Lawyers slam hacktivists for naming one-punch accused

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Criminal lawyer Adrian McKenna said he is ‘astonished and disappointed’ by hacktivist group Anonymous, who claim to have named the man charged with a one-punch attack in Canberra on New Year’s Eve.

"Any charge of intentionally or recklessly causing grievous bodily harm must in the ACT end up in the Supreme Court," McKenna said.
“But if it is for trial then an option for the offender is for the trial to be in front of a jury.

According to a report by the ABC, the group has published what they claim is the attackers name on social media, also threatening to release his address and phone number.  The post has since been shared more than 10,000 times on social media.

The man turned himself in to police on New Year’s Day and was charged with recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Martin Hockridge, president of the ACT Law Society told the ABC that any form of trial by social media was unhelpful to proceedings.
“Let the police do their job, let the criminal justice system take its course,” he said.

“In terms of a fair trial, and it will probably be a jury trial, you want the people that are sitting on the jury to be influenced by the evidence that is presented in court, and not anything that is presented in social media outside of the court that could be entirely wrong.

“When there are serious criminal charges, and this will obviously be a serious criminal charge, the best place for the matter to be sorted out is in a court of law.”

McKenna indicated that an application for the proceedings to be closed and for a non-publication order to be made may be sought.

“If this material ends up in the hands of a potential juror [then] it may lead the offender's lawyers to make an application for the matter to be heard by trial by judge alone and take the matter out of the hands of 12 members of a jury who would in effect represent the community for these proceedings,” said McKenna.

ACT Police would not comment on the matter as it is yet to be mentioned in the Magistrates Court.
  • J Taylor on 12/01/2016 3:28:29 PM

    That is a reasonable position Louise - although given that the film footage was all over social media protests about identification may be moot. Having said that my original point remains - that litigation conducted via the media is not edifying

  • Louise Steer on 12/01/2016 2:47:15 PM

    We live in a world where a Mt Isa man who attacked a female club manager is bailed while she is in hospital and where a Victorian man who set his pregnant girlfriend on fire gets his sentence reduced because the sentencing judge was "too emotional." Why shouldn't we be emotional about our personal safety? Why shouldn't victims be given more consideration than the accused? The victims are the ones who truly live with the consequences - if they manage to live!

  • Louise Steer on 12/01/2016 2:45:12 PM

    Why protect men who carry out these criminal and cowardly attacks? So many are actually let out on bail if they fail in their effort to kill another human being. The public needs to know who they are for their own protection. We are sick of this reckless and cowardly behaviour.

  • J Taylor on 12/01/2016 11:03:09 AM

    Well this might just be a further wake up call to the celebrity lawyer types who consider it appropriate to conduct litigation through the court of public opinion. Is not the "double edged sword" still taught at Law School?

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