Goodbye job applications, hello dream career
Seize control of your career and design the future you deserve with LW career

SA Coroner granted access to suppressed documents in Porter defamation matter

As deliberations on launching an inquest into the death of the woman who accused Christian Porter of rape continue, the Federal Court of Australia has granted the South Australian Coroner access to the unredacted copies of the ABC’s defence.

user iconNaomi Neilson 30 July 2021 Big Law
Christian Porter
expand image

An interim suppression order made on three sections of the ABC’s defamation defence and the former attorney-general’s reply has been amended to permit the South Australian Coroner to have access in the days before the Federal Court is set to decide whether these same sections should be made available to the public

The sections have been under temporary suppression orders since beginning of May after Christian Porter’s legal team quickly took objection to the ABC’s defence. As part of the mediation agreement between ABC and Mr Porter, the two parties asked the court to have them permanently removed from the court file, but Justice Jayne Jagot refused to grant this on the grounds that they “simply asked for it”. 

Under the amended orders made this week by Justice Jagot, the “state coroner and senior counsel assisting the coroner… and such other persons as each of them may authorise for the purpose of the investigation into the death of a person referred to in the unredacted defence” can now access the redacted 72 pages of material. 

 
 

In March, the Coroner requested that police conduct further investigations into the woman’s death before deciding whether to hold an inquest as the current brief of evidence was “incomplete”. At the time, the Coroner said it was particularly evident “having regard to information contained in recent media reports”. 

Although the amended order allows the defence to be used “for the purpose of the investigation” into the death of the woman, an inquest decision has not been made. 

Mr Porter will return to court on Friday, 30 July to hear if the sections will be kept from the public permanently. Media organisations Nine and News Corporation have argued for their release, submitting that it would be “exceptional” for a court to allow this request and would go against principles of open justice. 

The Federal Court decision comes after a dossier detailing the allegations of rape was released into the public file. Mr Porter has strenuously denied the allegations. 

While Mr Porter also lobbies for an appeal to a decision to remove his barrister from his legal team following complaints of potential confidentiality breaches, The New Liberals leader Victor Kline has indicated he and a team of solicitors and former prosecutors would be launching private action based on the dossier

More to come.