Some of Australia’s top editors and journalists face prison for contempt over their coverage of the trial of Cardinal George Pell and lawyers are due in court on Monday on their behalf.
Victoria’s Director of Public Prosecutions has named 36 organisations and individuals, asking they be found guilty of contempt of court for breaching a suppression order and prejudicing Pell’s sex abuse trial.
Among those listed are Herald Sun editor Damon Johnston, Age editor Alex Lavelle, Sydney radio shock-jock Ray Hadley and Today show host Deborah Knight.
The organisations are standing by their stories, including News Corp, which said it would “vigorously defend all charges and resolutely stand by our editors and journalists”.
Pell was found guilty in December of orally raping a choirboy and molesting another in 1996.
The verdict was off limits for media reporting until February.
• Cardinal George Pell was released from prison on April 7, 2020 after the High Court quashed his five convictions for child sexual abuse.
However, some media outlets alluded to the verdict – without actually naming Pell – while the suppression was still in place.
Prosecutors are seeking convictions and penalties including imprisonment and fines.