Fear not fairness: trial by the Sunday Telegraph
7 May 2007
The Sunday Telegraph's self-proclaimed "legal victory" â its decision to publish the names of those who provided written character statements for Dr Patrick Power - is nothing of the sort.
"The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph are jeopardising the administration of justice in this state", said the president of the New South Wales Bar Association, Mr Michael Slattery QC.
"During the weekend of 5-6 May, articles were published regarding the trial of Dr Patrick Power. Through a combination of misleading headlines and inadequate explanation about the purpose of character statements, the articles portray the witnesses as accessories to a crime or supporters of criminal conduct", said Mr Slattery.
Every day, throughout New South Wales, thousands of people assist the administration of justice by giving evidence or written character statement to our courts, which may be used when determining sentences.
"Our system of justice cannot operate fairly or efficiently if witnesses are subjected to this kind of public humiliation.
"Through these actions the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph will deter people in the future from coming forward to give evidence if they fear public humiliation.
"If the editors are as concerned about the administration of justice as they claim, they will surely realise the consequences of their actions over the weekend. They have scored the legal equivalent of an own-goal", Mr Slattery said.
For further information, contact Chris Winslow at the Bar Association on ph: (02) 9229 1732 or mob: 0409 245 369.