Aussie journos face jail time over Pell trial reports

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SYDNEY, Today: Dozens of Australian journalists, editors and media organisations could face jail time over allegedly breaking a court-ordered suppression of George Pell’s trial for child sex abuse.

According to a report in B&T this morning, the editors of The Age, The Herald Sun, The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and the Australian Financial Review have all been named, along with The Age and its owner, Nine Entertainment, The Herald and Weekly Times and Nationwide News.

Victoria’s director of public prosecutions, Kerri Judd QC, has put forward a motion that the 36 named be found guilty, convicted and either imprisoned or fined.

“We will vigorously defend all charges, and resolutely stand by our editors and journalists.”

Pell’s trial for child sexual abuse and his guilty verdict were suppressed in order to ensure Pell received a fair subsequent trial on other allegations, though this trial never proceeded.

However, over 140 news reports were published across the globe within 24 hours of the guilty verdict being handed down in December last year.

In documents released on Tuesday by the Supreme Court, the offices of public prosecution alleged the media organisations and individuals interfered with “due administration of justice in the prosecution of Pell”.

All deny the allegations, and say they “will vigorously defend all charges and resolutely stand by our editors and journalists”.

The contempt directions hearing will be held on Monday 15 April 15.

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