Supreme Court fines Australian website $320,000 over botched murder trial

Australian Supreme Court
An Australian Supreme Court

The Supreme Court in Australia on Friday fined news website Yahoo7 $320,000 over a story it published in 2016 that led to a murder trial in Melbourne being aborted.

The article contained information the jury had not yet heard, which led to the jury being discharged.

The court convicted the website and journalist of contempt of court.

Justice John Dixon said that aborting the trial wasted considerable time, incurred substantial costs and burdened the court, and caused “great inconvenience and stress to the accused, the victim’s family and witnesses.”

Mr. Dixon also slammed Yahoo7, a joint-venture of Yahoo! and Australian Channel 7 television, for a “serious lack of proper oversight.”

The article, titled “Man paused to take a ‘smoke break’ while bashing girlfriend to death,” was on the Yahoo7 website for over four days.

It was removed only after it was discovered that it had caused the jury to be discharged.

The article said a second trial was held a few months later and the man was found guilty.

Mr. Dixon said Yahoo7 was responsible for contempt since it failed to ensure its systems for controlling and disseminating information about court cases were sufficient to stop prejudicial material from being aired.

(dpa/NAN)

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