Monday, 28 March 2011

Taking Andrew Bolt on through the courts - Part 3: David Barrow's Court Report No. 1 #andrewbolt #aboriginality #indigenous #raceissues #courtproceedings



VID770/2010 Pat Eatock v Andrew Bolt & HWT
Mon 28 March 2011
Mr Ron Merkel QC opened the case for the class action group members this morning before Justice Bromberg of the Federal Court in Melbourne.

Mr Andrew Bolt was in attendance in the public gallery flanked by his legal team. Another 70 or so members of the public attended the proceeding.

Mr Merkel opened the case by stressing that this was not a case about freedom of speech, as the applicants did not seek to interfere with Mr Bolt putting forward a theory to be test, even if it is wrong. He is welcome to contend that the earth is flat, for instance.

He said, however, that comments were made by Mr Bolt which identified particular individuals and caused them hurt in a wide public arena through publication of false allegations that those people with fairer-skin that identified themselves as aboriginals were not actually genuine in that identification and that they did so for some unfair gain.

Mr Merkel also said that Mr Bolt’s comments in the 4 articles identified for the trial were gratuitous and designed to denigrate the people mentioned, and used selective journalism in a systematic and misleading way.

Witnesses planned to be called this afternoon for the applicant’s side are Bindi Cole and Larissa Behrendt, with Pat Eatock planned to be called Tuesday morning. The defence will have an opportunity to cross-examine each of these witnesses when they appear.

In a departure from the usual court practice, the witnesses called for the applicant’s side will have an opportunity to read out a statement to the court. Leave was granted for this by Justice Bromberg given the case has some public interest, the issues are of a personal nature, and Mr Merkel persuaded his Honour that it would be appropriate in the circumstances that the witnesses have an opportunity to put forward the full context of their versions of the situation.

Another 6 witness statements were also tendered into evidence this morning but the defence elected not to cross-examine these witnesses.

[David Barrow of Melbourne]
Please note that links in this report have been placed there by Miss Eagle to assist people who may not be familiar with the people mentioned in the report 

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