Friday, 1 April 2011

Taking Andrew Bolt on through the Courts - Part 14: David Barrow's Court Report No. 9 #indigenous #raceissues #courtproceedings


VID770/2010 Pat Eatock v Andrew Bolt & HWT
Thu 31 March 2011

The case resumed this morning with Mr Andrew Bolt called again to the witness box by his counsel Mr Neil Young QC primarily to tender a few extra documents.

Justice Bromberg then excused Mr Bolt from further testimony, to which Mr Bolt joked he hoped that his Honour would make that a promise.

Mr Bolt returned to the public gallery to sit again with those members of his legal team that were not at the bar table, as well as senior Herald and Weekly Times management, and I believe his wife.

Mr Young then tendered a few more relevant documents (such as academic articles and book extracts on race issues) that arose out of the examination of the witnesses in the past 3 days, and with the leave of Justice Bromberg, Mr Young then embarked on the final submissions for his clients Mr Bolt and HWT.

Thus started a thorough journey of considering the points and philosophy (jurisprudence) of the law through leading case authority and the nature of statutory interpretation, as well as reviewing all the evidence of the case and how the facts are proven by the evidence, with the law applied to the facts for the Defence said to be made out.

In summary, this journey followed the Defence pleadings of 24 January 2011 at section 4A:

Bolt claims that it is his belief that:
(a) racism is abhorrent and a gravely divisive social force, which is perpetuated by emphasising racial differences;
(b) in modern Australia, there is a discernable trend whereby persons of mixed genealogy, where that genealogy includes Aboriginality, choose to identify as Aboriginal persons, where they could choose to identify with another race or other races, or with no race at all;
(c) the applicant [Pat Eatock] and the group members illustrate that trend, in that they are each persons who choose to identify as Aboriginal persons, even though they could choose to identify with another race or other races, or with no race at all; and
(d) the trend is an undesirable social phenomenon because it emphasises racial differences, rather than common humanity.

Mr Young was slowed a number of times in his journey by Justice Bromberg seeking thoughtful assistance on the law, particularly on the jurisprudence of the issue of freedom of speech. Is there a right to a freedom of speech? To what extent is it a right that can be qualified?

Mr Young also reserved a point of possible constitutional challenge on the operation of section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

By days end, Mr Young had made it through most of his submissions, but would need to continue tomorrow. It is envisaged now that the trial will continue until at least Monday, and Mr Ron Merkel QC for the applicant group members also indicated possibly Tuesday until the final submissions and closing arguments are all heard.

...The proceedings were then adjourned by Justice Bromberg for the next day...

[David Barrow of Melbourne]

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