"There are clearly no cases of which we are aware in Australia where media agencies, editors or reporters have been charged, a good deal much less found responsible, of contempt in circumstances such as those," Matthew Collins instructed a first administrative hearing inside the case, in comments carried by local media.

Collins added that a guilty verdict would have a "chilling effect" on open justice and democracy within the u . S .

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'Scandalizing the court docket'

Prosecutors in the japanese nation of Victoria have accused the 23 journalists and 13 information retailers of breaching a gag order on reporting on Pell's trial remaining 12 months. The cardinal become located responsible of abusing choirboys and given a six-12 months prison sentence. He's appealing his conviction.

The journalists and news groups face jail or fines for contempt of courtroom, assisting and abetting foreign places media, breaching a suppression order and "scandalizing the court" with substances they posted.

Request for extra information

Collins requested prosecutors to provide extra records about how Australian media shops had violated the court order if they had no longer stated Pell's name or his conviction.

"i am at a loss to recognize how they may have scandalized the courtroom," he stated, including: "They didn't reference the cardinal, simply noted the fact that there has been a broader story that could not be instructed."

The decide, John Dixon, agreed with Collins' argument and known as on prosecutors to offer exact statements of their claims by using may additionally 20, whilst setting a brand new listening to for June 26.

tough enforcement

the verdict within the Pell trial in December changed into extensively mentioned with the aid of foreign outlets, although a Victorian court was nonetheless maintaining a media suppression order in Australia to save you jury prejudice before a second trial that turned into later dropped. Australian media, in their reviews, did no longer file on the prices worried or mention Pell by call, but did run articles in which they complained of now not being allowed to file on a count of important public interest.

The gag order changed into lifted after the cancelation of the second trial.

The case highlights the problems of implementing gag orders in the virtual news era. Deutsche Welle turned into many of the overseas news businesses to admire the suppression order.

Pell, 77, a former archbishop who served because the Vatican's economy minister, is the maximum senior Catholic cleric worldwide to had been convicted of infant sex abuse.

tj/rt (dpa, AFP, Reuters)