Sludgegate Update: Websites in the Dock
Monday, 4 December 2000, 4:30pm
THE FREE RADICAL ON-LINE
Websites in the Dock
Websites were in the dock today, with a demand from Auckland City Council barrister David Heaney that "something be done" about websites that are causing him problems. He produced documents that he had downloaded from three websites, claiming them to be "out of order," and this reporter to be "sitting on the edge of contempt."
The websites - Scoop, Sludgegate.Com, and The Free Radical On-Line - had all posted this reporter's Friday night Sludgegate Update titled "Stolen Sludgegate Document Revealed," a report which Heaney objected to because he claimed that the document he snatched from a witness on Friday - the document referred to in Friday's report - was actually the privileged document that an earlier hearing had barred from the trial.
He further objected that the Sludgegate.Com site was controlled by this reporter - which it isn't - and to The Free Radical describing him as "barrister representing council vermin" - which it did.
Justice Chambers, in considering Heaney's outburst, once again upheld free speech. He ruled "I do not consider that I have any jurisdiction over this aspect of reporting, as this document did not come from the council's discovered material ... Clearly what has happened is that after the 'whistleblower' finished his evidence he must have shown his copy of that document to Mr Cresswell, who has been in court throughout this hearing. I have said to Peter Cresswell that it is not for me to censor the press, and I am certainly not going to stop him reporting this case."
The case continues tomorrow, when the council expect to begin calling witnesses in their defence.
For further information please contact: Peter Cresswell FREE RADICAL ON-LINE (025) 861 927 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org