the church. Its intrinsic tentacles are clearly choking any attempts by the Australian press to deliver the truth to the Australian people.
The term is “Show Trials” not public trials, as trials are mostly now.
The truth will always be twisted or subverted. It’s what Lawers do!
So called “suppression orders” can be used by defending solicitors to claim ” my client can not have a fair trial if a prospective jury hears that he has prior convictions”! On the surface that sounds fair enough ,but on the other hand if “matters” are leaked to the press and published ,the case my be dismissed ! A tacit not unknown, just another reason why we need a full and open without restrictions inquiry into the entire legal system
All those dodgy tricks that authorities have been using to cover up their antics ( defamation,suppression orders, commercial in confidence, Cabinet secrecy,etc.) have been circumvented by the Internet worldwide and leakers, both in-house and groups like Wikileaks. With bloggers based offshore, I can`t see the powers that be holding their priveledged possies for much longer. Even repressive regimes like China (I nearly said Australia :-)) are exposed to the world.
Couldn’t have said it better myself, Ross Cameron
Advances in the common law must begin from a baseline of accepted principle and proceed by conventional methods of legal reasoning.
Judges have no authority to invent legal doctrine that distorts or does not extend or modify accepted legal rules and principles.
Just to play the devils advocate, sometimes suppression orders make sense. Maybe there was other legal processes against George Pell happening concurrently. For justice you may not want a unrelated charge to tarnish concurrent processes.
Though at the same time there is a need to fulfill public interest and to show transparency of process, particularly in high profile cases. The Internet is a conundrum for jurisdictional impositions of censorship. Not a single country can censor another.
In the end I believe full transparency must be accepted both with its advantages and disadvantages. It is only through transparency that a public can have trust in its justice system.
Is the trust in the justice system to the public more important than the legal protection of a few?
In general I would like to say yes, but when minors are involved it gets tricky. Maybe the power to invoke a suppression order should not be given to a single judge but to a jury as well. Let a subsection of public society decide before suppression orders are given. I think the public would be more satisfied with the use of suppression orders if they had a representation in their usage.
It’s pretty obvious suppression laws are a waste of time with news of the world being so available these days. Our pathetic justice system can’t even get sentencing fair and right so it’ll probably take them the next 100 years to figure that one out.
Very appropriate name for a barrister “Littlemore” Is that some one who gives Little for More. Mr D`Aeth I hear dyslexia is very common amongst the privilege classes of Australia and this is a misspelling of the real name D`Eath
Privileges and discretions are allowed to our judiciary and the courts in which they serve.
Then a further relevant fact proves to us that the ‘not necessarily legal practitioners’ but persons to claim they are legal professionals are provided with a capacity to insist on unwarranted privileges that set these species apart from the Common Laws of Australia.
While also providing these same with a much-abused sleight of hand legitimacy to carry out their trade, never mind that many in the number of these exclusives are able to get by irrespective that they are practicing dishonesty and deception in order to secure their fees.
A Google search turns up all the information needed about this judgement.