With thanks for contributions from Leanne O’Donnell (@mslods / mslods.com), Virginia Leighton-Jackson and Griffith University media freedom interns
Gallagher v. Destiny Publications Pty Ltd  WASC 40 (4 February 2015)
- In 2014 a defamation case was brought against the National Indigenous Times in regards to several publications. During the trial, the journalist in question sought to send emails to the judge presiding over the case via his associate to claim that he was innocent and would not be engaging with the rest of the trial because he had been telling the truth. Gerasimas Georgatos (the journalist) then faced contempt charges in the Western Australia Supreme Court for allegedly trying to interfere with the due administration of justice by sending inappropriate, improper, and offensive emails. The court found the contempt charge had not been proven beyond reasonable doubt, although the emails were deemed to be highly offensive. Excellent analysis of the case spelling out the elements of contempt by lawyer Greg Carter at http://www.gregcarter.com.au/2015/02/09/wa-supreme-court-on-contempt-for-improper-communications-with-the-other-parties-their-legal-advisers-and-the-court/
Gallagher v. Destiny Publications Pty Ltd  WASC 40 (4 February 2015), < http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/sinodisp/au/cases/wa/WASC/2015/40.html>
Jurors’ and contempt of court:
- Bayden-Clay murder trial juror downloads material
- During the Bayden-Clay murder trial in 2014, the jury was told not to seek outside help as they retired to consider the verdict on the former Brisbane real estate agent accused of murdering his wife.
- Despite the order, one juror was dismissed after he downloaded a US guide to jury service from the internet. In total, three jurors were dismissed from service, but the trial was not aborted.
ABC. 11.07.2014, “Bayden-Clay murder trial: jury told not to seek outside help as it retires to consider verdict on former Brisbane real estate agent accused of murdering wife”, ABC News, < www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-10/bayden-clay-jury-retires-to-consider-verdict5586938>
- Queensland trial aborted when juror conducts Facebook research
- Two months after the Bayden-Clay incident, another Queensland murder trial was affected by juror misconduct. The August 2014 trial was aborted when a juror researched the defendant and the alleged victim on Facebook.
- Section 69A of Queensland’s Jury Act 1995 states: “A person who has been sworn as a juror in a criminal trial must not inquire about the defendant in the trial until the jury of which the person is a member has given its verdict, or the person has been discharged by the judge.” The incident was referred to the Qld Attorney General to decide if charges against the juror should be laid.
Keim, T. 09.08.2014, “Queensland murder trial aborted as juror researches case on Facebook”, The Courier Mail, <http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/queensland-murder-trial-aborted-as-juror-researches-case-on-facebook/story-fnihsrf2-1227018323050>
- Trial aborted when juror tries to break deadlock
- An earlier 2013 trial in the Queensland District Court was aborted when a juror used google to research the defendant in order to try and break a deadlock in verdict deliberations
- The juror circulated material which related the public perception of the plaintiff’s charge of child sexual abuse and his prior criminal history
Walker, J. 14.09.2013, “Juror faces charges over web search of defendants past”, The Australian, < http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/juror-faces-charges-over-web-search-on-defendants-past/story-e6frg6nf-1226718883946 >