Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Taking Andrew Bolt on through the courts - Part 8: David Barrow's Court Report No. 5 #aboriginality #indigenous #raceissues #courtproceedings

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COURT REPORT #5

VID770/2010 Pat Eatock v Andrew Bolt & HWT
Tue 29 March 2011

As the proceedings continued in the morning following Larissa Behrendt’s evidence, Mr Young QC for Mr Bolt and HWT opened the case for the Defence.

Mr Young said that the case was adequately set out in the Defence pleadings and it essentially concerned issues as to the application of sections 18C and 18D of the Racial Discrimination Act to the publications in question.

Ultimately this is a balance between free speech and publications that may be likely to offend groups, he said.

However he made a forceful submission that this was not a case about the holocaust, Hitler race laws or eugenics.

Such views are unusual and extreme, he said, and are very offensive to be associated incorrectly with his clients – and are irrelevant to the issues in this case.

Mr Young then called Mr Andrew Bolt to the witness stand.

Mr Bolt’s counsel then sought an opportunity for Mr Bolt to respond to some comments made by Mr Ron Merkel QC when Merkel opened the case for the applicant group members yesterday morning.

Mr Merkel, rose to his feet and objected that such an indulgence would see Mr Bolt giving a speech not giving evidence.

Justice Bromberg was a bit troubled by the prospect of Mr Bolt giving a speech, but was persuaded by his counsel Mr Young that the response could be elicited by asking questions of Mr Bolt in the usual way of counsel in adducing evidence.

There was a short recess then for Mr Bolt’s counsel to study the transcript of yesterday morning (a copy of which was lent to them by their opposite counsel as the version for Bolt & HWT had gone astray).

When the matter resumed Mr Bolt was asked a question artfully by Mr Young such that he was able to give a response which referenced certain extracts of the transcript which read (approx):
* Mr Bolt has taken us back to that eugenics then [of Nazi Germany] of aborigines
* Mr Bolt is a man living in a mindset frozen in a point in time [controlled breeding eugenics of Nazi Germany]
* this kind of thinking led to the Nuremburg [Race] Laws

* the holocaust started with words and ended in violence
Mr Merkel submitted that such comments were not directed at Mr Bolt but rather the process that is reflected in the types of articles that Mr Bolt published.

Mr Bolt was given an opportunity to enter his response, and said that the references were false, grossly offensive and that he had been a vigorous opponent against eugenics is columns all of his life.

...Cross-examination then ensued...

[David Barrow of Melbourne]


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