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Pell media contempt case comes to an end

The major media companies charged for breaching suppression orders protecting Cardinal George Pell’s identity have entered a plea of guilty. 

user iconNaomi Neilson 03 February 2021 Big Law
Pell media contempt case comes to an end
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The dozens of media companies, reporters and editors accused of breaching suppression orders that prevented them from publishing Cardinal George Pell’s name in relation to the now-overturned child sexual abuse charges have pleaded guilty. 

The companies reported that they entered the plea in exchange for prosecutors dropping all other charges, including sub judice contempt against the corporations and contempt and breach of suppression order charges against individuals.  

 
 

The media companies said they will now pay the costs of the prosecution and will await a pre-sentence trial set to be heard next week. 

“Given the plea and acceptance of responsibility in respect of each publication and other matters related to assessment of the public interest, the Director of Public Prosecutions has determined that it is in the public interest to withdraw the remaining charges,” prosecutor Lisa De Ferrari was reported to have told the court. 

The suppression orders were made by County Court Chief Judge Peter Kidd and prevented the naming of Cardinal Pell until February 2019. 

The guilty plea comes days after The Age editor Alex Lavelle became the first of the accused to front the court and claimed that the articles had been looked over extensively by lawyers in Melbourne and Sydney before they were published. 

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