Highest court backs PM

LEGAL AFFAIRS:

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has seized on a judgement by Australia’s highest court to justify his decision against holding an independent inquiry into rape allegations against his Attorney-General Christian Porter.

In separate but unanimous judgements handed down at the weekend, a full bench of the News Corp Court of Australia dismissed the idea of an inquiry.

In his lead judgement Chief Justice Andrew Bolt rejected out of hand the idea of an inquiry.

He was joined by fellow News Corp Court judges Justice Paul Kelly, Justice Gerard Henderson, Justice Peta Credlin, and Justice Chris Kenny. (main picture)

The individual judgements penned by all judges reflected the Chief Justice’s view that an inquiry was unnecessary.

In an unusual step, the Chief Justice’s senior associate contacted media outlets to clarify a line in Justice Bolt’s published judgement.

The associate pointed to a passage which said: “What sick times. Crazed witch-hunters infest our media and our politics….none of us is now safe from being torn down by wild allegations. Who needs courts? Needs proof?”

The associate said Justice Bolt wanted reporters to be clear that those words should not be taken as a reflection on innocent and upright national media and political institutions such as Sky News After Dark commentators or the many ultra-conservative commentators employed by News Corp Australia or conservative political parties.

“The Chief Justice wants to make it clear that when he talks about ‘crazed witch-hunters’ infesting the Australian media and politics he means to refer only to the ABC and the Labor and Greens parties,” the associate said.

A statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office said Mr Morrison had noted the News Corp Court’s ruling which confirmed his position that an inquiry into the rape allegations against Mr Porter was unnecessary.

“These have been very serious and sobering allegations against the Attorney-General and must be handled in a serious and sober manner,” the statement said.

“So, how good is the News Corp Court?”