VID770/2010 Pat Eatock v Andrew Bolt & HWT
Wed 30 March 2011
The case resumed after the lunch recess, with senior co-counsel Mr Herman Borenstein SC for the applicant group members continuing to cross-examine Mr Bolt as to what his intention was in making some of the substantive statements in the articles that are the subject of the proceedings.
Mr Borenstein had difficulty in confining Mr Bolt to the questions that were put to him, and Mr Bolt was determined to qualify most of his answers regarding his intentions such that at one stage Mr Borenstein asked a bit exacerbated is there a “vibe” that should be detected by Mr Bolt's readers?
Mr Bolt referred Mr Borenstein back to his response of the previous day, being essentially the point that assuming an Aboriginal identity could be done, in his opinion, for a political reasons and through making this choice certain consequences are available after that.
Mr Borenstein took Mr Bolt to one of his articles where a person was identified as being gay and put it to Mr Bolt that he had included that information on the person’s sexual identity in the article in a gratuitous way and for the purpose of imputing a derogatory meaning about the person.
Mr Bolt exploded in response from the witness box, saying very strongly that in no way did he use the term gay as an insult. Mr Bolt added that the godfather of his children was gay and also he had helped a gay Aboriginal person to secure a column with his HWT employer. To be depicted falsely as a bigot in this way, and in all the newspapers yesterday morning as linked to the Nazi movement and eugenics, was an unforgiveable travesty he said.
Mr Bolt said that he strongly condemned homophobia and had been committed to this position extensively through his columns and blogs.
So incensed was Mr Bolt that his Honour asked if he might like a 10 minute break from the witness box.
Mr Bolt calmed down a bit, and elected to press on, but still looking indignant and fuming said that he did not agree that his use of the term gay in the article was an implied insult.
The cross-examination of Mr Bolt ended on the issue of why he had included the saving-clause or disclaimer, as Mr Borenstein put it, in one of Mr Bolt’s article that “I’m not saying any of those I’ve named chose to be Aboriginal for anything but the most heartfelt and honest of reasons. I certainly don’t accuse them of opportunism, even if full-blood Aborigines may wonder how such fair people can claim to be one of them and in some cases take black jobs”, where Mr Bolt did not then repeat this or something similar in a subsequent article. Mr Bolt answered that it had probably not occurred to him and in any event the articles did not need a disclaimer.
It was planned that the next day the Defence would make its final submissions and closing, with the final submissions and closing of the Applicant group members on the Friday.
...The proceedings were then adjourned by Justice Bromberg for the next day...
[David Barrow of Melbourne]