Try talking the talk

Discussion in 'Articles' started by News Readers, Dec 8, 2018.

  1. News Readers

    News Readers Registered Member

    Try talking the talk

    The male barrister looked to be in his 60s. He was quite affable and had one of those plummy, deep, resonant but pleasant voices that plays well in court. Those kinds of voices suggest intelligence, a person comfortable with debating issues, and authority. They also suggest a comfortable background and, it must be said, quite probably a private school boys-only education, with lots of rugby, boater hats, high expectations and a keen sense of the importance of having good connections for life after school. The female barrister had a similar kind of voice. I’d watched her in court before that ...

    I have other documents showing defamation threats made to people who dared raise allegations of child sexual abuse to churches, schools and other institutions over decades. They include two women who reported serious allegations about a teacher to the Catholic Education Office in the 1980s.

    They were told they had “better watch yourselves because you could be prosecuted for continuing to make allegations”.

    The teacher was eventually charged with child sex offences. The women were horrified to discover years later that the Catholic Education Office that threatened them with “prosecution” for making allegations had employed the teacher, despite knowing he had already been convicted of child sexual offences.

    I know of many cases where threats of defamation were used by people in local government in attempts – some successful – to shut down people asking the kinds of questions that needed to be asked. A lawyer in an article about the chilling effect of Australia’s defamation laws on public interest journalism said there was a sense that some judges “don’t get what journalists do”. I tend to agree. The discussion by the two barristers in the court that day was so blinkered, so dumb, that it was almost shocking. But if you’re a powerful person, and articulate, and ...

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