By ROD McGUIRK, The Associated Press
Canberra, Australia (AP) – High-profile Australian journalists and large media organizations heard on Monday allegations that they had canceled a major order in 2018 reporting on the flaws of Cardinal George Pell’s sexual abuse.
A total of 18 individual journalists, editors and broadcasters face possible prison sentences and 12 organizations face fines if they are found guilty in the Victoria State Supreme Court of dissolving a judge’s suppression order in Pell’s case Go. He has pleaded not to blame everyone.
Justice John Dixon is on trial without a jury and via video link because of the epidemic ban. The test is expected to take two to three weeks.
Such suppression orders are common in Australian and British judicial systems. But the huge international interest in an Australian criminal trial with global impact highlighted the difficulty of implementing such orders in the digital age.
Pell was convicted on December 11, 2018, of a sexual harassment case of two cows in a cathedral in Melbourne, when he was the city’s archbishop in the late 1990s.
The case of Pope Francis’ former finance minister and the most senior Catholic accused of child sexual abuse was not reported in the news media due to a suppression order that forbade publishing details in any format that could be accessed from Australia could.
Details were suppressed to prevent gamblers who sided in a second child abuse lawsuit that Pell was to face three months later.
That second trial was canceled due to lack of evidence and in April the High Court of Australia overturned all convictions after spending 13 months in prison.
To open her case, prosecutor Lisa De Ferrari told the judge that the morning after Pell’s sentence, people in Australia could read about it on foreign websites, the first to break the news on US-The Daily Beast with.
No foreign news organization has been accused of breaking the suppression order. The first amendment of the US Constitution would prevent such censorship in the United States, so an attempt to extradite an American to dissolve the Australian suppression order would be futile.
Melbourne’s most popular newspaper, the Herald Sun, published a white headline “censored” on a black front page.
Referring to residents of Victoria State, the newspaper said, “The world is reading a very important story that is relevant to the Victorians.”
The newspaper said it was prevented from “publishing details of this important news”.
The newspaper said, “But trust us, this is a story you deserve to read.”
An online story that referred to foreign reporting that led to the newspaper’s boss and staff being accused.
According to the online report, “a high-profile Australian known worldwide has been convicted of a serious crime, but the details of this cannot be published in any of the country’s media.”
Media defendants have not said what their defense is in the court case. De Ferrari said that some of the individuals charged had said that they were not aware that a suppression order existed.
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