Complete media ban sought in Cardinal Pell’s court trial

A complete media ban in Cardinal George Pell’s upcoming court trials is being sought by prosecutors.

The Victorian Department of Public Prosecutions in Australia lodged an application with the Country Court of Victoria for a “super injunction” against media coverage.

A decision about the media ban was to be decided yesterday.

Pell is accused of a number of historical sexual offences.

Legal experts say the application is an extreme move “aimed at keeping juries in both cases from learning anything that might cause bias.”

However, experts also say a trial held behind closed doors would limit accountability for the judge, jury and lawyers in the case.

The orders being sought will:

“(1) Prohibit publication of any report of the whole or any part of these proceedings and any information derived from this proceeding and any court documents associated with this proceeding.

“(2) The prohibition on publication applies within all States and Territories of Australia and on any website or other electronic or broadcast format accessible within Australia.

“(3) For the purpose of this order, ‘publication’ has the meaning attributed to it by s3 of the Open Courts Act, that is to say, it means the dissemination or provision of access to the public by any means including, publication in a book, newspaper, magazine or other written publication, or broadcast by radio or television; or public exhibition; or broadcast or electronic communication.

“(4) The order will expire upon a jury verdict in respect of the charges on the final indictment, or by further order of the court.”

The order is so broad it will operate as a “super injunction.”

If the super injunction is approved, the suppression order will apply to “any part of” the proceedings.

This means the trial may not be reported. Media won’t even be allowed to report that they’re not allowed to report.

If the application is successful, this story will have to be removed from publication.

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News category: World.

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