Victoria’s Office of Public Prosecutions had a solicitor conduct online searches for news articles that named George Pell in the days after Australian media reports referred to an unnamed high-profile person being convicted of a serious crime, a contempt trial has heard.
But the OPP solicitor failed to disclose the results of her unsuccessful searches for almost two years, the Supreme Court heard on Tuesday, although she disclosed the results of her successful searches to lawyers for media outlets much earlier.
The OPP is pursuing media companies and individual journalists for contempt of court over the way Cardinal Pell’s conviction on child sex abuse charges was reported in 2018, and allege the media breached a court-imposed suppression order by reporting about the case at the time.
Cardinal Pell was found guilty by a County Court jury on December 11, 2018, and the OPP alleges the media breached a suppression order by reporting over following days that a high-profile person had been found guilty of serious charges, when the cardinal was still due to face another trial. The cardinal was not named in any of the news reports, nor were the nature of his charges disclosed.