When considering the hands-on role that The Courier-Mail played in having me arrested on the charge of naming Bill D'Arcy on the Internet consider their pompous statements in the article below. It smacks of grand hypocrisy and clearly demonstrates how this trashy paper compromised itself when it decided to personally target me for exposing their unethical reporting processes. Why have they never questioned Matt Foley's refusal to charge The Bulletin (Packer weekly publication) for clearly breaching the act under which I was arrested. Quite simply they have no idea of balanced reporting.

Their name will forever be tainted with the disgraceful behaviour of their chiefs-of-staff and senior editors carrying out Lachlan Murdoch's every whim at the time of my arrest.

The Courier-Mail editorial, Saturday, September 9th 2000

Separate law for Laws

A Judge's sentencing remarks regarding radio broadcaster John Laws suggests there is one law for average citizens and another for celebrities. On Tuesday, Laws was given a 15-month suspended sentence for soliciting information from a former juror in a controversial murder case. When handing down the sentence, NSW judge James Wood said to jail Laws would put him at 'significant risk" of personal injury or worse. Justice Wood rejected imposing a fine as an insufficient punishment and decided against a community service order as the media attention would cause disruption. He also ruled out home detention as it might be lampooned by cartoonists and columnists and would not impinge on Laws' lifestyle.

Although The Courier-Mail does not support the law which led to Laws's (sic) conviction, individuals should be treated equally when it comes to sentencing: regardless of their profile. Justice Woods said he would have no hesitation in imprisoning Laws if there had been evidence he was aware he had broken the law. This may be so, but it is of concern that Laws's (sic) status as a personality could influence a judge's decision. Other well known people, such as disgraced former Queensland police commissioner Terry Lewis, have been jailed in the past. Lewis was isolated from other prisoners in order to keep him safe. There is no reason why similar arrangements could not have been made for Laws. Justice Wood's rejection of community service and home detention options are equally disquieting. The threat of cartoonists' impressions and media attention should have no bearing on how someone is treated before the courts.

The law responsible for Laws's (sic) predicament is no less controversial. The fact that the public is prevented from learning anything about juries' deliberations is inappropriate. Judges are required to give reasons for their judgements, yet the public is not entitled to know the reasoning behind a jury's decision. Queensland laws prevent jurors from publicly discussing problems encountered during their deliberations. Jurors can make formal complaints to various bodies. But some jurors may be sceptical of how their complaints would be dealt with behind closed doors. Jurors who revealed the role National party supporter Luke Shaw played as jury foreman in the perjury trial of former premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen could have been jailed under such laws. The public has a right to know about problems in the justice system and jury deliberations should not be immune from this attention.

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