Blogger jailed following Amber Harrison-Tim Worner saga

A blogger who named two women referred to in Amber Harrison’s Human Rights Commission complaint as allegedly having affairs with Seven West CEO Tim Worner, has been sentenced to 4 months jail for contempt.

Shane Dowling, whose website cannot be named for legal reasons, published two profile names earlier this year. Both were named in court documents during the height of the legal battle between Worner and executive assistant Amber Harrison, but remain suppressed as “Jane Doe 1” & “Jane Doe 2”. Both strenuously denied the allegations, launching a subsequent defamation case.

On March 15th Dowling was found guilty of contempt of court, but flouted orders to remove the names, publishing fresh stories as recently as July 15. Yesterday Justice Ian Harrison directed him to stop publishing on social media during court sentencing.

Justice Ian Harrison said Dowling had “deliberately set out to disobey” the court’s orders who appeared to see himself as a “fierce proponent of free speech” and was “ferociously committed to the righteousness” of his views. Justice Harrison said Dowling’s “enthusiasm for the cause as he perceives it borders on obsession.”

Dowling maintained he’d done nothing more than “any journalist does every day around the country” in naming people referred to in tendered legal documents.

“This matter is a huge free speech, political communication and public interest matter,” he wrote. “If Australian courts are going to jail or penalise journalists for doing nothing more than reporting the news then Australia is no better than China or Russia.”

But Justice Harrison said he had “done more” than journalists do by disobeying court orders to remove the offending articles.

Source: Fairfax, The Guardian

9 Comments:

  1. First, ABC is slapped with a gag order not to say anything about marriage equality, now this.

    I wrote on Facebook 2 weeks ago, this:

    Australia – the lucky country indeed.

    No Bill of Rights. No same-sex marriage. No decent Internet. No justice. No responsible governments. No space agency. No innovation. No creativity. No smart people. No housing affordability. No respect. No sense of humour. The cost of living is ridiculous. It takes decades for change to happen.

    Well, maybe I should amend that to include “no freedom of speech”.

  2. jezza the first original one

    It’s a disgrace that Jane Doe 1 & 2 were named by this blogger. Especially if it is not true about them. You have to remember that AH could have been wrong, hence their names were supressed. So he has been jailed for outing 2 people who have no connection with TW…..hardly innocent is he?

  3. This is definitely a bridge too far here, disgraceful, we have actual criminals out there, committing real crimes…. that have a devastating impact on the community

    • Secret Squïrrel

      Yes, and the Ibrahims have been finally arrested. Don’t think we’re at the point where the courts need to give a free pass to whatever you consider to not be “real” crimes.

    • The fact that they were named in court doesn’t make the allegation true. The names were supressed to protect two potentially innocent people. How would you feel if I allege you’d done something you hadn’t and media reported the allegation and named you?

        • jezza the first original one

          I am of the view that Jane Doe 1 & 2 had nothing to do with TW. If there was any sliver of evidence, then ch9 and 60 minutes would have run a story and named them. …and for the record, I read the blog…

    • Secret Squïrrel

      Utter rubbish. He was *gaoled* for ignoring court orders to remove the names of two women from his website and to not publish them again. We don’t know whether what Harrison said about them was true but, even if it was, she had no right to publicly out them regarding their private and personal information, without their explicit permission.

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