blogger jailed again for contempt of court | Islander


A provocative and ruthless blogger who appears to have considerable hostility towards Seven Network’s Kerry Stokes has been jailed for a third time for contempt of court.

While Shane Dowling challenged the latter, and his fourth contempt conviction, was “frivolous and vexatious” and deserved a fine of up to $ 20, Judge Kelly Rees sentenced him to 10 months in prison.

“The outrage was ongoing and involved subterfuge through the use of an anonymous website and, when it was taken down, the creation of a second anonymous website,” she said on Friday.

The action in the New South Wales Supreme Court was brought by Seven Network (Operations) and Seven West Media.

The judge concluded that the contempt was “serious and aimed at destroying the confidentiality” of the information about Seven, in violation of court orders.

Although there is no direct evidence of his motives, she said the content of his posts “suggests that he carries considerable animosity towards the plaintiffs and towards various people, including Kerry Stokes.”

“His written submissions on the sentence demonstrated his lingering obsession with Kerry Stokes and ‘Seven’ and was steeped in animosity.”

Dowling was fined $ 2,000 for his first contempt after posting material on his website in 2014 that violated court removal orders, with links to documents he was prohibited from disclosing.

He was jailed for four months in 2017 after he “enthusiastically” defied the appointments of two women accused of having had affairs with Seven West Media boss Tim Worner.

This sentencing judge found that Dowling’s motivation seemed to include “an expression of significant antipathy” that he seemed to have towards many people and professions, including Mr. Stokes in particular.

His third outrage arose out of the events of 2017 when he called the clerk in a crowded courtroom and in a “strong and aggressive” manner a “known corruptor and pedophile”.

Subsequent removal orders were made, but Dowling posted an article with a link to an unauthorized recording he made in court.

He was jailed for 18 months with a 13-month non-parole period, but the total sentence was reduced to four months on appeal.

Judge Rees said that two days before the hearing of the last case, Dowling published an article – which he filed in court – saying she had been ordered by the chief justice to jail him at name of complainants.

“Also, I was told I was corrupt and ‘one of the biggest larvae sitting on the NSW Supreme Court bench despite being very competitive for the title.’

Finding that the Seven-related posts were in contempt, she said the court’s suppression orders were essential to protecting confidential information.

“The conduct did not consist of a single act.

“Rather, it was a continuing course of action in leaving the fifth blog post online, where the competitor knew he had been ordered to remove it.”

She rejected his attempts to portray herself as a journalist or media editor.

“The prosecution of acts of criminal contempt is not a legitimate part of the honorable profession of journalism.”

His written submissions on the sentence continued to feature “elements of self-promotion,” containing links to articles he wrote on various unrelated topics, as well as a reference to his latest book.

They were also “unrepentant and defiant,” indicating that he had learned nothing from his previous three sentences.

She discovered he was likely to reoffend.

Associated Australian Press

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