Why the media is unable to report on a case that has generated huge interest online
A very high-profile figure was convicted on Tuesday of a serious crime, but we are unable to report their identity due to a suppression order. The person, whose case has attracted significant media attention, was convicted on the second attempt, after the jury in an earlier trial was unable to reach a verdict. They will be remanded when they return to court in February for sentencing.
A suppression order issued by the Victorian County Court, which applies in all Australian states and territories, has prevented any publication of the details of the case including the person's name or the charges. It was imposed after the court accepted that knowledge of the person's identity in the first trial might prejudice a further trial being held in March.
It is relatively common in cases where a person faces separate allegations in sequential trials for the first trial to be suppressed. The process is designed not to prejudice later juries.
However, in this case, the word has got out widely online and through social media.
Google searches for the person's name surged on Wednesday, particularly in Victoria. Two of the top three search results on the suppressed name showed websites that were reporting the charges, the verdict and the identity of the person in full.
One of the websites was blocked from viewing by Australian residents, but its content was republished on a num...