Broadcaster Derryn Hinch has been sentenced to five months’ home detention and a wide-ranging media ban for breaching a suppression order that prohibited the naming of two sex offenders.
Australia takes disobedience to the rulings of their courts very seriously, it seems:
Under the sentence handed down this morning, the long-time journalist has been banned from carrying out any media work, using social media, engaging in interviews or publishing any material electronically.
Yes, they have decided he cannot, by law, earn a living, despite failing to sentence him to a prison term:
Magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg also banned him from having others carry out media-related tasks for him.
And how is that supposed to be enforced?
3AW program director Clark Forbes said he was ‘‘totally devastated’’ by the sentence and had expected Hinch to get no more than three months’ home detention.‘‘I think it’s particularly shattering for him because he’s been silenced,’’ Mr Forbes told 3AW.
‘‘Even if he was in jail you would probably imagine he would be able to communicate.
‘‘It’s really a double whammy, he’s not only confined to quarters as it were, he’s silenced, they’ve taken away this person’s absolute right to make any comment on anything.’’
Disobey a court order down under, and they really go to town!
And no, they won’t tell you what’s likely to break a court order, either…
Hinch’s lawyer, Nicholas Pullen, said they would consider appealing some aspects of the order.
He was unclear whether a 60 Minutes program, due to feature Hinch, would air on Sunday night.
Mr Forbes said it would be ‘‘absolutely ridiculous’’ if the 60 Minutes segment could not air as it had been filmed before the sentencing.
Mr Rozencwajg said he would not make a ruling on whether the program could go to air.
Hinch commented from his seat that the program was ‘‘a medical story’’, but Mr Rozencwajg was unwilling to comment on whether showing it would breach the order.
‘‘I’ve made the order I’ve made and I will not respond to your query,’’ he said.
‘‘It might contravene the order…but I’m not going to give a declaratory ruling on it.’’
In other words ‘Do you feel lucky, punk? Well, do ya?’.
And anyone wondering if there’s something behind this draconian sentence, well, far be it from me to point out that there just might well be:
Today, Mr Rozencwajg said it was ironic Hinch had campaigned against home detention orders and suspended sentences.He urged Hinch to consider this irony when discussing the judicial system in future.
“You may very well be the last person in this state to be sentenced to a home detention order in its current form.”
Translation: ‘This might be the only time I get to do this, so take that!’