Tv Presenter May just Face Contempt of Court docket Fees

Tv Presenter May just Face Contempt of Court docket Fees


The trial of Bruce Lehrmann, the person accused of sexually assaulting Brittany Higgins in Parliament Area in 2019, was once because of start within the Ideally suited Court docket of the Australian Capital Territory on Monday.

However an acceptance speech through tv presenter Lisa Wilkinson has resulted within the trial being ‘vacated’ (cancelled) because of the unfair prejudice it would purpose to the defendant.

Ms Wilkinson made the speech when she authorized the Silver Logie for her protection of the Higgins tale.

Then again, her statements supporting the complainant are reported to were made after she was once warned no longer to take action through the court docket in a pre-trial convention on 15 June 2022,  as she is a possible prosecution witness within the trial.

In keeping with reviews, Ms Wilkinson was once in particular warned to not make such statements on the nationally televised Logies as this would lead to an unfair trial, and her behavior has the prospective to land the presenter at the fallacious facet of the legislation – with contempt of court docket fees now being thought to be in opposition to her.

Justice not on time, as soon as once more

It’s continuously stated that justice not on time is justice denied, and court docket delays created through COVID restrictions have surely ended in an extended stay up for justice for all events involved in court docket complaints – be they complainants, defendants or their members of the family.

The alleged sexual attack of Brittany Higgins came about on 22/23 March 2019. Fees had been laid in opposition to Mr Lehrmann in 2021, in a while after Ms Higgins went public along with her tale on 15 February 2021.

It’s now mid-2022, and the trial has been not on time till 4 October 2022 – when it’s anticipated to begin except there are any longer incidents.

Prime profile case

A huge quantity of media and public consideration has been positioned at the case since final 12 months.

It’s credited for triggering March 4 Ladies rallies in all places the rustic, in addition to quite a few critiques and investigations into the poisonous place of work tradition inside Parliament Area and its related places of work.

Commentators, reporters, social media keyboard warriors and the folks suave sufficient to make memes have all chimed in, in more than a few techniques, on details about the case that’s to be had within the public area.

Doable unfair prejudice

In Might this 12 months, Mr Lehrmann’s attorneys asserted their considerations in regards to the overwhelmingly adversarial exposure to their consumer, particularly on this age of social media the place everybody turns out to have a robust opinion and isn’t afraid to voice it, and the place unfairly prejudicial knowledge has the prospective to head ‘viral’.

Mr Lehrmann’s defence crew made an software to the court docket for a everlasting keep of complaints at the foundation that the serious and extended exposure would make it unattainable to search out 12 independent jurors required for an even trial.

That is an software to completely halt the complaints, which is other to a brief keep software which, if a hit, ends up in a tribulation being postponed till the have an effect on of the unfair prejudice subsides.

Their software was once disregarded.

Lisa Wilkinson may face prison fees

Then again, shifting onto the occasions of new days, it’s been reported that the Ideally suited Court docket warned Lisa Wilkinson forward of the Logies – in a pre-trial convention previous this month – to not point out the case in her speech, as she is anticipated to be known as as a witness within the trial.

For the reason that Brittany’s tale is the very piece of journalism that Ms Wilkinson gained the award for, some might argue that it was once unattainable for her to not point out it.

However Lisa Wilkinson is a veteran journalist, editor and tv presenter.

Many that paintings in those spaces of media may argue that she must have recognized higher, and ‘stored her speech transient’ taking into account the Higgins vs Lehrmann trial was once most effective days away.

Sure, we want folks to talk up about sexual attack. However on this example, timing has been crucial.

It’s imaginable that underneath the instances, Lisa Wilkinson might now face prison fees.

Presumption of innocence

Mr Lehrmann has at all times maintained his innocence and, in Australia, he’s entitled to be presumed blameless till and except he’s confirmed to be in charge in a court docket of legislation.

A brand new trial date of four October 2022 has been set – a lengthen which is indisputably a unhappiness to each the complainant and defendant, who will nearly surely be short of to transport ahead with their lives. It’s was hoping the placement will subside through then with out additional incidents giving upward thrust to the potential for an unfair trial.

ACT Leader Justice Lucy McCallum stated she not on time the case “regrettably and with gritted tooth” and that ” someplace on this debate, the respect between an untested allegation and the reality of guilt has been misplaced”.

Contempt of court docket in New South Wales

A contempt of court docket is an act that has the tendency to intervene with or undermine the authority, efficiency, or dignity of the court docket or those that take part in court docket complaints.

The next behavior has been discovered to fulfill the prison take a look at for contempt:

  • Protracted swearing and yelling at a Justice of the Peace,
  • Filming witnesses in an try to intimidate them,
  • Evading questions in court docket or refusing to reply to them,
  • Refusing to take an oath or confirmation in court docket,
  • Refusing to depart the court docket after being directed to take action, and
  • Disobeying court docket orders similar to subpoenas to wait court docket or to supply proof, or to not remark publicly a couple of case.

For an individual to be discovered in charge of contempt of, the prosecution will have to identify every of the next ‘components’ (or elements) of the offence past a cheap doubt:

  1. The defendant engaged in behavior that had the tendency to intervene with or undermine the authority, efficiency or dignity of the court docket or those that take part in court docket complaints, and
  2. The defendant supposed to do the act.

The prosecution will fail if it can not end up every of those components to the desired usual.

It is very important word, on the other hand, that the prosecution isn’t required to end up that the defendant supposed to in fact intervene with the management of justice – simply that she or he supposed to do an act which, considered through a cheap particular person, had the tendency to take action.

Felony defences

Along with the requirement to end up every part of the offence, the prosecution will have to additionally disprove any of the next defences if correctly raised:

  • Duress, which is the place you had been threatened or coerced,
  • Necessity, the place the act was once important to avert threat, and
  • Self-defence, the place you engaged within the act to shield your self or every other

It will have to disprove the sort of defences past all affordable doubt.

Protecting contempt of court docket fees

Prior to you’ll be discovered in charge of contempt of court docket, the prosecution will have to end up past a cheap doubt that:

  1. You engaged in behavior that had the tendency to intervene with or undermine the authority, efficiency, or dignity of the court docket or those that take part in court docket complaints, and
  2. You supposed to do this act.

There are a variety of the way to shield contempt of court docket fees, together with elevating the truth that:

  1. The prosecution can not end up you engaged within the alleged behavior,
  2. The prosecution can not end up that behavior had the tendency to intervene with or undermine the authority, efficiency, or dignity of the court docket or those that take part in court docket complaints,
  3. The prosecution can not end up you supposed to do the act, somewhat than did it through reason why of recklessness or mistake, or
  4. You could have a sound prison defence which the prosecution can not disprove past a cheap doubt.

If any of those issues be triumphant, you will have to be discovered no longer in charge of the offence.



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