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‘Populist’ reporting costs Hinch $100,000

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September 18, 2019 by admin

Derryn Hinch expected to be thrown back in jail for his latest contempt of court.


Instead he walked away with a $100,000 fine and a scathing character assessment in which he was labelled self-opinionated and grossly irresponsible.

Victorian Supreme Court Justice Stephen Kaye opted not to jail Hinch, but slammed the veteran broadcaster for what he described as a calculated attempt to undermine the justice system.

It is Hinch’s sixth conviction for contempt of court or related offences, a record which Justice Kaye said was disgraceful.

Hinch admits the huge fine will “hurt like hell” and apologised for offending the court, but has vowed to continue campaigning against sex offenders, this time legally.

Hinch was found guilty of contempt for breaching a suppression order made by Justice Geoffrey Nettle, when he published details on his blog about Adrian Ernest Bayley, including that he was on bail and parole when he murdered Melbourne woman Jill Meagher.

Justice Kaye said while he accepted the 69-year-old regretted what he had done, it was only because he found himself in very serious trouble and Hinch was not genuinely remorseful.

“Your conduct was grossly irresponsible,” Justice Kaye told Hinch.

“Although you thought you knew better than Justice Nettle, clearly you did not.

“You were not aware of critical facts.

“At your age and with your experience you should have been setting an example of responsible journalism.

“It might be tempting, but wrong, to endeavour to be populist by breaking the law.

“There are many responsible, sensible journalists who are able to achieve the same ends by remaining within the confines of the law.

“It is well nigh time you learnt to do so also.”

Hinch had apologised to the court for his offending.

Justice Kaye accepted that would have been a difficult step for such a “self-opinionated person” who “finds it very difficult to publicly acknowledge that anything you have done is wrong”.

But he said Hinch’s comments to the media about being a “whipping boy” and “scapegoat” were unsubstantiated and demonstrated his lack of remorse.

Hinch said his apology had been legitimate.

“I made a sincere apology to the court, I was in contempt of court, I committed an offence, contempt of court, that offended the court and for that I am sorry,” he told reporters outside court on Friday.

He promised to continue to campaigning for transparency in the Victorian legal system regarding sex offenders, a cause he has previously been jailed for.

“I have to find legal ways that I can continue campaigning the way that I have,” he said.

When asked if he still regarded himself as a scapegoat, Hinch replied: “I wouldn’t use the word scapegoat because it’s too expensive.”

Justice Kaye convicted Hinch of contempt of court and ordered him to pay the $100,000 within 90 days or face a 50-day stint in jail.

The court heard the former newspaper editor had a net value of $1.18 million and an annual income of $212,000.

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