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Judge slams Tesla for ‘ridiculous, draconian’ arrest bid

Tesla’s application to have the Federal Court issue an arrest warrant for a man who allegedly shared leaked material online has been slammed by a judge as “ridiculous”, unrealistic, and “draconian”.

user iconNaomi Neilson 22 January 2024 Big Law
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Counsel for Elon Musk’s automatic company appeared before the Federal Court on Friday (19 January) to push for an “urgent” contempt of court finding and an arrest warrant for NSW man Keith Leech, who allegedly posted leaked material on social media.

The application comes weeks after Federal Court’s Justice Christopher Horan ordered Mr Leech to remove the material, including personal employee information and accident reports allegedly relating to Tesla’s autopilot driver-assistance software.

The material was first allegedly leaked by Norway employee Lukasz Krupski, who told international media he was concerned about the safety software and alleged he had been fired for speaking up.


Counsel for Tesla said Mr Leech breached the orders by posting more content on his social media accounts.

However, Justice Jonathan Beach took issue with the “urgency” of the application after learning the material relating to the alleged breach had been removed overnight by social media company Meta.

“Your submission is ridiculous.

“You started this proceeding this morning telling me this was of some urgency, and it was only after my unravelling … that you have now explained there is no urgency left,” Justice Beach said.

Responding to concerns Mr Leech may continue to breach the order, Justice Beach told Tesla it has “all the obvious remedies”, including requesting Meta restrict Mr Leech’s account access.

Failing this, Justice Beach said Tesla can then approach the court.

“Why don’t you go back and do that properly,” Justice Beach said.

Justice Beach also questioned where Tesla found the “jurisdictional basis” for the Federal Court to take the “draconian step” of urgently issuing an arrest warrant for Mr Leech following the alleged breach.

“What you are asking for is unrealistic,” Justice Beach said.

“I expect you to put something realistic to me. It is completely unrealistic for you to expect me to issue a warrant for arrest or bring something, as a matter of urgency, like an application for contempt.”

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