THE former High Court judge Michael Kirby has lashed out at the way the Seven Network and other media have treated MP David Campbell, labelling them “serial homophobes” and saying they should “hang their heads in shame”.
In a speech at a conference on women and sport, Kirby said the way the Network had outed Campbell for attending a gay sauna was a “pathetic and disgraceful act”.
“Really they should be hanging their heads in shame, invading his space, invading his family … anything to humiliate and destroy. Well, it’s not acceptable, and the community is increasingly telling them that it’s not acceptable,” he said.
Justice Kirby received a standing ovation.
In his speech, Kirby also referred to the late John Marsden, former president of the Law Society of New South Wales, as Mumbrella reports today.
In the mid 1990s, the Seven Network made a series of allegations about Marsden, alleging he had sex with minors. In 2001, the prominent Sydney solicitor won damages in the longest running defamation case in Australian history.
The Network had suggested Marsden had paid under-age boys for sex, and while the openly gay lawyer was awarded $525,000 in damages, substantially less than the lawyer had hoped for, his reputation was severely damaged.
At the time, Marsden told the ABC: “Total vindication is what I wanted. No amount of money, no matter what it could be, can compensate me for the anguish, the pain, the humiliation of the past few years. No sum will restore me in any way to the position I was in before these outrageous allegations. They were homophobic and that’s what they were intended to be.
“This has been a trial by media. The corporate giants, Channel Seven, aided and abetted by elements within the New South Wales Police Service, publicly and nationally went to air with unsubstantiated, uncorroborated, and unjustified allegations of the most serious nature. Having made those allegations it was up to me to take on the corporate giants to prove my innocence,” he said.