Contempt of Court Act 2019

Part 2 Provisions to promote and facilitate administration of justice

Subpart 1—Prohibiting publication of certain criminal trial information

7 Offence to publish certain criminal trial information


This section applies if a person (person A) is arrested for or charged with a category 3 offence or a category 4 offence, and—


applies from the time of the arrest or charge (whichever happens first) until the delivery of the verdict; and


ceases to apply if—


person A is not charged; or


person A pleads guilty to the offence or a jury delivers a verdict for the offence; or


the charge for the offence is withdrawn, dismissed, stayed, or otherwise disposed of; or


a Judge-alone trial starts for the offence.


A person commits an offence if—


the person intentionally publishes any information; and


the information is relevant to any trial of person A; and


there is a real risk that the publication could prejudice person A’s right to a fair trial.


A person who commits an offence against subsection (2) is liable on conviction,—


in the case of an individual, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding $25,000; or


in the case of a body corporate, to a fine not exceeding $100,000.


A person has a defence in a prosecution for an offence against subsection (2) if the person proves that,—


at the time of the publication of the information and after taking all reasonable care, the person did not know or could not reasonably have known of person A’s arrest or charge or the possibility or existence of a jury trial; or


as the online content host or the distributor of the publication, after taking all reasonable care, the person did not know or could not reasonably have known that it contained information that created a real risk of prejudicing person A’s right to a fair trial.


Subsection (2) does not apply to a fair and accurate report of a hearing held in public that is published contemporaneously with the hearing and in good faith.